A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy explores many philosophical ideas about identity, responsibility, power, hope, despair, sacrifice, and justice. Revenge is also a key theme of The Dark Knight Rises, which is, at its core, a meditation on the duality of humanity -- for instance in how the memory of Harvey Dent contrasted with the reality of how he died affects all of Gotham. What does it mean to be good? The villain Bane questions whether police officers are instruments of justice or of oppression and whether Batman is a man of honor or a man who betrayed a code of honor.
Positive Role Models
Unlike almost every other superhero, Bruce Wayne/Batman isn't an alien or a mutant. He doesn't have superhuman strength; he's a rich man with some nifty gadgets and an extraordinary need to protect the citizens of Gotham -- as well as avenge the anger that drives him. Bruce isn't perfect, and he often makes mistakes (especially about whom to trust), but he summons his courage for the good of Gotham, even though it comes at considerable personal cost to him, both physically and emotionally. John Blake is an upstanding, responsible, loyal cop who always tries his best to do the right thing. Selina Kyle starts off as just a ruthless jewel thief, but her interactions with Batman/Bruce help her become less selfish and more helpful. Bruce's two mentors and friends, Alfred and Mr. Fox, are loyal and loving toward him. Bane is cruel and callous.
Violence & Scariness
Like The Dark Knight, this movie has frequent, cringe-inducingly realistic violence on top of the standard, high-octane action violence that's so prevalent in superhero films. Some moments are horrifyingly up close and personal: neck breakings, stabbings, hand-to-hand combat, and there's also the enormous collateral damage of wide scale destruction: bombings, fireballs, massive explosions, building collapses, shootings, and more. Many, many people are trapped, held hostage, killed, tortured, and executed, and Bruce Wayne himself is injured in painful, nearly irreparable ways. Villain Bane is very scary-looking, with his mask and bulked-up aggression. The movie opens with a terrifying plane takeover/crash; weapons include guns, knives, bows and arrows, bombs, fists, and more. A dead teen boy's body is shown washed up outside a sewer grate. Batman and Selina are at odds over Batman's "no guns, no killing" rule.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
While the romance isn't as central here as in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne/Batman kisses two different women. In one case, a passionate kiss leads to lovemaking, although the sex is off camera. Afterward, Bruce and his partner are shown (she's bare-shouldered, he's bare-chested) snuggling and kissing in front of a fireplace. In two other scenes, Bruce enjoys brief but passionate kisses with a woman.
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Language includes infrequent use of words including "damn," "bitch," "hell," and "sons of bitches," as well as "Jesus" (as an exclamation) and insults such as "idiot," "stupid," and "hag."
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Products & Purchases
Part of a popular comic book franchise. No overt product placements, though some car brands are seen, and Bruce Wayne's black Lamborghini makes another appearance.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink cocktails at Gotham's ritzy dinner parties and costume galas.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Dark Knight Rises is the final installment in director Christopher Nolan's dark, violent Batman trilogy. Like its predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises features ultra-violent scenes of torture and death that are too intense for younger kids used to the nearly comic, stylized action violence of other superhero films. A disturbingly high body count is achieved via massive explosions, kidnappings, neck breakings, shootings, and hand-to-hand combat. While there's not a lot of actual blood, there's tons of death and mass destruction. Bruce Wayne enjoys a few passionate kisses and one love scene that shows bare shoulders; swearing is very infrequent (the strongest words used are "bitch" and "damn"). The film's villain, Bane, is monstrously muscled and frighteningly sadistic, and his mask is very scary looking. Despite the violence, be prepared for kids to beg to see the much-hyped Caped Crusader's latest adventure. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With their Batman trilogy, Nolan and Bale have revolutionized superhero films from colorful action adventures that even young kids can appreciate to serious meditations on justice and power. The franchise's loyal fans won't be disappointed with this immensely satisfying conclusion to Nolan's epic trilogy. Injured and relatively out of shape, Batman is physically no match for the huge and menacing Bane. With his Hannibal Lecter-meets-Darth Vader mask and his overpowering physique, Hardy is completely disguised as the amoral assassin, but even rendered unrecognizable, the acclaimed British actor gives a masterful performance in villainy.
Bale's always thoughtfully nuanced portrayal is complemented by the addition of two breakout performances: Gordon-Levitt -- whose character is an ordinary cop with an extraordinary bravery that's pivotal to the story -- and Hathaway, whose Selina Kyle steals the show with her whip-smart humor and crackling chemistry with Batman. The banter between Bale and Hathaway (who seems to be having a ball in full vixen mode) provides much-needed relief from the story's otherwise overpoweringly grim nature. Visually stunning, incredibly acted, and unyieldingly intense, The Dark Knight Rises is one of the rare movies for which the huge budget, super-sized runtime (almost three hours), and undying ardor of fans are well deserved.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.