Australian Council on Children and the Media

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Not recommended under 8, parental guidance recommended under 10 (animated violence, science fiction themes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • a review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 December 2018.

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: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild science fiction themes, animated violence, and coarse language.
Length 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In a parallel universe where Spider-Man (Voice of Chris Pine) is killed by the villain Kingpin (Voice of Liev Schreiber), and Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales (Voice of Shameik Moore), is bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him Spider-Man-like abilities.  As Kingpin attempts to open a portal to parallel realities, a host of ‘Spider-People’ begin to appear in Brooklyn.  With the help of a burnt-out Peter Parker (Voice of Jake Johnson), Spider-Gwen (Voice of Hailee Steinfeld), Peni Parker (Voice of Kimiko Glenn), Spider-Man Noir (Voice of Nicolas Cage), and Spider-Ham (Voice of John Mulaney), Miles must stop the portal from destroying Brooklyn, return his new friends to their proper realities, master his new powers, and be back in bed before his parents notice. 

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.

Revenge; responsibility; crime; friendship; family; death; loss; loneliness; bullying.

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.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Frequent animated/cartoon-style action violence throughout. This is performed by heroes and villains alike, and without serious physical consequences. For example: punches, kicks, characters being thrown against walls or falling from buildings, being hit by a car but not getting hurt, shots from laser guns.
  • Kingpin smashes his fists down hard on Spider-Man and he dies.
  • A character on the brink of redemption is shot dead by another character.

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:

  • The film contains loud noises and flashing lights throughout – these may distress very young children.
  • The radioactive spider that bites Miles may disturb young children. It is animated in a bright and stylised way, with loud noises and bright colours that may surprise or shock small children.
  • There are numerous monster-like villains that battle the heroes. For example, Green Goblin, a giant, green monster; Tombstone, a Frankenstein-like person; Scorpion, half-man, half-scorpion; Doc Ock , a female Doctor Octopus; Prowler , a frightening, claw-handed villain. These are likely to distress and frighten young children.

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:

  • Prowler chases and attacks Miles on numerous occasions. This character is frightening and accompanied by loud and tense music which could frighten children in this age group.
  • Kingpin (the central antagonist), is a monstrously large man who is menacing and violent.He may frighten children in this age group.
  • Kingpin’s wife and son are depicted (in flashback) dying in a car accident.This is not graphic, but may be upsetting to younger children.

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.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Miles is chased and attacked by numerous villains, including situations in which he is unable to protect himself. This may distress younger children in this age group.

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.

  • Nothing of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Sony headphones
  • Nike sneakers
  • Smartphones – Sony Androids
  • Converse
  • Jeep
  • Snapchat
  • Numerous references to products, media, and businesses, but with variations on the names (e.g., Kola Soda; RedEx).

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

None of concern.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Freakin’
  • Hell

In a nutshell

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a gorgeous, animated comic book-style origin story of Miles Morales’ Spider-Man. The film provides a surprisingly fresh take on a seemingly over-done superhero.  With excellent and innovative visuals, and a heart-warming and funny script, this film will entertain audiences of all ages, even those who may not normally enjoy superhero films.  While appropriate and enjoyable for those aged 8 to adult, parental guidance should be provided to children under 10, due to some frightening and intense scenes.  Parental guidance should also be considered for children under 13, as some characters, themes, and visuals may distress those in this age group. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork.
  • Seeking family support when things are difficult.
  • Believing in oneself, even when faced with challenges.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Trespassing into dangerous areas (e.g., rooms behind the tracks in a subway station).
  • Illegal graffiti. It is glamorised in the film.
  • Parkour: there are numerous examples of dangerous parkour performed by multiple characters, including Miles. Being a boy of similar age to many potential viewers, it is possible they may wish to imitate his behaviours.
  • Bullying. Miles is bullied by others at school.

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