Common Sense Media’s weekly recommendations.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PG-13)

Twisty, sometimes terrifying, the MCU movie has some scares, some violence.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” – which follows the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Loki” – centers on Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) helping mysterious, multiverse-hopping teenager America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) find out which supernatural wizard is hunting her. Strange asks fellow Avenger/recent troublemaker “WandaVision” Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) for her help across different timelines. Like other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s packed with plenty of comic book-style combat and peril – as well as themes of courage and teamwork – but, thanks to director Sam Raimi, it’s an adventure much darker and more horror-based than the typical MCU film. Expect scary jumps, a resurrected corpse, violent deaths, graphic depictions of a rotting body, and combat scenes that decimate entire villages and have high body counts. People burn to death and are shown turning to ash, and figures explode, get crushed, appear to fall to their death, are impaled, have their necks snapped, and more. There’s no sex and barely any romance, though in a few scenes two characters kiss, hold hands, and look longingly at each other. The language is sometimes salty, including certain uses of “s—“, “a–“, “dam”/”goddamn”, etc. (126 minutes)

Sesame Street Mech Builders (TV-Y)

Classic characters go mechanical in the fun STEM series.

“Sesame Street Mecha Builders” is a CGI series about mechanical or “mecha” versions of the Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby puppets. The characters’ personalities remain the same, but they have new skills and physical attributes (à la “Inspector Gadget”). They help their town by doing things like using a laser cutter to cut out an alien space pie and solving problems together. They also learn STEM concepts during their adventures, like what asteroids are, how to formulate a hypothesis, and collect data. These superhero robots are definitely entering new territory for the franchise, but preschoolers who love a bit of sci-fi with their “open sesame” will be thrilled to learn with their favorite characters in a new format. (11 minute episodes)

Available on HBO Max and Cartoonito from Cartoon Network.

The comic anime adaptation has the violence of cartoons, the stereotypes.

This animated adaptation of the “Marmaduke” comic book stars Pete Davidson as the voice of the overzealous Great Dane. Expect some slapstick/cartoon violence: human and animal characters bump into objects, fall from heights, and are threatened, punched, shot with toy guns, electrocuted, and nearly hit by cars. Body parts catch fire and are slammed, crushed and bitten. The dogs fight and the classmates tease and bully the children in his family for the things Marmaduke does. Marmaduke appears dead in one scene; in another, he runs away from home and doesn’t seem to mind getting hurt. There are also accidents, fights, lawsuits, collisions and injuries. The language includes “devil”, “freakin”, “shit”, “ass”, “oh my God” and lots of taunts, including “sucker”, “loser”, “asshole” and “stupid”. Depictions of championship dogs representing nations other than the United States rely on stereotypes: there’s a taco-loving Mexican pup, a flirtatious French poodle, a wise Chinese martial arts expert, and so on. But the characters learn positive lessons about accepting and helping others and the rewards of hard work and discipline. (90 mins)

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (TV-14)

Prequel is fun, light-hearted, classic sci-fi; a little violence, sex.

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is a Star Trek prequel series that follows the adventures of USS Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and his crew (which includes familiar characters like Spock and Uhura). Unlike the season arc format of “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard”, this show’s episodes follow the classic “monster of the week” format that was also used in the original series, in which the team members meet and find common ground with an unknown species in each episode. The violence is mostly cartoonish or superhero style, but can be intense, with guns and gunshots. The characters seek romance and relationships; expect kissing and sex scenes (no nudity). For those who love Star Trek but miss the classic format and presentation of the original series and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, this retro series offers a lighter take on the franchise, along with themes of courage and teamwork. (10 episodes of approximately one hour)

Available on Paramount Plus.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and education-based ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, and books.

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