Australian Council on Children and the Media

Justice League

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Not recommended under 13, parental guidance recommended 13 to 15, due to violent and scary scenes and characters

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Justice League
  • a review of Justice League completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 November 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes and characters
Children 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes and characters
Viewers 15 and over OK for this 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: Justice League
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence
Length 120 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Justice League is set several months after Batman verses Superman: Dawn of Justice.

For thousands of years three alien boxes of immense power referred to as the “Mother Boxes” have been hidden on Earth as a safeguard. One box was given to the Amazons, one to the Atlantians and one to the races of men. But now an evil alien called Steppenwolf (voice of Ciaran Hinds) along with his army of parademons has been sent to Earth to recover the Mother Boxes  and destroy Earth in the process. To stop Steppenwolf, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) form the Justice League and recruit several meta-humans including The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher).

However, the Justice League might not be powerful enough to defeat Steppenwolf and, unless they can find a way to resurrect Superman, the fate of the world looks grim.

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.

Superheroes; aliens; world destruction; terrorism

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 extended sequences of violence, at times brutal, with the depiction of violent deaths and mass destruction. Examples include:

  • A rooftop fight between an armed thief and a superhero ends with the thief bound and hanging from a pole over the edge of the rooftop.
  • A superhero impales a parademon on a spear.
  • Several armed men enter a bank and fire their weapons at people who fall to the ground (presumably killing them but no blood is depicted). Other people scatter in terror and children scream. The captives huddle together on the floor and a bank robber fires at them; the captives are saved by a superhero who deflects the bullets.
  • There are several battle scenes in which a giant demon wielding a battle-axe, and numerous smaller demonic flying creatures battle dozens of warrior women; the women fight with swords, spears and bows. The axe is used to slash women, one woman is stepped on and crushed, and another is pinned under her horse and killed.
  • In other battle scenes more modern weapons are used, including jet planes, armoured vehicles, laser weapons, automatic guns and missiles, with lots of explosions and property damage on a large scale.
  • A parademon attacks a man, and we hear the sounds of bones breaking and see the man fall to the ground. In another scene the demon grabs a superhero by the throat, lifts him into the air and attempts to crush his face.
  • In one brutal scene the demon creature rips the legs and arms from the body of a cyborg (we later see the cyborg repaired and uninjured).

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 eight, including the following:

  • The parademons are scary, humanoid in shape with large bug-like eyes that glow green, long sharp pointy teeth, green coloured skin and insect-like wings that allow them to fly at speed. They are aggressive, and bent on attacking and destroying humans.  
  • The film’s leading villain has a mummified appearance with red glowing eyes. He is twice the height of a normal man, wields a power axe that pulsates with a glowing light and wears a metal helmet with horn-like structures protruding from the top.  
  • Young children may also be scared by the appearance of some of the superheroes depicted in the film, particularly those with non-human characteristics.
  • One superhero fires laser beams from his eyes, engulfing his enemies in flames.
  • Two superheroes dig up the body of a third and lower it into a pool which is electrified. Tendrils of light and electricity engulf them all and the dead man bursts up out of the pool and into the sky, alive and well.
  • A woman is struck by an alien weapon and her face and body instantly age (as if mummified) and then disintegrate.
  • In one scene hundreds of parademons attack a house where a father and his children have barricaded themselves inside.  The terrified young girl hides under the kitchen table. Over several scenes an alien crystalline structure rises up out of the ground and grows over the house, trapping the man and his two young children inside. 
  • In a couple of scenes superheroes get covered in parademon blood which looks like green slime.

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.

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

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 likely to be scared by some of 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 viewers in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes, so parental guidance is recommended.

Product placement

  • In the film, brand named motor vehicles – eg Mercedes
  • Also, associated merchandise is marketed to children, including those for whom the film is not suitable

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A male superhero makes reference to female superhero, saying that he was only interested in her “skill set”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In several scenes two male muscle-bound superheroes are depicted with bare chests.
  • A female superhero’s costume includes a short skirt and a top that reveals cleavage. She also wears tight-fitting pants.
  • A couple kiss and hug.
  • After being thrown through the air by an explosion, a young male superhero ends up lying on top of a female superhero, providing an awkward moment for him. 

Use of substances

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

  • drinking of spirits and beer

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  •  “shit hole”, “fucking” used on more than one occasion, and obvious although beeped out; “Jesus”; “arses”; “son of a bitch”

In a nutshell

Justice League is a superhero action adventure targeting teenage and adult fans of DC comics, who are likely to find it more entertaining than its predecessor, Batman verses Superman, with a hint of more to come.

The film is being widely advertised and may attract younger viewers, but it is not recommended for children under 13, due to violent and scary scenes and characters. Parental guidance is recommended for the 13 to 15 age group.

The main messages from the film are:

  • Willingness to take risks is important, and can be vital.
  • Good always triumphs over evil, but at a cost.
  • Working together by combining different skills and abilities (or superpowers) can enable you to achieve goals that seem impossible.   

 

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