Spider-Man: 2

I really wanted to start with the first Sam Raimi spider-man movie, but I honestly feel that this second one would give me more to talk about due to the fact that it has slightly more adult themes than the more kid-friendly first one. To start with, I would like to acknowledge that, while there are a few themes that may spark anxiety for certain viewers, it is definitely an early-2000s Superhero movie. This means that it’s going to fall on the line between awkwardly kid-friendly, and awkwardly angsty. Regarding themes that may cause anxiety in this movie, I should probably start with the obvious. Early in the film, a woman is killed by hundreds of shards of glass flying into her body at once. The movie keeps it’s PG-13 rating by not showing the glass hitting her, and only showing her body slump over from the back, but it can still be rather jarring once you’ve put together what happens. Throughout the movie, there are several moments where people’s lives are put in danger, including someone being tossed off a building, cars being thrown at people, people being thrown off a train, and said train nearly being thrown off a track. While the CG is very visible, many of the fight scenes are very fast-paced, which can be hard to keep track of if you have difficulty with large scenes. The end of the movie also has a character choosing to commit suicide onscreen. The scene can be very sad, and it may catch a viewer off-guard. Also, there are several moments of a character falling into alcoholism, which eventually leads them to almost murder their friend, before beginning to hallucinate their dead relative. It can be a little concerning for viewers who aren’t expecting it. Overall, Spider-man 2 is a little more mature than the first movie, and introduces some new concepts. I wouldn’t recommend watching it without seeing the first one, but I do recommend it, if only for the wonderful performance by Alfred Molina.

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Hellboy

Hellboy, directed by the visual genius Guillermo Del Toro, is adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. Due to the fact that it’s from the early 2000s, the cgi isn’t as fantastic as it could be, and we’ll see how the reboot of the series goes, but it still has a lot of Del Toro’s personal style when it comes to monster designs. To begin with, the introductory scene where the Allied forces try to stop the portal from opening, there are a few genuinely uncomfortable moments. For example, one of the characters is pulled into the portal, which is too small for his body at the time. Unfortunately, this means that his body is agonizingly compressed to fit into this tiny space. Throughout the movie, the various creatures, in spite of the early and imperfect cgi, do look genuinely frightening, and the idea of them harming a crowd at one point could be quite frightening. There’s also a bit of fridge horror at some points, such as the backstory of the main love interest involving her potentially burning a playground filled with children alive by mistake. Over all, many of the characters could be very troubling for younger or anxious viewers as well. For example, one of the followers of the main villain is a sawdust-filled, nazi samurai of sorts, who is near impossible to defeat. Most of the fear of the character comes with what we don’t see, as it’s implied most of his body has been completely altered by unknown and unseen experiments. The climax involves an eldritch being of a sort being summoned to earth, potentially destroying millions of lives in the process. Not to mention, the religious imagery, and the appearance of the main character may cause some severe discomfort for some. On the other hand, this is one of the best-looking superhero movies I’ve ever watched. Del Toro, as usual, has his own unique style that it’s very easy to admire. If you’re already a fan of the original comic series, or are interested in seeing a pretty cool-looking movie, I highly recommend it.

Fantastic 4 (2015)

Well, as strange as the original movie from the early 2000s was, this one somehow managed to be even stranger. The thing about modern superhero movies, which can sometimes be an issue, is that Fox seems very concerned with making their movies as dark as physically possible, both literally and figuratively. As far as potential triggers in this movie, I’d just like to start by saying, it never looks normal for Mr. Fantastic to have stretching powers, and it looks just as disconcerting in this movie as it always does. The cgi isn’t quite good enough to make it look normal, pushing it squarely into the uncanny valley. The stretching may make certain viewers very uncomfortable, as it reeks of body horror, and wouldn’t look out of place in a monster movie. Aside from that, due to how overly dull the movie is for the most part, there’s very little in the way of excitement up until the climax, where the villain of the movie, Dr. Doom, finally appears. He does kill several people using telekinesis onscreen, which can be a little jarring for some viewers, especially when you’ve been lulled into a false sense of boredom by everything else going on in the film. As far as I can tell, fortunately, the movie has very little in the way of anxiety-inducing moments, save for the extremely uncomfortable cgi stretching, and Dr. Doom’s introduction. However, I can’t exactly bring myself to recommend the movie either, as, in my opinion, it’s not really all that good. Which, honestly, is kind of a shame, since I remember really liking Fantastic 4 when I was a kid. I suppose it’s fine to watch if you want to give it a try, but it really lacks substance, and isn’t even worth seeing just to get freaked out by the rubber doll animation.

Power Rangers (2017)

As would be expected of a movie based on a show about people running around in spandex, the 2017 reboot of the Power Rangers series is pretty painless for people with anxiety. Most of the movie is pretty much nonviolent, with a few moments here and there that may catch the attention of concerned parents and anxious viewers. For example, the update of Rita Repulsa is distinctly more aggressive in this version. While it isn’t actually visible onscreen, there is a scene where she rips open a hobo’s mouth to get to the gold inside his mouth. It’s only shown in shadow, but the noises and graphic thoughts that would likely accompany it would be concerning to many. She also attacks a jewelry store, destroying the place in a very alarming and concerning way. Not to mention, a nightmare scene occurs that would definitely scare a younger child. Finally, the climax could be extremely scary to those who feel anxiety about crowd scenes. It’s a lot of carnage all happening at once. While the action is meant to be funny, it can be stressful trying to focus on everything that’s happening all at once. Overall, the Power Rangers movie takes a few more chances than what would be expected with a series like this, and there are quite a few moments that would cause alarm, but I overall feel it’s worth a view to see the new take on an old classic.

Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern is an attempt by DC to be more like Marvel’s formula of films. This means that, for a DC film, it tries to be more humorous than other DC movies would usually be. However, there are several parts of this film I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. For one thing, the character of Hector Hammond is incredibly creepy for younger children. Throughout the movie, his head swells in a disgusting mass, and he slowly loses his sanity. I remember being in the movie theater, and hearing several children crying because of how unsettling the character was. As for deaths, a man is burned to death onscreen following a very distressing scene featuring Hector Hammond, following several men being impaled with glass, and a doctor being stabbed in the eye with a syringe. Also, the main cause of death in this movie appears to be a form of essence-draining that leaves the corpse drained and skeletal, as if they’ve been dead for centuries. This happens to a massive crowd of people at the climax. If the viewer is easily overwhelmed by violent crowd scenes, it can be very difficult to watch. As for blood, there’s very little actual bleeding in this film, and the blood that is shown is alien blood, and may not be as concerning for some viewers.

Catwoman

Catwoman, in spite of the fact that it’s supposedly based on a DC comic book character, and it’s pg-13 rating, is about as bloodless as a comic book movie could get. There is absolutely no gory violence in the movie, and the deaths are either offscreen, or shown with very little attention and fanfare. Two of the four character deaths involve simple gunshot wounds and scratch-marks, one involves drowning, and the fourth involves a very unrealistic look at falling off a great height. In fact, the main villain’s ability is that her skin can’t be cut, which would suggest a lack of blood or gore for her character. The death scene involving falling off a building is as most movies do it, with the character’s body just dropping and going still, and is barely reflected on. In the beginning of the movie, a brief moment where a woman supposedly with severe burn scars appears, but the CG isn’t quite good enough to make it look as disturbingly realistic as it was probably supposed to be. There are a few mentions of satanism in the opening credits, and quickly flashed by during a web search, but these have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and are only there to show the impact of cats throughout history. I would wonder exactly how a comic book film like this got a PG-13 rating with absolutely no violence, but something tells me that Catwoman’s outfit may have had something to do with it. Overall, Catwoman is very safe to watch for anyone with anxieties, but I honestly can’t recommend it as a good movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

TMNT 2014 is surprisingly easy to view, in spite of the childhood-scarring cgi that makes up most of it. Now, while I can pick on the cgi for the turtles all I want, that’s not what I’m here for. But, in all respects, TMNT is very easy to watch for when it comes to most anxiety triggers. The violence that does happen onscreen is almost entirely happening to cgi creatures, which are very easy to distinguish from the human characters. While there are one or two scenes that involve humans not covered by outrageously pointy armor being injured. During a scene where the Shredder is training, he snaps the hand of someone fighting against him, and does beat the crap out of him, but still in a way that seems very PG-13, as the movie is rated. A later scene involves a random mook being poisoned by mutagen. The mook’s skin then proceeds to be melted off his body as he dies, in a way that makes me wonder how on Earth that managed to be included in a Nickelodeon movie. The scene would probably scare a young child considerably, as well as anyone with anxieties about gore. As far as the rest of the movie, there’s a lot of blood that gets medically drained out of the bodies of the turtles, but the rest is mostly bloodless and without needless gore. However, I do recommend skipping past the gas-testing scene if you have a young child, or get queasy by that kind of thing.