A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this tween-appropriate film as comic book-style violence. All types of weapons are used (from knives to a nauseating amusement park ride), but there's never any blood or gore. The heroine, a high school-aged superhero, presents a good role model for tweens (and even younger girls), and the character is juxtaposed against a ruthless female villain whose minions occasionally drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.There are some mildly scary scenes and Supergirl's mentor tragically dies in a brief non-graphic scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Superman's younger cousin, Kara (aka Supergirl), travels to Earth to retrieve the Omegahedron, an object vital to the existence of her alien people that has fallen into the hands of wicked sorceress Selena (Faye Dunaway). On the outskirts of Metropolis, Supergirl (Helen Slater) disguises herself as a boarding school student and miraculously befriends Lois Lane's younger sister and intrepid newspaper photographer Jimmy Olsen (Marc McClure, who portrayed Olsen alongside Christopher Reeve's Superman). The fight of good vs. evil begins as soon as Selena realizes that Supergirl is in town. The wicked sorceress and her nitwit minions take on Supergirl in many non-graphic, comic book-style battles. Supergirl finds romance on planet Earth, but she will not allow her first love to distract her from her superhero duties.
Is it any good?
As superheroes go, Kara is a fine female role model, but Helen Slater's acting often feels wooden. Viewers of any age may find it hard to connect with the character. Screen legends Faye Dunaway and Peter O'Toole were both nominated for "worst performance" Razzie awards, but Dunaway's over-the-top turn stands out as one of the best things in this lackluster film. Some of the more complex action scenes are intense, but there are a lot of scenes that drag on far too long. Any attempt at humor and comic relief in the script falls flat.
That said, this is a fine film for tweens to watch if you're open to something that feels more like a made-for-TV movie -- that is, don't expect the same quality of the 1978 Superman.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the themes of good vs. evil. Why and how does Supergirl present a positive role model for everyone, not just girls and women? What thoughts and actions make the sorceress such a bad egg? Families can also get into some interesting and fun research of the history of comic books and superheroes -- what year was the first Superman comic book introduced, and what was going on in the world for society to want/need such a strong, idealistic hero?
- In theaters: January 16, 1984
- On DVD or streaming: November 26, 2006
- Cast: Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater, Peter O'Toole
- Director: Jeannot Szwarc
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild violence
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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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.
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