Batman Returns

  • Review Date: August 3, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A darkly violent take on the comic-book hero.
  • Review Date: August 3, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Batman doesn't just catch but kills his opponents.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sequel to the 1989 original film is darker and more kill-happy than the previous installment. 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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Catwoman character. 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 16, 1992
DVD release date:October 22, 1997
Cast:Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director:Tim Burton
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes
Run time:126 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:brooding, dark violence.

This review of Batman Returns was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old July 29, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

not bad

really good
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

NOT FOR KIDS

I did not like this movie. While it is well-made and has a fascinating villian, Catwoman, it feels like it just stepped out of a Halloween costume catalog. The movie is so dark and wierd that it comes across as fake. Plus, the movie feels so hopeless and is so full of despair that all the fun has been sucked out of the Batman franchise. Penguin was gross and despicable, I just wanted him to die. Catwoman was interesting but the movie wasn't really about her. I have to give it credit for being well made, but Batman Returns was overly dark, overly stylish, and no fun whatsoever.
Parent of a 14 and 14 year old Written byxmasterxofxmyxd... November 10, 2008
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

immensely enjoyed this batman movie

acting- 4/5 art direction- 4/5 cinematography- 4/5 great villains great heroes great movie danny devito and michelle pfeiffer are excellent in their roles and give some of the best performances theyve ever given

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