Document Type


Publication Date



Currently, superhero films are one of the more popular film genres, and the genre does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. In addition, the lives and exploits of superheroes are told through other forms of media such as animated films and television series targeted towards children. However, these narratives are also violent. If older children (i.e., approximately 7-11) engage with superhero media, then it is important to understand the ways they attempt to make sense of this genre. To this end, the essay examines how superhero media may serve as a potential context for older children's understanding of morally relevant events. This potential -- based on three broad areas of scholarship on children's capacities for understanding others and their morally relevant acts -- is explored along two dimensions. The first is through common narrative features of the genre, and the second is through research implications. It is suggested that a research program utilizing the genre's narrative features as a part of a methodology to investigate older children's understanding of morally relevant acts affords unique opportunities to build upon existing scholarship on the relationship between media content and children's moral understanding.