I Am Legend

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
I Am Legend Movie Poster Image
Intense, thoughtful thriller has some big scares.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 101 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 65 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 140 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

In the aftermath of a viral apocalypse, society has collapsed. People have become zombie-like mutants that feast on human flesh. The main character is reduced to his base nature, paranoid and on the brink. But he rises to the occasion when the time comes and makes a difficult decision for the good of mankind.

Violence

Frequent. The main character totes guns and shoots at marauding, rabid mutants who attack him with the intent to either eat him or kill him -- or both. He also accidentally stabs himself, flashes a gun at a woman and her child, and conducts experiments on feral rats and other creatures. Bridges and buildings explode, cars careen, and a loyal dog becomes collateral damage.

Sex

A married couple shares a tender kiss.

Language

Pretty mild; "damn," "hell," "Oh my God."

Consumerism

Premium placement for the Mustang GT500, Apple computers, iPod, and a Time magazine cover. Lots of signage left behind in New York, especially in Times Square, where billboards for Broadway shows abound, as well as hotel brands like Hyatt.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Robert downs prescription pills at a very difficult moment.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this cerebral action thriller is quite clean when it comes to language and sexual content, it deals with intense subjects like the fall of mankind and the fight for survival. It's not for kids who get scared, since it gets pretty terrifying, especially when the mutants take their turn onscreen. They jump out of nowhere, and the movie makes the most of that suspense to heighten the audience's response. Overall, the movie is very sobering -- and, unlike many Will Smith thrillers, it's light on the fun. Still, teens will want to see it and will be intrigued by the special effects and the edge-of-your-seat action.

User Reviews

Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion June 13, 2009

A Stellar Thriller With a Thoughtful Side...

I AM LEGEND could have been a bad movie. The people making it could have messed up in many ways. However, they turn the flaws of the story into advantages. I... Continue reading
Adult Written bydfk1010 April 9, 2008

my son was so scared

i want to this movie thinking it would not be scare but it was VERY. THE MOSTERS WERE SO SCARE AND MY SON HAD TO LEAVE IT WAS SO SCARE I THINK NO KIDS UNDER TH... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 14, 2011

good for tweens who can handle scary movies

What to watch out for * Messages: In the aftermath of a viral apocalypse, society has collapsed. People have become zombie-like mutants that fe... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoetic Ramblings December 20, 2010

A decent flick

Very generic movie, but the acting is fantastic. I recently saw this movie, and at 14 years old, I still found it very frightening. That said, my friend saw it... Continue reading

What's the story?

If anyone had any doubts left that Will Smith could carry a movie, I AM LEGEND will banish them forever. He's virtually alone in this sci-fi thriller, with a dog -- albeit a talented one -- as his only foil. There are stretches when he literally talks to himself, and he's able to hold the audience's gaze throughout. Frightened and on edge, determined to survive, Robert Neville (Smith) is the last man standing in all five New York City boroughs after a virus thought to have cured cancer mutates and becomes a worldwide plague. Almost everyone on the planet dies; those who survive are turned into rabid creatures who only come out at night to hunt for food. But Robert decides to stay in the new ghost town of Manhattan. "This is Ground Zero," he declares. "I can still fix this."

Three years later, he's still there, spending his days hunting for deer with his dog, Samantha, by his side. He's hoping to find an antidote to turn the mutants back into humans. In the meantime, he has to fend his enemies off -- which is no mean feat, considering how violent they are.

Is it any good?

Director Francis Lawrence has a way with suspense; jumping out of your seat is almost a requirement here. Onscreen, Manhattan transforms into a true island, isolated, removed, and falling apart. Weeds grow on the streets, Times Square is deserted, the Flatiron Building sits neglected, and an eerie hush has fallen. Bravo to the special effects crew, who have created a New York never seen before (except, perhaps, in Escape to New York). The results are nothing short of amazing.

But the story ultimately disappoints. It starts out strong, hooking viewers in, but it sputters in the end. It's as if the screenwriters (or director, or producer) ran out of ways to wrap it up. Or perhaps the film simply doesn't have the same nuances as the Richard Matheson book on which it's based. Still, you can't fault I Am Legend for trying to be different from the typical action thriller. Taking on such themes as mankind's need for companionship, the fight for survival, and the existence of God, it at least succeeds in making us think.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hollywood's fascination with disaster movies and post-apocalyptic stories. What's the hook? How is this one different? Which aspect of the movie is more interesting to you: its thoughtful side or the fighting-off-mutants side? How is this movie different from other Will Smith sci-fi films? Families can also discuss what they'd do in Robert's place. Would you be able to keep your wits about you, as he seems to have (barely)? Would you be able to make the selfless decisions he seems to make?

Movie details

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