Batman: Death in the Family

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Batman: Death in the Family Movie Poster Image
Violence in interactive noir story and other animated shorts
  • R
  • 2020
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie explores themes and conflicts such as vengeance, redemption, if evil is an inherent trait to humanity. Also: fate vs. free will. 

Positive Role Models

In each of these animated shorts, there are no positive role models. The "heroes" are conflicted as they walk the line between good and evil, free will versus fate. 


Cartoon violence in each of these animated shorts. Fighting with assorted weapons. While holding him prisoner, Joker beats Robin repeatedly with a cane. Decapitated bodies. People burned alive. Sniper killing. Dead bodies. Stabbing in the eye. Character cut in half; blood. In the short animated features included in the DVD: war and sci-fi violence. Sword fight. Attempted suicide by gun.


Some talk of sex, sexual references. 


"A--hole," "s--t," "damn," "goddamn," "crap," "ass," "piss." 


Animated shorts centered on characters from the DC Comics universe. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the animated shorts included with the title feature: marijuana smoking, cigarette smoking, binge drinking in a bar, wine drinking at a party. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman: Death in the Family is a 2020 animated feature in which a vengeance-obsessed Robin goes rogue and tries to stop Joker and Batman must try to save the young protegé. On DVD and Blu-Ray, this is an interactive movie in which the viewer gets to decide the fates of Batman and Robin, and each decision leads to a further exploration of the themes of fate versus free will, redemption, vengeance, and the nature of evil. Expect lots of cartoon violence, including decapitations, people burned alive, building explosions, battles with assorted weaponry, a beating with a cane, and a stabbing in the eye. In addition to the title feature, this includes four short animated features starring other characters from the DC Universe, including Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, The Phantom Stranger, and Death. In these features, expect more cartoon violence, including an attempted suicide by gun, similar themes to the title program, as well as binge drinking, marijuana and cigarette smoking, Profanity throughout, including "a--hole," "s--t," "damn," "goddamn," "crap," "ass," and "piss." 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBBB123 January 17, 2021

Very violent for kids.

Black mask gets cut in half.
Teen, 14 years old Written byWatchman Reviews November 17, 2020

Batman: Death in the Family earns it's R, but it's ok for older teens

The Common Sense Media review pretty much covered it, it's okay, pretty repetitive though. As for violence, it's pretty bloody, but the animation does... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY, Jason Todd (Vincent Martella) is being trained to be the next Robin, but his thirst for justice and revenge get the better of him. Todd goes rogue and tries to track down Joker to Bosnia, where he's soon captured by Joker (John DiMaggio) and held prisoner in a warehouse. As Joker beats Robin with a cane and leaves him for dead as the warehouse is set to be detonated with bombs, Batman (Bruce Greenwood) must risk his life to save Todd. On DVD and Blu-Ray, this is an interactive movie in which you get to choose the fates of Batman and Robin. Each of the three outcomes leads to very different results, but each are connected by mediations on fate, justice, and the nature of evil. This also includes four bonus animated short features starring other characters in the DC Universe. Sgt. Rock, with the help of an unusual platoon, must stop the Nazis from reanimating corpses for the war effort. In an Arctic mining town, Adam Strange teeters on the brink of sanity as he obsessively works on inventing a Zeta Beam. The Phantom Stranger must save a seemingly impressionable teen girl from a Manson-esque death cult in 1960s California. Death pays a visit to a down-and-out artist struggling with the demons of his past. 

Is it any good?

Aside from the interactive features, Batman: Death in the Family is standard noir fare for our modern-day Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder. The themes are familiar and should be easily recognized by anyone who hangs out in the DC Universe: the nature of good and evil, the blurred lines between the two, vengeance, redemption, how vigilante justice is no justice at all, fate versus free will, and so on. These are the recurring themes, and the interactive aspects to this movie simply amplify them, but don't really bring anything new to the table. It's enjoyable enough, but feels padded. 

Speaking of padded, this also includes four short animated features from other characters in the DC Universe: Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, The Phantom Stranger, and Death. These explore similar themes as the title story, only with more zombies, aliens, Manson-esque death cults, and tortured artist angst. These are not interactive, and vary in quality in terms of storytelling originality. But if anything connects them all, it's the blurred lines between good and evil that coexist within each of these heroes and antiheroes. After decades of a Batman franchise rebooted to convey just that, to say nothing of all the line-blurring we've witnessed in The Sopranos, The Wire, and Breaking Bad, etc., one can't be faulted for shouting, "OK, I get it!" after yet another exploration of this theme on the streets of Gotham. Still, fans will find lots to take in and talk about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in animated features. Was the violence necessary for the stories, or did it seem gratuitous? 

  • What are some of the common themes connecting each of these short animated features? How do the stories communicate these deeper ideas? 

  • Did you like the interactive nature of the movie? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

Themes & Topics

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