Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the hugely anticipated seventh installment in the big-screen Star Wars franchise, featuring new main characters as well as beloved favorites like Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Chewbacca. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the sequel takes place approximately 30 years after the events of The Return of the Jedi, and although there's tons of sci-fi action -- space battles, crashes, explosions, lightsaber duels, and more -- there's less violence overall than viewers saw in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Villains do order the mass murder of countless civilians, prisoners are coerced physically and with the Force, and duels lead to injuries and death, but none of it is bloody or gory. With little language ("dammit" and "hell" are as strong as it gets) or sex, this is the kind of epic adventure that will undoubtedly appeal to Star Wars fans of all ages. But while younger kids may be familiar with the franchise and its many spin-offs (like the animated Clone Wars), they might not be ready for some of The Force Awakens' more violent or emotional scenes. (Spoiler alert: One death will hit very hard.)
An adult couple hugs tenderly. A young woman and a young man bond under intense circumstances that lead to romantic chemistry, but there's nothing more than a kiss on the forehead.
Lots of sci-fci action violence on both the largest possible scale (planets obliterated) and much smaller (one-on-one lightsaber duels and firefights/shoot-outs), but hardly any blood/gore (with the exception of bloody fingerprints on a white stormtrooper helmet). There's a weapon that can destroy entire systems, and there are explosive battle sequences in which people die and ships burst into flames. Kylo Ren tortures people, both physically and with the Force. Quick glimpses of dead soldiers and civilians lying around. Laser guns of all shapes and sizes (handheld, ship mounted, etc.); bombs. Chases, crashes, and frequent peril. Large, monstrous creatures rampage through a ship; other creatures look scary/threatening, and the leader of the First Order is creepy. A man orders an entire village of civilians/witnesses slaughtered and cuts down an unarmed man. A young man has debilitating anger issues. Spoiler alert: Supporting characters are injured, one is presumed dead, and there's one very upsetting death.
Infrequent use of words including "dammit," "hell," "little freaks," "murderers," "liars," "thieves," "scum."
As ever, the main tension is between good and evil, light and dark; characters must decide whether to choose the path they were taught or the "other" side. Just because you were bred/raised to be a particular way doesn't mean you have to accept that. The importance of friendship, courage, teamwork, loyalty, and doing the right thing is demonstrated again and again, whether with old partners or new friends.
On camera, nothing; but off camera, the Star Wars franchise is a merchandiser's dream, with branded/themed apparel, games, accessories, housewares, action figures, LEGO sets, toys, and just about anything else you can imagine.
Drugs / Tobacco /
A scene in an interstellar pub shows creatures of all kinds drinking (presumably alcohol) and talking.