Steven Universe: The Movie

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Steven Universe: The Movie Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
Bright, beautiful animated movie has surprising depth.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 39 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

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Positive themes are everywhere, driven home through visuals and dialogue, like when White Diamond says that with Steven's influence she says please and thank you even to lower life forms, whereupon Steven reminds her that they talked about equal life forms. Steven connects with and subdues a villain with empathy and compassion, and solves a dangerous problem through teamwork with his friends. A realistic ending finds that "there is no happily ever after," just fresh chances to work on what's wrong and celebrate what's right. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Steven is an exemplary role model, thoughtful, sensitive, kind, and strong. At the beginning of a seemingly hopeless task in this movie, a character says "That could take forever." "Exactly," responds Steven, "so let's get started." Each mostly female character in this show's universe is humanized and has good points and bad ones; they make mistakes, but learn from them -- in fact, learning from mistakes and struggles is a crucial plot point in this movie. Main characters treat each other with kindness and respect. 


Characters are in mortal danger in this movie, but the full weight of the danger doesn't really land as characters continue to scheme, sing, and joke around. Science fiction-style weaponry like a giant drill and a glowing scythe have scary powers. Characters have fights in which they are hurled into space or kicked long distances, but nothing seems to actually hurt except for at one point when Steven is hit in the nose and bleeds. A crucial fight involves an angry character fighting against one who merely defends himself and doesn't use force in return; the fight ends in peace and emotional growth. 


Steven has a romantic connection with his friend Connie; at one point, she kisses him on the cheek and he blushes. Later, he sings a song into her eyes romantically. Two characters, both female, "fuse" into one (which fans have taken as a metaphor for a gay marriage) after a song about love in which they dance together and change colors when they touch. 


No cursing, but there are some exclamations: "Heck yes!" At one point one character calls another a "dingus," and there's a joke about an interrupted curse: "Holy sh--e really got everybody." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steven Universe: The Movie is based on the world and characters of popular animated series Steven Universe. Like the show, the movie's content is aimed more at tweens and teens than young kids; Steven himself is now aged up to 16. There's frequent cartoonish violence, with characters hurled into space or "poofed" into cotton-candy like clouds, and viewers hear about mortal danger (i.e. characters have 37 hours to save the Earth) but only see a few drops of blood. One critical fight involves a character merely defending himself instead of fighting back at an angry enemy, which helps defuse her anger. Expect plenty of positive, heartfelt themes that are illustrated with visuals and songs about friendship, autonomy, and kindness; characters admit and learn from their mistakes. Romantic content includes a moment in which a female friend kisses Steven and he blushes; two female characters dance together and sing a song about love. Language is infrequent, but at one point a character calls another a "dingus," and there are two uses of "heck." Parents may want to watch along with kids -- and may be surprised to find depth and emotional intelligence in this uplifting movie. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChicagoHuntsmen January 29, 2020

Probably my favorite movie of all time!

This movie just about hits the sweet spot in every category! Longtime fans of the series will come and enjoy this as a new experience, while newcomers have the... Continue reading
Parent Written bykaytwo44 October 17, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written bymiksoples October 2, 2019

great in so many aspects

Due to the blatant lack of reviews for this piece of media, I'll add some commentary in hopes of enlightening some prospective guardians, even if only one.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 26, 2020


I don’t really think it’s 14+ but I just want to bring up the average to at least 11+, because this movie is dark especially compared to the normally kid-friend... Continue reading

What's the story?

As STEVEN UNIVERSE: THE MOVIE dawns, things are looking pretty great for Steven (Zach Callison). At 16, he's confidently using his powers, and all is safe on Earth, with humans and gems alike living in harmony...until trouble arrives literally out of a clear blue sky. The angry Spinel (Sarah Stiles) has come to wreak destruction, carrying with her the Rejuvenator, a weapon that reduces Pearl (Deedee Magno), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Garnet (Estelle) to their most basic forms, before all the adventures with Steven and the other gems turned them into the characters we know and love. Now it's up to Steven and his friends to figure out a way to stop Spinel, restore the gems' memories, and save the planet. 

Is it any good?

Bright, colorful, and positively breathtaking in its emotional depth, this beautiful film is a worthy expansion of the animated series. Of the many things Steven Universe: The Movie gets right, Spinel is a fantastically humanized villain. She arrives as a hurricane of fury, smashing and slashing at any Universe-ian that gets close. And in most animated series, that's how she'd stay, a one-note villain subdued by force and vanquished by the end of the show, never to be heard from again. But here, she gets an arc instead. And, just like real people in real life, Spinel's anger is just a mask for pain. Abandoned, alone, what used to be hope and love calcified into rage. As Steven soon discovers (with help from Garnet, of course, in song), empathy and friendship is the key to turning the tide. 

There are other interesting things going on here, too, with emotionally intelligent ideas driven home with gorgeous visuals. Fans will already know that Garnet was created when two gems merged. When returned to their original forms by Spinel, Garnet splits into Ruby (Charlyne Yi) and Sapphire (Erica Luttrell), which eventually leads to a stunning sequence in which they dance together, their pink and blue bodies merging into purples everywhere they touch. Pearl's transformation from a robotic assistant to her old snappy self is given heartfelt imagery too, as she and Steven's dad Greg (Tom Scharpling) rise into the sky, each playing their own guitar, singing how they can be independent, together. Tweens, teens, even adults will feel the love for this surprisingly deep adventure. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ideas explored in Steven Universe: The Movie. Spinel's destructive rage comes from an act of terrible cruelty, and her anger is really just a cover for her pain. Is that realistic, given what you know about people and why they do the things they do? What about Pearl's journey? What did it take for her to change from a character who took all direction from others to one whose actions were self-directed? 

  • How does the movie use imagery to tell its story? Consider the way Spinel looks when she first appears, when she's returned to her original form, and at the end of the movie. How does her appearance change, and how does it illustrate her inner journey? How do the colors and pictures change when Steven and his friends are in trouble vs. when they're at peace? 

  • How do the characters in Steven Universe: The Movie show compassion, empathy, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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