The Avengers

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Avengers Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Heroes work together in explosive comic-book adventure.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 143 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 127 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 434 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's clear: Teamwork matters. The Avengers are best when they're working toward the same goal instead of letting others tear them apart. And the movie makes it very clear that you can step up and be a hero no matter what mistakes you might have made in the past. That said, not everyone in the "good guys" camp is always entirely on the up and up, and the heroes do have their share of conflicts before they come together. And violence is the primary means of conflict resolution (with tons of collateral damage).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though they have their quirks and frailties, ultimately the Avengers all show courage and work to overcome their individual challenges so they can accomplish their greater mission. They're not always successful, but when it counts, they come through. Within the group, there are many brands of heroism -- Steve Rogers (Captain America) is always upstanding and squeaky clean; Tony Stark (Iron Man) is snarky and selfish until matters come to a head; Bruce Banner (Hulk) fights his inner demons by trying to help others and avoiding conflict; Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) have very checkered pasts but do the right thing when it matters; and Thor tends to act first and ask questions later but has a strong sense of honor and duty. Although Loki is Thor's brother, he shows no loyalty to him; Thor doesn't feel the same way.


Hugely explosive, destructive mayhem throughout most of the movie. There's not much in the way of gore/blood, but cars are flung from overpasses, a giant monster tosses people around like rag dolls, entire armies are decimated by lasers, massive explosions and mega aliens destroy buildings, etc. Casualties aren't lingered on, but they're presumably in the thousands; use of nuclear weapons is discussed. In one startling scene, an important supporting character is killed; other characters are injured. Lots of weapons (guns, hammers, shields, arrows, hands, bombs, and more) and fighting. The bad-guy aliens are pretty creepy looking.


Some flirty banter and form-fitting outfits. Bruce Banner is briefly shown naked, but no sensitive body parts are shown, and it's not sexual in any way.


A few uses of words including "ass," "hell, "damn," "bastard," "oh my God," and "son of a bitch."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Signage for Acura, Citibank, and other brands can be seen. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some champagne toasts. One character mixes a drink for himself. A very brief reference to "weed."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Avengers is a superhero adventure in which many of Marvel's major characters -- including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) -- come together to battle an otherworldly enemy in a war to the end. From the first scene on, there's virtually nonstop comic book mayhem, including advanced weapons, epic-scale battle scenes, and thousands of casualties. Some of the fights are deeply personal as relatives face off, and some people do die, including characters the audience will care about. The heroes sometimes discuss their motivations for fighting crime, and the discussions can be intense, though it also leads to a good deal of camaraderie and cooperation. Expect some swearing ("ass," "son of a bitch," etc.), plenty of snarky quips from Iron Man, an off-hand joke about adoption that could upset some families, and intense 3-D action.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMomandpsychologist May 31, 2012

Well done but significant reservations for kids - from a mom of 9 and 11 yo kids

It's a very well-done movie and highly enjoyable with very good effects. Despite the near-constant action, it might be a bit long for some kids with atten... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 8, 11, and 14-year-old Written byMidnightMom May 5, 2012


The Best Family Movie we could see. I went at midnight to see with my 14 yr old. We loved it so much, I took my husband and 2 younger kids the next day. My 5 y... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byThorthegodofthunder May 2, 2012

How AWESOME The Avengers is...

My favorite Marvel movie so far! Kudos to Joss Whedon who directed this film. I loved how every character got their moment to shine and that it wasn't focu... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWolverine2333 December 20, 2019

The Avengers

This is a great movie. When a threat arrives a team of people join together to defend it. Captain America is a great role model by sticking to his values despit... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE AVENGERS, when the powerful villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) appears on Earth in search of the Tesseract, a mysterious artifact that holds limitless energy, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the head of the secret organization S.H.I.E.L.D., realizes it's going to take some equally powerful heroes to save the planet. So he calls in the toughest team he can find -- Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), expert archer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and skilled assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) -- known collectively as The Avengers. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance ... can Loki be stopped?

Is it any good?

Quick-witted and nuanced, this movie takes the best of the genre -- iconic heroes fighting for truth and justice -- and dishes it out in a fanboy-pleasing, edge-of-your seat way. Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, so when you chance upon a gem like The Avengers, thank the comic book gods. There's great chemistry, especially between loose cannon Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey, perfect as usual) and skittish Bruce Banner (Ruffalo, adding great depth) and also between Stark and the starchy, unquestioning Captain America. The banter is believable, even when it's not always easy. And Hiddleston is a fearsome delight as the insecure, approval-hungry Loki.

The Avengers starts with a long-winded set-up -- unavoidable, perhaps, given the characters' many backstories but still mildly annoying -- and the Tesseract at the heart of the conflict soon takes a backseat to the heroes themselves. But no matter: Director Joss Whedon knows his way around compelling, flawed, conflicted superheroes, and he masterfully brings these characters alive in all their complex glory.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Avengers. How does the fact that much of it is larger than life affect its impact? How is it different watching invading aliens get hurt than human characters?

  • How does this film compare to other superhero stories? Do you prefer hero movies with just one star, or do you think this collaboration style is better?

  • Are the Avengers role models? Are some of them "worthier" than others? Why or why not? How do they demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Why is Loki so bent on dominating the world? Who is he trying to impress? Is this all just a family feud?

Movie details

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