— Disney/Marvel

This week, The Marvels hits theaters, marking the 33rd feature film installment in what’s become known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that’s not counting the various streaming series that helped get us here, including two that featured characters from this very film. The MCU has been cranking out stories pretty much nonstop for 15 years at this point, which means that unless you’re a superfan, it’s normal that you might have lost track of all that continuity, leaving you at a loss for how exactly The Marvels fits into your family’s viewing plans.

And that’s why we’re here to help. And the biggest thing for families to know is this: Despite a PG-13 rating and a decade and a half of continuity at its back, The Marvels has emerged as a very family-friendly entry that even newcomers to the MCU can enjoy.

Where Does The Marvels Fit In the MCU?

The Marvels has an interesting place in MCU continuity right off the bat, as the film serves as a sequel to not one, but three different MCU stories. As the title suggests, the film follows Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) into her next adventure, making it a direct sequel to Captain Marvel, but it also follows the next chapter in the story of Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), picking up from her self-titled Disney+ series. Then there’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), a major character in the WandaVision streaming series whose story arc has a big role to play in the film. And of course, because this is an MCU movie, the world-changing events of Avengers: Endgame loom large in the background of the whole thing.

I realize that, if you’re not up on all the MCU lore and you haven’t seen even one of these films or shows, that what I just said can feel very intimidating, but that brings us to the first piece of good news about The Marvels. For all its connections to past stories, it’s actually a very self-contained piece of adventure. Sure, you’ll get more depth if you’ve seen every single piece of the MCU, but if you’re just looking for a fun adventure in which three powerful women get together and fight to save the world, that’s what you’re going to get. Director Nia DaCosta makes sure of that throughout, which means that even if you’re a complete MCU newbie, you can get in on the fun and look up things like “Who are the Kree?” later.

Is The Marvels appropriate for kids? What age?

The Marvels is rated PG-13 for “action/violence and brief language,” and the film is true to that rating. You’ll get the occasional curse word, but never anything that’ll completely rattle you and any kid over the age of say, nine or 10, depending on your child’s tolerance. In terms of violence, there are some mature themes at work, including the prospect of genocide (treated lightly, mind you) and even a couple of gnarly injuries that are somewhat hard for younger viewers to watch. If your kid has ever seen any kind of PG-13 action before, though, it shouldn’t be a big deal, particularly since all of the violence is couched in a sci-fi adventure story that detaches it from reality at least a little bit. Kids younger than 10 might have a hard time grasping every aspect of the story, but even those as young as six will have a fun time, and won’t be frightened off by anything particularly gruesome or horrific.

Will Your Kids Actually Like The Marvels?

We’ve talked about the lack of barriers to entry when it come to The Marvels as a superhero story, but let’s dig a little deeper into a different key question: Will your kids like it, particularly if they’re not super into the MCU?

Every kid is different, of course, but The Marvels is, above all else, a fun space adventure starring three women who are funny, exciting, and clearly having a blast making this movie together, and that sense of fun is infectious. Your kid might not care anything about Iron Man or Captain America, but they could easily get happily lost in Iman Vellani’s perpetually bright, enthusiastic performance as Ms. Marvel. Your kid might not follow every nook and cranny of the MCU, but the planet-hopping adventure of this story could still easily sweep them away. It’s a movie designed from start to finish to be the kind of thing just about anyone could enjoy, and by the time it’s done, the MCU novices in your family might be ready to dig into everything that came before. It’s the kind of film that calls to mind the beginning of this whole cinematic universe, back when standalone superhero adventures were the norm, and the crossovers were yet to come. In short, this is popcorn cinema done right, and there’s a very good chance kids of just about any age will think so too.

The Marvels is in theaters now.