Parents' Guide to

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Extremely violent animated addition to the Batman story.

Movie PG-13 2012 76 minutes
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 15+

A great movie, just don't show it to kids

Being that this is an animated Batman movie, you'd think it was better for kids than the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Well think again. This one is much less appropriate for them. Personally, I would've thought the same way around the time it was released (I was 12 years old). However, this one has much more of the dark elements you could find in the aforementioned trilogy. For one, it's much more violent, Batman is much less merciful than he was in other adaptations (he still doesn't kill anyone, but that's beside the point), the villains are much darker and more violent, and Gotham as a city is much more like a less live able version of Detroit, with all the violence and city problems included. In other words, it's not only more violent and much darker than The Dark Knight, but it is so in half the time. Batman himself isn't necessarily a (pun intended) knight in shining armor, he's a very morally ambiguous character in this rendition who seems to enjoy the fights he gets in, rather than being content with doing so to deliver justice. That being said, it's not an entirely joyless story, and it's a great film nonetheless. Just be sure you know what you're showing your kids, because this one is not the ideal family movie.
age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (15 ):

As an adaptation of Frank Miller's 1986 graphic novel, this is an excellent exploration of the ambiguities of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Iatman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 also examines the battles between good and evil that are fought not just in the good guy/bad guy sense of standard comic book fare, but within each individual. In some ways, with the steady media debate raging as a counterpoint to Batman's crime fighting, this could be seen as a satire of contemporary urban life.

The only quibble with this is that the contemporary urban life being satired feels like it's stuck in 1986, where the '80s action movie mentality reigns -- where tough guy Dirty Harry-types shoot first and ask questions later, rule of law and due process be damned. Nonetheless, the complexities of the characters themselves transcends some of these more dated elements, making this an enjoyable, if extremely violent, experience.

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