Secret Society of Second-Born Royals

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Teen superhero fantasy has adventure, action, and peril.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 35 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Everyone needs friends. Teenagers don't always know what's best for them when they rebel against society, traditions, or their elders. Individuals can be more effective when they work together. Change, even at state level, can come about peacefully.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam's mom and sister are patient with her even though she critiques all that they stand for. Sam's sister says she took on extra responsibility so Sam could have a normal childhood after their dad died. Her mother has kept certain aspects of her father's death hidden. Sam rebels against her own royal family, shouting "Down with the monarchy!" in public, sneaks into a club though she's underage. Teens at summer school long to feel accepted by true friends. They each have something to learn about overcoming insecurities, caring for others, living real life more than virtual life. Sam's non-royal bandmate Mike is consistently there for her, even though his dad warns him that royals stick together. Diverse cast.

Violence & Scariness

As second-borns are initially trained to exploit their superpowers, they stumble and get shot by lasers or hit by flying objects. Later they are tasked with protecting royal jewels, which they do by using powers to knock out a suspect. When a dangerous criminal gets loose, they must do whatever it takes to capture him, even though Sam gets hit by a falling tree branch and James gets knocked to the ground and taken to hospital. The criminal has not only killed someone close to Sam -- he now plots to kill off dozens of royals at once and has an insider helping him.

Sexy Stuff

Teens flirt with each other; one admits she's never been kissed.

Language

"Sucks." "Jerk."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Secret Society of Second-Born Royals stars Andi Mack's Peyton Elizabeth Lee and has fantasy, adventure, and some violence. As a group of teenage "second-born royals" discover their secret superpowers and are trained to use them, the teens are put into perilous situations: They're shot at with lasers, thrown to the ground, hit by falling objects, and more. A dangerous criminal with the ability to move objects with his mind escapes prison and launches a deadly plot to kill the world's royalty. It will be up to the second-borns to save the royal families, even if that means eliminating the criminal. The teens learn about teamwork, friendship, and the value of traditions -- and also about betrayal and people who are willing to kill for their own purposes. There are some positive messages here that could hit home with younger viewers, including teen characters needing to master their own insecurities and learning to care about other people and spend less time online. The main character rebels against her own royal family, shouting "Down with the monarchy!" in public and sneaking into a club even though she's underage. There's mild flirting between the teen characters, and language is limited to "sucks" and "jerk."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDADDYof3 September 28, 2020

Not the best message

15 mins into the beginning already shows a teen lying to her mom and illegally protesting in the streets. Don't really want my little girl thinking that... Continue reading
Adult Written byAmomwho September 30, 2020

Not descendants....

Lots of skin shown, tons of teenage rebellion, and a boy who can make people do anything he wants( which made me a little uncomfortable especially when we talk... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byshoelace102 October 2, 2020

I’m Amazed At Disney

Descendants and Upside Down Magic were disappointing to me- but this movie was nothing like those! There are actually good special effects. The characters are r... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byThe Way of Kings October 1, 2020
Such a stupid movie, incredibly cheesy, but what can I say? It's Disney Channel. The girls show a LOT of cleavage and crop tops, short shorts, etc. The lea... Continue reading

What's the story?

Samantha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is a guitar-playing teenager who rebels against her small European country's monarchy, even though her sister is about to be crowned queen, in SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND-BORN ROYALS. Sent to summer school, ostensibly as punishment for her troublesome behavior, Sam finds herself in a training academy with five other teenagers, all "second-born royals." They all have a special gene that gives them superpowers. The teens are told by their instructor (Skylar Astin) that they have to discover their individual powers and then learn how to wield them for the good of their country. Their training is interrupted when a highly dangerous criminal (Greg Bryk) escapes prison, and the second-borns are wrapped up in his evil plot to end all monarchies by killing the first-born royals. Sam doesn't know it yet, but the criminal has a personal connection to her, and his plot revolves around the coronation ceremony of her sister, Eleanor (Ashley Liao). The second-borns will need to work together in time to save the world's royalty.

Is it any good?

This is a great idea for a Disney franchise or series, but as a stand-alone film it falls a little flat. Though a narrator tells us this isn't your typical "princess story," Secret Society of Second-Born Royals does follow what feels like a formula of rebellious teen turned empowered superhero, complete with princess status (and ball gown). The diverse cast's teen actors are charismatic enough, but the script paints their characters in very broad strokes, relying on some superficial stereotypes to give them personalities (shallow Instagrammer, popular party boy, invisible guy, rebellious teen, etc.) and life problems that are too easily resolved. A key bonding scene, where the teens open up to each other, comes too soon, and an awkward "day off" montage later seems to want to compensate for that. This, along with other questionable decisions concerning the faux European setting and a mixed bag of accents, makes this film more likely to find an audience with younger viewers than with teens.

What might go over their heads, however, is the theme of questioning the validity of monarchies in contemporary societies. There are also some references to real life that younger viewers might not catch, including portraits of actual second-born royalty in a palace hall. One is of England's Prince Harry, who -- in a curious life-imitating-art twist -- renounced his royal duties.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different superpowers the teens discover that they have in Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

  • Sam rebels against her family's traditions and the idea of a monarchy, but seems to come around to understanding her sister's role and responsibilities. What do you think of the idea of royalty?

  • Were any of the main characters role models? What character strengths did they have?

  • Did this film remind you of other superhero films or other Disney movies? Which ones?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

Themes & Topics

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