Batman: Gotham Knight

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Batman: Gotham Knight Movie Poster Image
Dark, bloody, animated flock of Bat-stories.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 76 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Batman never kills (except in an exaggerated anecdote we see dramatized) and seems to act noble and suitably heroic -- even though one story segment questions Bruce Wayne's motivations and crime-fighting roots in personal vengeance. The animated cast is racially integrated (though mostly male), and one segment concerns Hindu culture and mysticism, in sketchy fashion.

Violence

Blood gushes from Batman's wounds and in a gory hospital sequence. Decapitation and Bat-violence in a fantasy. Much fighting, gunshots, and explosions. One character shot through the head.

Sex

A few bikinis and low-cut dresses briefly seen.

Language

"Ass" uttered once.

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Social drinking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a cartoon anthology, not to be confused with the Batman movie The Dark Knight. It's also unlike the various Batman children's TV cartoons over the years. The approach goes for a more "grown-up" Batman viewership/reader demographic, mainly via bloody PG-13 type violence, and not much humor. No Robin or Batgirl, and Gotham City is depicted as overwhelmed with gangs and bizarre evildoers.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymrs.black09 December 8, 2009

Very Blood, Shoddy Artwork, and Underuse of Great Villians

I have to say, I was severely disappointed. After the fanboy hype about this movie, I was expecting a masterpiece, but only the short about Deadshot was any goo...
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Kid, 11 years old February 20, 2015

VERY BLOODY

what parents need to know is that this is a very bloody movie. Especiily the fifth part of it, working through pain, where flashbacks include a very bloody and...
Teen, 15 years old Written byMitchell Charleston May 13, 2013

Not for kids. It's too violent, I heard the A word once, and I saw some social drinking. This film is pretty good though.

This film has great animation, graphics, action, adventure, special affects, and acting. It's NOT for kids though.

What's the story?

BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT is like an animated-movie equivalent of a comic book (hey, Batman in a comic book -- imagine that), with six separate directors/artist teams (with lots of CGI) handling different segments, as loosely linked storylines covering Batman's adventures in Gotham City. Most telling (and effective) is the opener, in which a bunch of skateboarding kids see Batman's running battle with a bad guy. Each has a different POV of the caped crime-fighter. One beheld him as a mighty robot, another as a supernatural shadow-being, and so on, until the real Batman shows up -- a vulnerable, flesh-and-blood man whose life is saved by one of the kids. Ensuing stories relate Bruce Wayne testing new gadgets, plunging into the freakish world of Arkham Asylum villains to save a kidnapped bishop, and going to India to learn the inner-strength secrets of the fakirs. In the finale he faces a hired sniper targeting Commissioner Gordon.

Is it any good?

The effect is not unlike The Animatrix -- uneven, disjointed, sometimes baffling, with some mesmerizing visuals, and not for all tastes. Batmaniacs have proven very accepting of bold, revisionist takes on their hero, and the cartoon Batman here was obviously meant to be taken seriously. The striking, protean animation is strongly influenced overall by Japanese anime, though it's a bit strange when Bruce Wayne looks like a tousle-haired Tokyo teen, ready for a round of Yu-Gi-OH! cards, more so than combating scoundrels like Scarecrow and Killer Croc (no Joker, no Riddler, no Penguin, not even a Robin or Batgirl to bring this one into more juvenile territory).

The flashback to India is the most emotionally satisfying episode, while the finale tries to tie various strands together. Naturally the shorthand-narrative format limits most of the material to action and terse dialog, only paying lip-service to, say, Batman's attitude toward guns (his parents were shot to death) instead of going into depth. The appeal is for those with a strong background in Batman-ology, rather than newcomers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the unconventional style and approach. What do kids think of this more "mature" Batman, in both late 20th-century comics and movies, vs. the earlier, more lighthearted Bat-antics, most infamously represented on 1960s TV. Is an animated Batman more effective than an actor in a live-action epic? Do you like Batman a psychologically tortured character or a straight-up high-tech crimebuster? You can discuss Batman as the dark counterpart to Superman and what makes him special among superheroes.

Movie details

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