A delightful and wholesome story that will keep younger viewers entertained and teach them some valuable lessons along the way.
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie
Paw Patrol has a well-earned reputation for
being an expanding corporate empire that will mercilessly squeeze every last penny out of parents by enticing their children with an endless parade of flashy new merchandise wholesome and family friendly storytelling. The beloved pups made their jump from television to the big screen with 2021’s Paw Patrol: The Movie. As with most sequels, the sequel supersizes the action.
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie is essentially a superhero story (because we don’t have enough of those these days, right?) with each of the pups now granted various superpowers needed to face their largest challenge yet. The action may have increased, but the Paw Patrol have lost none of the charm and sugary-sweet storytelling. Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie is a delightful and wholesome story that will keep younger viewers entertained and teach them some valuable lessons along the way.
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If you have ever watched an episode of Paw Patrol, then you more-or-less know what to expect. Plenty of lovable characters, catchy one-liners, teachable moments, and fancy vehicles and gadgets designed to
make parents poorer this Christmas excite young imaginations. I will say, however, that one slight difference is that the movie has perhaps been “aged up” slightly from the show. No, this is not a dark and gritty Hollywood reboot, but there does seem to be an effort to make the movie more accessible to older viewers.
My own children—twin 8-year-old boys—haven’t watched the show in years and were not entirely enthused about the film, but both ended up really enjoying it (watch the video review above to hear their reactions). Just as it raises ceiling of the viewership demographic, it might also raise floor. There’s nothing inappropriate for very young viewers, but with some evil villains and increased action, it might prove a little too intense for the youngest fans of the show.
The entire puppy crew get their moments to shine—both as individuals and as a team—but this is very much Skye’s movie. The undersized dog takes center stage with a surprisingly touching backstory and journey. It’s not an early Pixar level of cryfest, but it has more emotional potency than might be expected. Overall, this movie is a simple but effective story that should please existing fans of the show as well as newcomers. I found it to be surprisingly charming and uplifting.
(PSA: There is also 4–5-minute Dora the Explorer short film that plays before the movie. The story involves a sort of energy ball/seed that feeds a magical tree and allows mystical creatures to grow. It’s nothing I personally found concerning, but just a heads up for parents who might by more sensitive toward that type of content).
Engage The Film
No Pup Is Too Small!
I asked my kids what lessons the characters learned in the movie, and one of my sons put it like this: “You don’t have to be big to do great things.” Skye is the smallest and physically weakest of the pup team. She struggles with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt and isn’t sure she has much to contribute. The newfound superpowers appear to finally give her the power to become a valuable member of the team. But, along the way, she comes to learn that she has always had an important and valuable role to play.
This may enter “adult reviewer overthinking a film aimed at 4-year-olds” territory, but I’m not sure the movie makes it unmistakably clear that she is strong and valuable without the powers (with the powers only amplifying the strength she has always had inside). That is the message the movie trying to communicate, but it maybe needed some sort of “you’ve had the strength in you all along” pep talk (pup-talk?) to make sure children really got the message. That being said, my kids understood the message just fine, so I’m nit-picking here.
Another interesting character is Liberty. Initially, and for reasons she doesn’t understand, she doesn’t get any superpowers. She is forced to watch as all her friends enjoy their exciting new abilities while she is left with the seemingly thankless task of babysitting the new junior recruits. She is not bitter toward her friends but does feel some jealously and frustration. Rather than pout or complain, she throws herself into doing good however she can and supporting her friends (and ultimately gets a satisfying reward).
Language: Nothing beyond a few phrases such as “oh my goodness.”
Sexuality: None, except for one surprisingly gratuitous scene featuring…just kidding, this is Paw Patrol everyone!
Other: A yoga class is shown in session. The superpowers obtained by the pups come from crystals found within a meteor. The source of the power is never explained, and there is nothing concerning about the way it is depicted, but for parents sensitive to “magic” in stories, I suppose it could be considered some sort of unearthly power.