All the standard character archetypes..hot shot pilot, every man pilot, brilliant undiscovered pilot, strong impenetrable leader, comical scientists, underworld kingpin, but the friendship, interplay and motivation of the characters was stronger and better conceived than I expected. I liked the plot, giant monsters coming out of the ocean, the vastness of the ocean, the scale of the Jaegar and the giant lizards. I thought the idea of "drift" and partner pilots and robot generations was interesting and helped move the story along well. If your child is into martial arts, he will love the martial arts basis of the fighting. Very cool. It was more than just massive robot/lizard fist fighting although there were a few times were I was ready to move on. Much better than I expected, a super fun movie.