Zoom: Academy for Superheroes

Movie review by
Jane Boursaw, Common Sense Media
Zoom: Academy for Superheroes Movie Poster Image
Dull superhero tale has comic book violence, potty humor.
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Some lip service made to the oft-stated comic book superhero idea that it's ok to be different. Disrespectful attitudes from Jack, the kids, and Larraby. The kids express anger with their powers, and Jack is mean to them, calling Tucker "Chubba Bubba" and refusing to hold Cindy's hand. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Too cartoonish to be seen as positive role models. 

Violence

Comic-book style violence: kicking, punching, throwing, shattering glass. While being recruited, Jack is shot with a dart gun that makes him unconscious. Later, while running at superhuman speed, he trips and falls, tumbling across the desert. Concussion gets knocked around, hit with a metal pole, and spun into a whirlwind. Before they are drafted by the U.S. Government, the kids with superhero abilities are shown using their powers to beat up bullies. Pratfall violence -- a recurring bit is how one of the characters clumsily trips and falls. 

Sex

Flirting between Jack and Marsha and Dylan and Summer. During training, Dylan accidentally lands on top of Summer (both horizontal on the floor), and they kiss briefly at the end of the movie. Referring to radiation, Jack tells the kids to wear lead underwear to protect their "privates". Larraby says they'll get enough radiation to "sterilize a trailer park."

Language

"Hell." "Suck." A one-liner is made when one of the characters, discovering the hidden superpower of one of the characters, says, "She blows." Verbal bullying in school, words such as "freak" and "lead butt." During the credits, one of the blooper reels shows Chevy Chase leading everyone in a made-up song with the lyric "we like to poop our pants."

Consumerism

M&Ms prominently featured in a scene. A spaceship stops at a Wendy's, menu items discussed by name. A robot is named Mr. Pibb. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One reference when Larraby bursts into an end-of-training party for the kids, and Jack tells him to chill out and have a drink. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zoom: Academy for Superheroes is a 2006 movie in which Tim Allen plays a washed-up former superhero who is brought back by the government to train a ragtag group of kids and teens with superpowers. There's a ton of disrespectful behavior from both the adults and kids in this movie. Before warming up to the kids, Jack is downright mean, calling them names and treating them badly. There's also lots of crude behavior involving farting, burping, and a huge snot-bubble that bursts and covers everyone with green goo. In one scene, the kids trap a scientist in an environmental simulator and subject him to falling rocks, a cyclone, and a rainstorm, then laugh at him. Outtakes during the end credits show the cast singing "We like to poop in our pants." Also, the parents in this movie are conspicuously missing, and the superheroes form their own "family." There's some mild profanity and comic-book style violence (kicking, punching, throwing, shattering glass). There is also some blatant consumerism, M&M's featured prominently, a scene centered on the characters' spaceship going through Wendy's drive-through, and a robot named "Mr. Pibb." 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 3 year old Written byMommaOfTwoo July 25, 2014

Zoom away.

This movie was lacking so much, it's just not worth sitting through it. The children are disrespectful, their mentor is a bully and in the end the bad guy... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe June 1, 2010

No thank you.

I watched this movie with my friends children, ages 8 and 12 and it's safe to say that only the 8 year old was interested. We talked about it afterwards an... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymaxskipper9412 April 9, 2008

I laughed so hard!!

I didn't think this movie was inappropriate there was only one bad word (hell) and it wasn't that violent, there wasn't any blood. There were no... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 22, 2016

Awesome!

This is amazing! There is no swearing exept for them saying "hell" once, and that isn't even a very bad word at all. Plus, most kids watch the Av... Continue reading

What's the story?

Thirty years ago, Jack Shepard (Tim Allen) was known as Captain Zoom for his incredible speed. At a secret facility known as Area 52, Jack led a group of superheroes known as Team Zenith, created by General Larraby (Rip Torn) and scientist Dr. Grant (Chevy Chase). Jack's older brother, Concussion (Kevin Zegers), became a villain, murdered most of the team before being sucked into a vortex. Now, Concussion is on his way back to the world through a growing spatial anomaly. Larraby recruits has-been Jack to train a new team of superhero kids: 16-year-old Summer (Kate Mara) is a telepath who can move objects with her mind; 17-year-old Dylan (Michael Cassidy) can make himself vanish; chubby 12-year-old Tucker (Spencer Breslin), can make parts of his body expand to superhuman size; and bratty 6-year-old Cindy (Ryan Newman) has super strength. The kids learn how to control their powers but they're unaware they'll face Concussion when he returns.

Is it any good?

The young superheroes are somewhat appealing, but this movie falls flat on just about every other account. The montage scenes get old fast, and the plot is predictable and covers the usual themes of teen angst, fitting in, and finding your own gifts. Chevy Chase still isn't funny, Rip Torn is like a maniacal cartoon character, and Tim Allen needs to find a different niche other than family movies.

Based on Jason Lethcoe's comic-book for young adults and featuring dated tunes by Smash Mouth, this movie is harmless fun for kids, but not a whole lot of new material here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the definition of "family." Does it always refer to people who are biologically related, or can it mean people who are bonded in another way (like the superheroes)? 

  • This movie is based on a children's book. What would be the challenges in adapting a children's book into movie form? 

  • One of the central themes of the movie is "It's ok to be different." What are some other superhero movies with a similar theme? 

Movie details

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