We Can Be Heroes

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Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 8 (violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for We Can Be Heroes
  • a review of We Can Be Heroes completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 January 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to scary scenes and violence.
Children aged 5–8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and violence.
Children over the age of 8 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: We Can Be Heroes
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild Themes, Mild Violence, Scary Scenes
Length: 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

America is protected by a team of superheroes known as the Heroics, who are led by Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal) and managed by a government organisation with Ms. Granada (Priyanka Chopra) at the helm. When aliens invade and capture the superheroes, their children realise it is up to them to save the day. After escaping from the Heroics headquarters, the group of children sneak onto the alien mothership where they must outsmart the aliens before it is too late. After discovering that the government organisation managing the Heroics, along with the American President, are actually the aliens in disguise, a final battle ensues, with the super kids being victorious thanks to teamwork, friendship, and the guidance of their accidental leader, Missy Moreno (YaYa Gosselin). Lastly, after saving their parents from the aliens, the aliens reveal the ‘take over’ was a test to prepare the kids to take over as the new superheroes when their parents retire.


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.

Teamwork; Friendship; Separation from parents; Aliens; Superpowers.

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:

  • Many hand-to-hand combat sequences – fist fighting, kicks, throws – all exaggerated and fantastical.
  • Superpowers used by both adults and children to fight aliens (e.g., super strength, lightening, etc.).

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:

  • Children and adults utilise superpowers throughout the film (e.g., stretchable limbs; flying; water manipulation; control of lava; super strength, etc.).
  • ‘Facemaker’, one of the super kids, can distort his face into different people or cartoonish features.
  • Oversized, animated sharks are shown several times and used to attack aliens.
  • The aliens are shown in human form with purple tentacles attached to their backs – the tentacles are used to grab characters throughout the film.
  • Giant, alien, dragon-like monsters are hand-drawn and brought to life to attack the 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:

  • Reference is made to the death of Missy’s mother.
  • The children are visibly distressed when watching their parents get captured by the aliens on TV.
  • The above-mentioned scenes and images are likely to scare or disturb some children in this age group.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Tablet devices are used – no brand is shown.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Ms. Granada wears a low-cut top throughout the film that clearly shows cleavage.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

We Can Be Heroes is a family-friendly, action film from director Robert Rodriguez that delivers a message of child empowerment and the importance of teamwork. This film is best suited for children aged 8 to 13 years. Due to some frightening scenes and mild violence, this film is not suitable for children under 5 and parental guidance is recommended for children under 9.

The main messages from this movie are that teamwork can help you achieve great things; that friendship is a powerful tool when facing difficulties; and that believing in yourself will help you grow.

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

  • Teamwork
  • Selflessness
  • Self-belief and belief in others.

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

  • Bullying – Missy is made fun of for not having powers.