The Batman Parent Guide
This is a dark, disturbing take on the caped crusader that will terrify younger viewers but will be appreciated by genre fans.
Parent Movie Review
The murder of two of Gotham’s most prominent citizens, Thomas and Martha Wayne, shocked the city. Despite a massive municipal fund created by the couple to revitalize the struggling city, Gotham has been increasingly plagued by violent crime in the twenty years since their demise. But for the past two years, criminals have something to fear: The Batman. Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), spurred by his parents’ death, has donned an armored suit and a mask to take the fight against crime to the streets. He’s about to face his toughest challenge yet: When the mayor, Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones) is brutally murdered, Gotham Police detective James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) brings the vigilante in to help solve the crime. The killer (Paul Dano), known as the Riddler, leaves a cryptic cipher and some strange clues addressed to the Batman, claiming that he’s trying to uncover Gotham’s deep-seated corruption – corruption which the killer alleges starts with the Wayne family’s charity fund…
Clocking in at just under three hours, The Batman continues a tragic tradition of superhero films being about 40 minutes longer than they have any right to be. The difference between The Batman and, say, The Eternals, is that The Batman is fun. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. This is not a franchise which has had a lot of success lately, but this is a genuinely good movie – provided you give it a little more editing.
A simple, dark score reinforces the gritty, rainy, film-noir styles of this rundown take on Gotham city. Neon lights cast stark shadows, perfect for a costumed maniac with a serious grudge to lurk in before another productive evening of beating the locals to a pulp. That’s one of the things I appreciate about this movie’s interpretation of the vigilante: Batman, and by extension, Bruce Wayne, is fundamentally insane. This is not some normal philanthropist/playboy/millionaire who somehow moonlights as a latex-bound caped crusader. Pattinson’s Wayne is a moody, reclusive, gothic weirdo. It’s a fantastic take on the character which reflects some of the more realistic consequences of spending your entire life wallowing in trauma. Turns out, that gives you more than a wicked cool car and a collection of unusual scars.
The film also brings “The World’s Greatest Detective’s” investigative abilities to the fore, which further complements the film noir edge of the movie. Batman isn’t just a muscle-bound loon, he’s a smart muscle-bound loon who must find the guys he wants to pummel before he can get to work with his fists and gadgets.
Of course, all that time in Gotham’s dark and gritty underbelly make this film grossly unsuitable for children. First of all, it’s scary – far scarier than any other Batman movie. Taking no small inspiration from Zodiac and Taxi Driver, this Riddler is not the same character Jim Carrey played in Batman Forever. He’s a psychotic serial murderer. If I’d seen this when I was a kid, I still wouldn’t be able to sleep. Add in the usual hand-to-hand violence dispensed by the Dark Knight, and a bit more profanity than you might be expecting, and you’ve got a really poor choice for a younger audience, despite the optimistic PG-13 rating. But your average mature film fan, and I expect most Batman fans, are going to enjoy this take on the Bat – if you can sit through all three hours of it.Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano. Running time: 175 minutes. Theatrical release March 4, 2022. Updated January 10, 2024
Watch the trailer for The Batman
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Batman rated PG-13? The Batman is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.
Violence: People are repeatedly beaten into unconsciousness. An individual is tazered. A character is bludgeoned to death and has their thumb cut off, mostly off-screen. People are injured in explosions and flooding. Several characters are shot.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There is one use of a sexual expletive and 19 uses of scatological profanity, along with occasional mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially. Some are seen using a fictional drug referred to as “drops”, which appear to be eye drops. Characters are seen buying and selling these drugs.
Page last updated January 10, 2024
The Batman Parents' Guide
Bruce Wayne is clearly traumatized and disturbed by his life experiences. What are some real-life examples of vigilantism? How are these individuals typically viewed? How is he portrayed on screen? What are some of the legal risks of taking the law into your own hands? How long do you think Batman would be able to get away with it? Do you think his methods are justifiable? What do he and the Riddler have in common? What sets them apart? What kinds of corruption is the Riddler concerned with? Why? How does he go about exposing them? To what end? What are some famous examples of corruption at a municipal level?
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Some of the better Batman films include Batman (1989), Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. Somewhat less well-received options include Batman and Robin, Batman Forever, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League. This film borrows from 70’s noir films like Taxi Driver, Zodiac, Death Wish and Chinatown. Joker is in a similar tradition.