A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie features hard and fast violence, martial arts and shootings conveyed through dark, abrupt, sometimes scary imagery. Less cartoonish than the Spider-Man and X-Men movies, these scenes are loud and rough. The caped crusader's origin story includes the murders of his parents, his ensuing depression and attempt to shoot the shooter, martial arts training and fighting, frightening subjective images brought on by hallucinogenic drugs, brief debauchery (drinking, smoking, and swimming-in-a-hotel-fountain with vacuous starlet-types), an even briefer kiss with his romantic interest, a faux drunken speech, and some raucous driving in a seriously armored Batmobile.
What's the story?
Traumatized by the murder of his parents when he was a child, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) loses his way. When tempted to assassinate the man responsible, Bruce instead watches as someone else guns down his parents' killer. Wayne then disappears for several years. When others try to recruit Wayne to join them in destroying Gotham City, in order to destroy its evil, Wayne instead returns to fight for her and rid her of the evil within. He enlists the help of butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and Wayne Enterprises gadgets-maker Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) in order to create the "image" of Batman. Intended to intimidate villains, the new hero wears an elaborate Bat-costume and drives a frankly awesome Batmobile, a futuristic all-terrain military vehicle painted bat-black and capable of all manner of vehicular acrobatics.
Is it any good?
A meditation on the different motivations for violence, BATMAN BEGINS is smart and entertaining, with some harsh action scenes. Bruce is full of grit and fury, a well as grim arrogance and a sense of comedy.
Self-righteous, flagrantly emotional as well as coldly rational, Batman's sense of mission aligns him with last good cop Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman). It also means his methods aren't always so distinct from the criminals', but he is effective, as deterrent and as what Gordon calls "escalation." Both villains and Batman can only do more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Bruce Wayne's relationships with various father figures, including his biological father (who is murdered), his martial arts trainer, his butler, and his gadgets-maker.
What's the difference between vengeance and justice as the film presents it? Do you agree?
How does Bruce put his anger to use for the "public good"? How does the film differentiate between "good" and "bad" uses of violence?
- In theaters: June 15, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: October 18, 2005
- Cast: Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 141 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.