Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Skyscraper Movie Poster Image
A few strong suspense scenes can't save uneven action movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 42 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main takeaway here is "family above all." Will's devotion to his wife and kids is impressive, but it's also worth noting that bad guys die by the dozens -- and probably some innocent bystanders, too. Plus, the movie has more than a hint of "white savior" syndrome.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Will is a good guy and a good dad, but he's not particularly deep, and he's definitely rather single-minded.


Guns and shooting. Characters die, generally in quick, bloodless ways. Bleeding bullet hole. Punching, kicking, fighting. An explosion leaves a character's face bloody. Children in peril. Exploding helicopter. Metal impaled in shoulder (character dresses own wound). Stabbing with scissors. Knives and bloody cuts.


A use of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t," plus "hell," "damn," "oh my God," and "Jesus Christ."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skyscraper is an intense action-disaster movie starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that plays like a cross between The Towering Inferno and Die Hard. Violence/suspense is definitely the main concern: Expect lots of guns and shooting, knives, explosions, some bloody cuts and wounds, and character deaths (mostly quick and bloodless). The main character removes a shard of impaled metal from his body and dresses the wound himself. Children are in peril throughout most of the story. Language includes a use of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t," but sex and substance use aren't issues. There are a few expertly crafted scenes of heart-stopping suspense, but they're surrounded by plenty of ridiculous, shallow, ineffective material. Still, viewers who don't mind waiting for the good parts may be entertained.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySC214 July 17, 2018

A must watch action film

Positive messages about family and how important someone is to your family. Main character was mentally and physically strong to project his family.
Parent of a 9-year-old Written bysterdun November 11, 2019
Kid, 12 years old July 12, 2018

Awesome but still violent

Movie was great but as Dwayne Johnston allways does a still violent and freaky at some points movie with a little bit of cursing
Teen, 15 years old Written byaaron170503 October 12, 2018

Edge of seat kind of movie

It was a great movie with many thrilling and suspenseful scenes leaving you gasping as the main character and his family attempt daring acts throughout the enti... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SKYSCRAPER, Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is a former FBI hostage rescuer who lost his leg in an explosion. Now married to his surgeon, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and dad to two kids -- twins Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell) -- Will works in security. He hopes to land a job in Hong Kong, for Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), who's constructed the world's tallest building, "The Pearl." Just as Will determines that the building's fire safety measures work, a band of mercenaries breaks into the building and starts a fire, disabling the security. Will's family wasn't supposed to be there, but they got back early from a trip to the zoo, and now Will must rescue them. But before he can do that, he has to save his daughter from the bad guys.

Is it any good?

This action movie has about four gripping sequences of heart-pounding suspense, but they're surrounded by too much ridiculous, ineffective stuff; stressful scenes of kids in peril tip the balance. A cross between The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, Skyscraper is at least a manageable 102 minutes long, but at the same time, it's slow to get going. It spends too much time setting up the plot mechanics -- the origin of Will's artificial leg, the gimmick of rebooting a phone, Henry's asthma, etc. -- and not enough in letting us get to know the characters.

Johnson is a likable enough star, but he's basically superhuman here -- far from Bruce Willis' "ordinary guy" in Die Hard -- and it doesn't feel like much is at stake. Skyscraper goes a little too far in putting Will's kids in jeopardy, but we never really question whether everything is going to be fine. The bad guys, including a couple of predictable good-guy turncoats, are bottom-drawer, the kind who simply try to out-cool one another by saying their lines in low rumbles and adding lots of pauses. And it must be noted that the movie has more than a hint of "white savior" syndrome. Viewers willing to slog through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff will likely enjoy the suspenseful moments, but there are far better examples of this kind of movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Skyscraper's violence. How does the general lack of blood and consequences affect its impact? Which bothers you more: violence with fighting and weapons or suspenseful scenes? Why?

  • During the scenes that show children in peril, is the suspense enjoyable or stressful? Does the movie go too far? Not far enough?

  • What's the central family relationship like? Does it feel like a real family? Why or why not?

  • What's the appeal of big action/suspense movies like this one and Die Hard?

  • Is The Rock a role model in real life? How does that affect your opinion of his movie characters?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and thrills

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate