Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts Movie Poster Image
Fierce animal robots threaten Gotham; peril, violence.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

Good triumphs. With intelligence, courage, loyalty, and upright friends, evil will be defeated.

Positive role models & representations

An array of superheroes remains steadfast, loyal, brave, resourceful, and effective. They stand up for their city and its people at all times. Villains are greedy and mean-spirited.

Violence

A series of near nonstop, action-packed cartoon battles pit good guys against bad guys. Exaggerated violence includes: shooting with blasters and arrows; characters wielding pipes and throwing heavy objects; vehicles crashing, buildings falling; objects exploding and being electrified; hand-to-hand combat. Scary, seemingly indestructible robotic animals create havoc (large cats with glowing eyes, ferocious fangs; attacking bats; an overpowering gorilla). Gotham and the entire planet are threatened by a giant asteroid. 

Sex

Villainous Cheetah, a curvaceous adversary, sometimes behaves in a seductive manner.

Language

"Butt."

Consumerism

Another in the DC Comics franchise of products, toys, films, TV shows, games, helping sell all things Batman, Penguin, Green Arrow, Flash, and the like.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts is animated superhero business as usual. This movie is true to the "good vs. evil" comic-book tone and intent of Batman stories and has none of the dark elements and complex psychology of the most recent Dark Knight film series. Packaged with a toy, the DVD finds Batman leading his extraordinary, superpowered team (Robin, Night Wing, Green Arrow, and Flash) against a revitalized Penguin, who is in his usual "destroy Gotham" mode. Lasers, explosions, captures, hand-to-hand combat, chases, crashes, with assaults on businesses and the citizens of the metropolis, spread fear and chaos. A few of the bad-guy regulars are present for the action-packed shenanigans -- Killer Croc, Cheetah -- and they're joined by a band of ferocious robotic animals that give Batman and his allies strong adversaries to defeat. There's just enough time between action scenes to catch viewers up on the story and to provide some clever banter and characterizations. Enjoyable for kids comfortable with lots of noisy cartoon jeopardy.

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What's the story?

Two major events are expected in Gotham in BATMAN UNLIMITED: ANIMAL INSTINCTS. First, Midas, a powerful asteroid, is going to pass over the city. Second, the tallest building in the city, Aviary, is set to open, built by Oswald Cobblepot, a mysterious mega-billionaire (who looks eerily like the Penguin). So when a bizarre series of crimes takes place, all set in motion by a strange alliance of ferocious robotic animals and bad-to-the-bone old enemies, Batman starts to suspect that an evil plan is in place and that both Midas and Aviary are involved. It isn't long before he, along with Robin, the Green Arrow, Flash, and Night Wing, are caught up in a dizzying series of battles with the villainous invaders. Their only hope of stopping the invincible enemies is to rescue Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a missing scientist who may have the answers they need. It's a race against time as Batman and company unearth the devilish plot, realize that the survival of the city is at stake, and set out to stop evil from winning.

Is it any good?

All is as advertised: Batman meets another challenge head-on. Armed with his trusty band of superhero warriors, the Batman will prevail against evil and destructive forces. In between what may be a dozen loud, busy battle sequences, there's time for some funny moments, some character-revealing encounters, and even some relationship-building among the members of the alliance. Fun for fans, with enough cleverness to make it palatable for the grown-ups who are willing to watch with them. Definitely not suited for kids who haven't yet differentiated real from cartoon violence. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how kids distinguish between real and cartoon violence. What are some of the specific ways comic-book movies let the audience know they're not to be taken seriously?

  • Why do you think Batman is such a beloved character? How is he different from most other superheroes? How does he make up for the fact that he has no real superpowers?

  • Make a list of all the things you can buy, read, or see about Batman and his friends. How do the products and stories work together to make the franchise a marketing powerhouse?

Movie details

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