Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Battleship Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Over-the-top sci-fi action with great special effects.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 131 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 41 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters rise to the occasion to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, summon their bravery to take a stand against the aliens, and learn to think first and act later, even if they're usually impetuous people. Although violence is the story's ultimate problem-solver, Battleship is still a story of courage under fire and cooperating to target a common enemy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stone Hopper is the picture of a selfless commanding officer; he's smart, decisive, and brave. Alex learns to step up after he's forced to command the ship and, with the help of a core group of officers, becomes the kind of leader his brother would be proud of -- especially when he teams up with a rival Japanese officer to figure out how to defeat the aliens. A retired Army veteran, who's also a double amputee, displays leadership and courage.


As with most alien-invasion films, there's a huge body count. The aliens wipe out two entire ships, destroy a number of buildings, and cause widespread deaths in Hawaii and China, as well as worldwide panic. A few well-liked secondary characters die. Lots of explosions and gun violence, as well as some minor brawling among the rival naval officers. Characters are shown bloodied from close calls, as well as moments before their ships explode.


A few passionate kisses, a shot of a couple in bed, and the male star is shown wearing just a towel after coming out of the shower. One female character wears particularly tight or revealing clothes, even when she's working as a physical therapist. In one scene, she kisses her boyfriend while wearing only a string bikini top and very short shorts.


Two implied uses of "motherf--er" (the last part is covered up by an explosion both times). Other words include "s--t," "ass," "hell," "bitch," "damn," "idiot," "oh my God," "goddamn," and the like.


The movie is based on the Hasbro board game, and Hasbro is credited as one of the production companies. There's one segment in which grid coordinates are called out just like in the game. Otherwise, there aren't any major product placements within the movie itself -- but there lots of tie-in products available, from special editions of the board game to first-person shooter video games, apps, toys, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking early in the film: Adult brothers do shots for a birthday at a bar where others are also consuming alcohol. The main character gets drunk and makes some iffy decisions as a result.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battleship (inspired by the classic Hasbro board game) is the kind of summer alien adventure that, like Independence Day, features a doomsday alien invasion that only a select armed forces group can fight against. As you'd expect, there's a high body count -- mostly due to all of the building- and ship-destroying explosions that the aliens -- though not much gore. Many high-tech weapons are used, one female character dresses somewhat suggestively, and the language can be occasionally salty -- "s--t," "bitch," and two cut-off exclamations of "motherf--er." Although the effects-heavy action is filled with scenes of targeted violence, there are ultimately some positive messages about rising to the occasion and overcoming your fears.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFlib1 October 13, 2018

More than meets the eye

We watched this movie as it looked a little more child friendly than the Transformers movies, which seem to contain subtexts completely unsuitable for younger c... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous June 7, 2015
Teen, 13 years old Written byj.kammerer September 29, 2020

OMG one of my top faves

this movie is and all around great movie especially for military families and i rated this 10+ not because of the violence but because kids might not understand... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old February 5, 2020

This is great movie

I watched this with my parents and my sisters and it was great there was a little blood but it was a great movie and i suggest you watch it! :)

What's the story?

Hawaiian beach bum Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a mess, and he proves as much on his 26th birthday, when he drunkenly breaks into a convenience store to steal a burrito for a potential date with Sam, a beautiful bar patron (Brooklyn Decker) who happens to be the admiral's (Liam Neeson) daughter. To turn his life around, Alex joins the Navy, where his big brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), is an officer. Four years later, Alex is a hot-headed lieutenant trying to summon the courage to ask for Sam's hand in marriage, but his efforts are foiled when, during a war games exercise with the Japanese, a series of unidentifiable objects appears in the Pacific Ocean, creating an impenetrable field around three ships. After the objects are revealed to be aliens -- who destroy two of the ships -- Alex ends up the senior officer of the gathered forces, forcing him to cooperate with the Japanese to bring down the alien enemies.

Is it any good?

Alien invasion films are ridiculously stereotypical, and BATTLESHIP is no exception. But what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in pretty spectacular special effects and sea-faring action sequences. This is no thinking viewer's war drama; this is the sort of big-budget spectacle to enjoy once on the big screen and maybe once more to give your home surround-sound a work out. After the unfortunate flop that was John Carter, Kitsch gets another shot at playing the hero, and he does it well. There's no finesse in the dialogue, but Kitsch is just right playing gorgeous rogues with a heart of gold -- as anyone who watched and loved Friday Night Lights knows.

As a bonus to FNL fans, director Peter Berg once again casts Jesse Plemmons as the nerdy guy who's always quick with the wisecrack. His boatswain character offers consistently good comic relief, as well as a decent acting partner for Rihanna's debut as a hard-as-nails weapons specialist. While Battleship's script is far from the layered finesse of, say, The Avengers, the action is exactly what you'd expect from an explosive summer popcorn flick. Tweens and teens -- especially boys -- will get a kick out of the military tactics and the broad humor (look, kids, elderly veterans curse!), while grown-ups might wonder if they've seen the same movie every summer for the past 15 years.

Talk to your kids about ...

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

  • What are some of the cliches associated with alien-invasion movies? Why are they such a popular genre to release in the summer?

  • This movie marks Rihanna's transition from music to film. Was her celebrity status as a pop superstar distracting in the role?

  • Why do rogue characters like Alex tend be more compelling than always-good characters like Stone?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate