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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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. And violence is the primary means of conflict resolution (with tons of collateral damage).
Positive Role Models
Though they have their quirks and frailties, ultimately the Avengers all show courage and 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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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A few uses of words including "ass," "hell, "damn," "bastard," "oh my God," and "son of a bitch."
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Products & Purchases
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."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Avengers is a superhero adventure in which many of Marvel's major characters -- 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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Quick-witted and nuanced, this movie takes the best of the genre -- iconic heroes fighting for truth and justice -- and dishes it out in a fanboy-pleasing, edge-of-your seat way. Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, so when you chance upon a gem like The Avengers, thank the comic book gods. 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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.