By Tom Cassidy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Superhero cartoon has loss, rude humor, negative body image.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though the movie is intended to entertain rather than educate, kids may learn something about how advertising works.
Overcoming personal sadness through friendship and teamwork. Mean-spirited jokes are made at the expense of people who wear glasses, people with large behinds, "wimps," and more.
Positive Role Models
Combat Wombat, aka Maggie, is depressed after losing her husband. She becomes a superhero after helping stop a robbery. She learns to enjoy helping others. She is sometimes rude and often negatively mentions her "big butt." Cece is a deceitful koala who works as a superhero's agent and pushes corporate sponsorship. Orphan sugar-glider Sweetie is enthusiastic about becoming a sidekick.
Violence & Scariness
A cave collapses, trapping a character who is then revealed to have died. An angry, scary bear robs a shop and attacks characters. Some slapstick, knockabout humor, as well as some hard kicks. During a bank robbery, hostages are forced to lay on the floor. A character dangles from a large height over an empty pool and falls before being rescued at the last moment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple kiss on cheek.
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Language includes "stupid," "butt," "scum," "sucker," "poop," and "bum."
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Products & Purchases
Made-up products advertised, including bulk-up protein powders and chocolate bars. Some discussion of how corporate sponsorship and advertising works.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Combat Wombat is an Australian animated superhero movie that features rude humor and the death of a beloved husband. It is part of the Tales from Sanctuary City series, following 2019's The Wishmas Tree. When lead character Maggie's -- aka Combat Wombat (voiced by Deborah Mailman) -- husband is killed after a cave collapses, she becomes understandably depressed and begins to behave sarcastically and rude toward others. She has a negative body image, which isn't resolved and catty remarks are made about her appearance, namely her "big butt." Other image-based jokes are made at the expense of glasses wearers, skinny people, and "wimps." Violence is a mixture of superhero action and slapstick. But there are some scary scenes including monster bear attacks and the fatal cave-in. Language includes "stupid," "butt," and "poop." There is a secondary storyline about corporate sponsorship and advertising. A third movie in the franchise, Daisy Quokka: World's Scariest Animal, is due out later in 2021.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
In COMBAT WOMBAT, Maggie (voiced by Deborah Mailman) is a grief-stricken marsupial following the death of her husband. But Maggie gets a new lease of life when she becomes a crime-fighting superhero.
Is It Any Good?
Themes of death and grief are handled so clumsily in this Australian animation that it takes some thinking for an adult to unpick what's happening, let alone a young kid. Don't expect a happy ending in Combat Wombat, whose plot is effectively a story about a murder all in the name of a publicity stunt. It's also dull and mean-spirited, with "jokes" made at the expense of people's appearances. The size of lead character Maggie's backside is a running gag, while a joke about characters being cute until they get glasses is cruel.
To give writer Mathew James Kinmonth some credit for his debut feature, it's just about possible to see the positives that he was trying to get across. Namely that friends can become family and can help you through the trickiest of times. But the way it's played is confusing and gives no satisfaction. Still, the title is pleasing to say out loud. More rhyming titles please, fewer depressing murder movies for kids.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how death and grief was handled in Combat Wombat. How did Maggie deal with the death of her husband? Were you expecting a happy ending? How did this animated movie compare with others you have seen that deal with similar themes? Movies to help kids deal with grief.
Discuss some of the "jokes" about body image in the movie. What is body image? Why might this movie promote negative attitudes toward different people?
Did you find any of the more scary scenes too extreme for a movie like this? Which ones in particular? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Talk about what it means to be a superhero. How good a superhero was Combat Wombat?
The movie is set on Australia. What do you know about Australia? How many animals can you name that only live that country?
- On DVD or streaming: June 25, 2021
- Cast: Deborah Mailman, Ed Oxenbould, Frank Woodley
- Director: Ricard Cussó
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Wild Animals
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: July 1, 2022
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.
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