Australian Council on Children and the Media

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13; parental guidance strongly recommended 13 to 15 (violence and disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • a review of Avengers: Age of Ultron completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 April 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 13 to 15 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence
Length 141 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The latest Avengers film opens with the Avengers team including Iron Man (Robert Downey Junior), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) attacking the stronghold of Barron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann). Von Strucker has been busy using an ancient Asgard relic referred to as “The Sceptre” to transform human subjects into super-humans. These include orphaned twins Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who has the power to manipulate matter and control minds, and her twin brother Quick Silver, who is able to move at speeds faster than the eye can see. Together the twins make a force capable of testing the Avengers to their limits. Following a prolonged battle, the Avengers manage to capture von Strucker and retrieve the Sceptre but the twins escape.

Back at the laboratory, Iron Man and the Hulk, intrigued by the power of a crystal imbedded in the Sceptre, decide to use the crystal’s power to create the ultimate planetary guardian - an artificially intelligent robot called Ultron. Unfortunately things do not go as planned and what emerges from the lab is a psychopathic robot bent on annihilating humanity. This new threat to the planet sees the Avengers combining forces with the Scarlet Witch and Quick Silver in a bid to stop Ultron.   

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Artificial intelligence; genetic manipulation and human experimentation; global annihilation

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains intense sequences of action violence and some psychological violence. It includes battle scenes, mayhem and mass destruction, multiple deaths and some blood and gore. Examples include:

  • The film’s opening scene is one of battle violence, mayhem and destruction. Tank-like vehicles fitted with laser cannons fire bolts of energy that blow up buildings and hurl soldiers through the air. There are multiple explosions and fire. The Avengers use weapons including a power hammer, guns and a bow and arrows to kill many soldiers.
  • In a battle between the Avengers and hundreds of Ultron robot clones, robots are shot with exploding arrows, blown up, torn apart, decapitated, and smashed. One of the Avengers bites chunks out of a robot while another rips out a robot’s mechanical heart.
  • The Hulk causes mass destruction and chaos when he goes on a rampage in a city centre. An Avenger in a giant Ironman suit attacks the rampaging Hulk in an attempt to subdue him. They fight, causing destruction on a grand scale. We see an elevator full of people is thrown from a building but rescued by Ironman. At the end of the Hulk’s rampage we see the image of a woman covered in ash with a bloody gash to her face.
  • Ultron rips off the front of a speeding train crowded with passengers. The impact causes the train to derail and crash through a number of city buildings before coming to a stop.
  • An entire city is lifted out of the ground and high into the sky resulting in catastrophic earthquakes and with giant chasms appearing in the ground. Bridges are torn apart and multi-story buildings collapse. Cars fall from destroyed bridges and the occupants of cars falling from their vehicles and plummet towards the ground before being rescued.
  • In a laboratory Ultron ruthlessly kills a large number of unarmed scientists with laser fire.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • At times the Scarlet Witch has red glowing eyes and we see tendrils of red flame escaping from her fingertips. She hurls balls of red flame at her enemies. She also places her finger tips on the heads of victims, emitting tendrils of red flame that enter the victim’s head causing them to undergo horrific hallucinations.  
  • While hallucinating, an Avenger sees the ground covered with bloody dead bodies. and a dead woman with her torso peppered with arrows.
  • Initially, the robot Ultron has a scary deformed appearance. Later Ultron appears stronger, and sleeker but more menacing, and he threatens to tear humans apart.  
  • In one scene an Avenger stabs an electronic arrow into a person’s forehead, resulting in lightning-like tendrils that cause immediate paralysis.
  • In one scene we see Thor’s body engulfed by tendrils of lightning; he appears unharmed by the attack.
  • There are disturbing images of a young girl with no mouth.
  • An Avenger with a wound to his stomach is healed with laser surgery.  We see a raw wound and a surgical laser beam being fired at the wound. In a later battle scene the same Avenger reaches down and touches the side of his body, hand coming away covered in blood.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • One scene depicts a young child in peril of being shot by automatic cannon fire. One of the Avengers uses his body to shield the child. The Avenger is shot multiple times by gunfire and collapses to the ground, dying soon afterwards. The young boy  lies unconscious with a bloody gash on his forehead.   

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

The film contains sexual references and innuendo. Examples include:

  • “What if you can’t get it up?” and “If we get through this I’ll hold your own”
  • A man tells a woman that he is unable to have children and in return the woman explains to the man that she was sterilised in an initiation ceremony as part of an assassin training program.
  • “Multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit”.    
  • A man says in relation to a man and woman who are attracted to each other, “They better not be playing hide the zucchini”

Nudity and sexual activity

A few of scenes depict mild sexual activity and partial nudity.  For example:

  • Brief kissing and flirting
  • A man leaves a shower with a towel wrapped around his waist to be confronted by a woman who states twice in a suggestive manner that she should have joined him in the shower.   
  • Women wearing tight fitting and revealing clothes.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Social drinking at parties

Coarse language

The film contains some coarse language and name calling scattered throughout. Examples include:

  • “shit”; “arse”; “dick move”; “damn”;  “bastard”; “ piss me off”; “ son of a bitch”; “circus freaks”; “ huge dork”

In a nutshell

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the latest in the series based on Marvel comic book characters. It is an action adventure film targeting adolescents and adult fans of the series with the usual characters, fast-paced action and computer generated special effects. It will probably attract some tweens and younger teens but is definitely not recommended for children under 13 because of violent and disturbing scenes which include battles, mass destruction, multiple deaths and some blood and gore.  Parental guidance is strongly recommended for the 13-15 age group        

The main message from this movie is that when people work together as a team and support each other they can overcome overwhelming odds. Parents also may wish to discuss what the film has to say about reckless scientific experimentation and its possible results.

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