Less than two 2 weeks from now, I’ll be running around like a fool at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, finally taking a two-years-delayed-thanks-to-COVID trip with my family. In preparation, I realized that I had to introduce my kids, ages 6 and 10, to at least some of the Marvel superheroes who would be running around the new Avengers Campus. I mean, my kids had heard of Iron Man and whatnot, but we’d never watched any of the movies together since I knew the violence across much of the franchise would be too much for them right now.

But we decided to pick out a few of our favorites from the MCU to finally watch as a family—specifically focusing on those that have a ride or another part of Avengers Campus dedicated to them. The first we went with was Spider-Man: Homecoming. The reason? Tom Holland appears as Spidey in a totally fun Web Slingers ride within the Campus, and an animatronic Spidey swings and flips through the air in an outdoor show (you really need to see it to believe it), so this one was kind of a no-brainer.

However, I’d also argue that after rewatching Homecoming Spider-Man might actually be the BEST superhero for kids. I mean, he still is a kid (Peter Parker’s in high school), the laughs are innocent and plentiful and mostly based around awkward teenage angst, and the violence is significantly toned down compared to other MCU installments.

So for all those reasons and more, I’m choosing to celebrate Spider-Man today, which just so happens to be National Superhero Day.

Now, before you get ready to yell at me through your screen (I’ll totally hear it, by the way) that there are REAL superheroes we should be honoring today, I’ll say: 1) I agree with you, but 2) Marvel Comics actually founded this “holiday” back in 1995, so I figured I’d mention one of their fictional superheroes first.

Obviously I would agree that doctors and nurses, scientists, teachers, and those who keep us safe from harm both locally and around the world are the true heroes we should be thanking today—and every day—among so many others. But I bet even those people have their favorite made-up superheroes, right?

So let’s keep going. We decided to hold off on Spider-Man: Far from Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home for now since we wanted to move on to other characters my kids might see at the parks. Next up was Guardians of the Galaxy, because: 1) it, too, has a dedicated ride, 2) there’s also a hilarious “dance-off” show featuring Disney cast members who look EXACTLY like Star Lord and the gang, 3) who DOESN’T love them some Groot? and 4) there’s a lot of humor that I thought my kids would understand. (Even though there’s also a lot they wouldn’t.) While my 6-year-old got bored halfway through and went off to watch cartoons on her iPad, my son LOVED it and I felt we’d still made a good choice. But as with Spidey, we’re holding off on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for now.

Next came Ant-Man because I love Paul Rudd (gotta keep it real), but also because there’s an awesome Pym’s Test Kitchen restaurant at the park where I like to eat bite-sized breakfast offerings. Again we shall save the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp for another time. My son also got to watch Iron Man with my husband on a recent plane trip, and he totally dug it.

So there you have it. While Spidey is our favorite and the most kid-friendly (IMHO), this National Superhero Day we are also proclaiming our love for Iron Man, the Guardians and Ant-Man. In general, I tend to favor Marvel over DC superheroes, simply because in this stressful world I appreciate Marvel’s humor and clever dialogue and really, really amazing ways the various directors and screenwriters have woven together such a compelling narrative with ties across 25+ installments, with so many more to come (like Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness next weekend—stay tuned for my review!).

Who are YOUR favorite superheroes?

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