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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A couple of lessons about caring for a pet, particularly that dogs can't eat chocolate and that dogs are loyal companions.
For kids, the message is that pet ownership is a two-way street of love and companionship. The movie's specifically stated message is that "When you love someone, you'll do anything for them, even if it means letting them go" and "even if it hurts." Kids are unlikely to fully understand this unless it's explained that love is about putting others' needs before your own.
Positive Role Models
The Super-Pets and the superheroes are all strong, positive role models who are willing to sacrifice themselves or something they want to help others. They demonstrate courage and teamwork.
The voice cast is racially diverse and includes Dwayne Johnson, who's Black/Samoan; Kevin Hart, who's Black; Jameela Jamil, who's British of Indian/Pakistani descent; and Diego Luna, who's Mexican. Some animated DC superheroes are depicted as people of color. Racial and gender diversity among background characters. Women are shown to be athletic and strong. An elderly turtle and a young kitten are as capable as the other heroic characters. A pig's large size, and power to be larger, is shown to be beneficial. An engaged lesbian couple appears in a healthy relationship.
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Violence & Scariness
Villain with magical powers largely comes across as silly vs. scary. Animated fantasy violence in which no one is really hurt. Jokes are made about very temporary "injuries," including electrocutions, slapping, getting hit by a car or missiles, and being shoved through walls and ceilings. Bombs and explosions. Some peril, but characters don't indicate that they're worried. A baby is separated from his parents but is quickly comforted by a pet. Part of the plot involves lab testing on animals.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance and a couple of kisses; marriage proposal happens in background. Suggestive comments (e.g., Krypto mentions that sometimes Lois sleeps over in the big bed). Flirting. Glimpse of a dog licking his privates.
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One animal curses several times, with the entire word bleeped out, but older kids and adults can likely figure out the word through context clues. Other language includes "crap" and name-calling ("dorks," "dum-dum," "losers").
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Products & Purchases
FedEx is a recurring punchline. Lots of off-screen promotional/merchandising tie-ins.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that DC League of Super-Pets is an animated comedy about Superman's dog, Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), who's worried about losing "best friend" status to Superman's girlfriend, Lois Lane. Expect animated fantasy violence and danger: crashing through ceilings, explosions, characters getting hit by a car, etc. But these scenes are quickly resolved with jokes and visual proof that no one is really injured. A turtle named Merton (Natasha Lyonne) is a bit spicy for this otherwise family-friendly film, using profanity (which is bleeped out) and on the prowl for love, with some innuendo-laced jokes. There are also jokes about dog poop, insult words ("dorks," "losers"), a kiss or two, a marriage proposal, and a suggestive reference to Lois Lane's staying overnight at Superman's house. The film's overall message -- that love is self-sacrificing -- may require parental explanation for kids to really get it. More likely to hit home are themes of courage and teamwork and the secondary message that if you choose to adopt and love a pet, it will love you forever. Characters and voice actors are diverse in terms of gender, race (Black, South Asian, Latino), age, sexuality, and body size. An engaged lesbian couple appears in a healthy relationship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
DC corrects its history of making superhero stories too dark, violent, and mature for kids with this animated tale focusing on the heroes' crime-fighting furry friends. Ideal for elementary school-age kids, DC League of Super-Pets isn't their parents' Justice League. The fantasy violence, paired with the work of comic actors Kevin Hart and Kate McKinnon, makes this definitely the funniest big-screen DC movie.
That said, while it's certainly funny, the story of DC League of Super-Pets is far too familiar: A villain appears, deploys an evil plan, and threatens superheroes' lives, but a ragtag group of heroes learn how to use their newly obtained powers and save the day. The film's real Kryptonite, though, is that it has too many characters to introduce: The Super-Pets may be animated in 3D, but they're written with just one dimension. All of this means that it will likely be a bit tiresome for parents. But younger kids who haven't been hit with a dozen superhero projects per year will be delighted. And since superhero marketing begins with pre-K action figures, baby books, and parents who can't wait to share their love of caped crusaders, the existence of a funny film that's appropriate for little ones is, well, heroically justified.
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.