The Avengers

  • Review Date: May 1, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Heroes work together in explosive comic book adventure.
  • Review Date: May 1, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
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11
12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's clear: Teamwork matters. The Avengers are best when they're working toward the same goal instead of letting others tear them apart. And the movie makes it very clear that you can step up and be a hero no matter what mistakes you might have made in the past. That said, not everyone in the "good guys" camp is always entirely on the up and up, and the heroes do have their share of conflicts before they come together.

Positive role models

Though they have their quirks and frailties, ultimately the Avengers work to overcome their individual challenges so they can accomplish their greater mission. They're not always successful, but when it counts, they come through. Within the group, there are many brands of heroism -- Steve Rogers (Captain America) is always upstanding and squeaky clean; Tony Stark (Iron Man) is snarky and selfish until matters come to a head; Bruce Banner (Hulk) fights his inner demons by trying to help others and avoiding conflict; Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) have very checkered pasts but do the right thing when it matters; and Thor tends to act first and ask questions later but has a strong sense of honor and duty. Although Loki is Thor's brother, he shows no loyalty to him; Thor doesn't feel the same way.

Violence

Hugely explosive, destructive mayhem throughout most of the movie. There's not much in the way of gore/blood, but cars are flung from overpasses, a giant monster tosses people around like rag dolls, entire armies are decimated by lasers, massive explosions and mega aliens destroy buildings, etc. Casualties aren't lingered on, but they're presumably in the thousands; use of nuclear weapons is discussed. In one startling scene, an important supporting character is killed; other characters are injured. Lots of weapons (guns, hammers, shields, arrows, hands, bombs, and more) and fighting. The bad-guy aliens are pretty creepy looking.

Sex

Some flirty banter and form-fitting outfits. Bruce Banner is briefly shown naked, but no sensitive body parts are shown, and it's not sexual in any way.

Language

A few uses of words including "ass," "hell, "damn," "bastard," "oh my God," and "son of a bitch."

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Signage for Acura, Citibank, and other brands can be seen. 
 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some champagne toasts. One character mixes a drink for himself. A very brief reference to "weed."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Avengers is a highly anticipated superhero adventure in which many of Marvel's major superheroes -- including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) -- come together to battle an otherworldly enemy in a war to the end. From the first scene on, there's virtually nonstop comic book mayhem, including advanced weapons, epic-scale battle scenes, and thousands of casualties. Some of the fights are deeply personal as relatives face off, and some people do die, including characters the audience will care about. The heroes sometimes discuss their motivations for fighting crime, and the discussions can be intense, though it also leads to a good deal of camaraderie and cooperation. Expect some swearing ("ass," "son of a bitch," etc.), plenty of snarky quips from Iron Man, an off-hand joke about adoption that could upset some families, and intense 3-D action.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When the powerful villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) appears on Earth in search of the Tesseract, a mysterious artifact that holds limitless energy, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the head of the secret organization S.H.I.E.L.D., realizes it's going to take some equally powerful heroes to save the planet. So he calls in the toughest team he can find -- Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), expert archer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and skilled assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) -- known collectively as THE AVENGERS. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance ... can Loki be stopped?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days. So when you chance upon a gem like The Avengers, thank the comic book gods. Quick-witted and nuanced, the film takes the best of the genre -- iconic heroes flexing their recognizable muscles fighting for truth and justice -- and dishes it out in a fanboy-pleasing, edge-of-your seat way. There's great chemistry, especially between loose cannon Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey, perfect as usual) and skittish Bruce Banner (Ruffalo, adding great depth) and also between Stark and the starchy, unquestioning Captain America. The banter is believable, even when it's not always easy. And Hiddleston is a fearsome delight as the insecure, approval-hungry Loki.

The Avengers starts with a long-winded set-up -- unavoidable, perhaps, given the characters' many backstories but still mildly annoying -- and the Tesseract at the heart of the conflict soon takes a backseat to the heroes themselves. But no matter: Director Joss Whedon knows his way around compelling, flawed, conflicted superheroes, and he masterfully brings these characters alive in all their complex glory.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about The Avengers' violence. How does the fact that much of it is larger than life affect its impact? How is it different watching invading aliens get hurt than human characters?

  • How does this film compare to other superhero stories? Do you prefer hero movies with just one star, or do you think this collaboration style is better?

  • Are the Avengers role models? Are some of them "worthier" than others? Why or why not?

  • Why is Loki so bent on dominating the world? Who is he trying to impress? Is this all just a family feud?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 4, 2012
DVD release date:September 25, 2012
Cast:Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr.
Director:Joss Whedon
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
Run time:143 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference

This review of The Avengers was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5, 8, 11, and 14 year old Written byMidnightMom May 5, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE OF ALL TIME!! Mom & KIDS AGREE!

The Best Family Movie we could see. I went at midnight to see with my 14 yr old. We loved it so much, I took my husband and 2 younger kids the next day. My 5 yr old and 8 yr old loved it. It is violent but its not gory. My kids also saw Thor and both Iron Man and they loved and I didnt have any issues with them. depends on your kids..we are a family who are familiar with martial arts and ufc and video games...but I am very particular about what my children see.
Only Issues...
I think i heard two uses of the word A**. Barely noticeable, and I never heard anything worse, unless you still consider Hell a bad word (to hear at least)
There is like Zero sexuality here...I dont even think Black Widow is flirty like another reviewer mentioned. Unless you consider hulks bare chest...:)
Violence is shooting, martial arts, punching, explosions, aliens and giant creatures from outer space, its like a cross between star wars and superman. If you let your kids watch Star Wars I dont think this is any worse..

Biggest problem...for the little ones, for my 5 year old it was a bit slow for him at the beginning and in between the cool stuff...(like plot and foreshadowing :) but he managed to sit through the 2 hour 23 min movie, as did a 4 yr old right behind us without a peep. If you son isnt used to this long of a movie, I wouldnt try it, but mine really wanted to see it with us and did fine through Thor and Iron Man. He is almost 6. I recommend perfectly for 8 yrs old and up..I cant imagine limiting this to PG 13, it really is almost PG to me.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byThorthegodofthunder May 2, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

How AWESOME The Avengers is...

My favorite Marvel movie so far! Kudos to Joss Whedon who directed this film. I loved how every character got their moment to shine and that it wasn't focused on one character.Everything was just great 5/5

Parent of a 5 year old Written bymdoyle May 5, 2012
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Great movie for kids and adults!

One of the best Marvel films yet! After doing research on the movie, we decided to take our avid 5 yr old superhero fan to see it and he loved it. Beforehand, we prepped him for what be might see/ hear - some bad words, good guy die, some shooting and we had the agreement he might have to close his eyes at times. The violence ended up being more action than violence. It really is all about superheros showing off their superhero moves. The battles are not too often or too long and they are mainly with robots/ aliens so there is really no blood. Storyline and acting was great as there is content at the adult and kid level. Some good messaging created as all the superheros had to learn to work together as a team. This felt more like a PG movie than a PG13 film - I have seen cartoons on TV that are more violent. If you have seen the earlier Thor, Ironman, CA and Hulk films, you will enjoy how all the storylines are intertwined. I rated this for 6 and up, but I think it can go younger - depending on the kid and parent. As an adult and mom, I really enjoyed the movie!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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