Batman Returns

Movie review by
Ed Grant, Common Sense Media
Batman Returns Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
A darkly violent take on the comic-book hero.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 126 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 68 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Batman is brave and tries to do the right thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Batman doesn't just catch but kills his opponents.


Lots of gunfire and carnage. Selena is pushed out a window to her death (but is reborn shortly after hitting the pavement). The Penguin shoots a henchmen at close range. Batman sets an opponent on fire. The Penguin nearly bites off a publicist's nose.


Batman and Catwoman have two knockdown fights, one of which ends with Catwoman straddling the Caped Crusader; the scene is played as if the two were engaging in foreplay. Later, Selena makes a joke about the "semi-hard" nature of their apologies to each other.


Mild obscenity and various double entendres. Most blatantly, the Penguin uses the word "pussy" to refer to Catwoman.


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman Returns is darker and more kill-happy than the previous installment, the 1989 original film. Crooks wearing giant skull-head masks run amok at a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. Selena suffers a breakdown, during which she destroys her apartment. The Penguin threatens Schreck by producing his ex-partner's severed hand. Schreck is electrocuted, leaving a charred, pop-eyed corpse. And the movie deals with mature themes, such as death, abandonment of a child, and corruption in big business.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywg2020 May 9, 2020

like how the early Batman movies are more comic book like

My son is under 10 and loves scary and action packed movies. He liked that it had two villains and one hero. The penguin bites someone's mouth, which wa... Continue reading
Parent of a 10, 12, and 16-year-old Written byHendo H. U January 2, 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byccrowley24 April 28, 2020

Batman as he should be.

This is Batman in his prime. A dark avenger who is willing to do anything to protect his city. One of the best movies ever made and you can't say you are a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 12, 2019

Too dark for younger kids

This movie is the darker sequel to Batman (1989). It is very violent, and also includes implied sex, and lots of sexual dialogue.

What's the story?

In BATMAN RETURNS, it's time for Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) to change into his Batman suit when evil villain The Penguin teams up with diabolical businessman Max Schreck (Christopher Walken). The Penguin sets his sights on becoming mayor and turn Gotham City into a metropolis of crime. Meanwhile, Schreck's beleaguered assistant Selena (Michelle Pfeiffer) transforms into an outlaw Catwoman, who dresses like a male fantasy but is as agile and clever as Batman and the Penguin. Catwoman joins Schreck and The Penguin in their mission to destroy Batman, but they'd better look out because this villainess is as secretive and sneaky as a cat.

Is it any good?

The villains are, once again, more interesting than the hero in this colorful, less brooding sequel to the 1989 hit. This time, director Tim Burton lets his imagination run wild with strikingly whimsical, sometimes quite gruesome images, and the indelibly enticing Selena Kyle, a/k/a Catwoman. Batman Returns has a strong sexual undertone and a large number of fatalities (Batman even kills some of his opponents).

Danny DeVito's over-the-top performance as The Penguin is a nice contrast to Keaton's low-key, wisecracking Bruce Wayne. Though not as catatonic as he was in the first movie, Keaton still proves to be miscast here. The movie's central attraction for both adults and kids is Pfeiffer's Catwoman, who is at once slinky, sensual, and feminist.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Catwoman character in Batman Returns. Is she a positive role model for women -- or a familiar stereotype?

  • Can you think of a female superhero who doesn't wear a slinky costume? How does Catwoman gain power outside her normal life?

  • How does this depiction of Batman compare to other versions?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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