Batman: Year One

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Batman: Year One Movie Poster Image
Animated superhero drama is too intense for young fans.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 64 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Strong positive messages about justice and taking a stand against corruption and crime. Also some muddier messages about loyalty to your family and the best way to solve problems (Batman mostly uses violence).

Positive Role Models & Representations

When Jim Gordon takes a job with the Gotham City police department, it's riddled with corruption, and he's expected to comply. But he makes ethical choices and puts himself, his family, and his reputation at risk to stand up for what's right. But he also has an affair with a female colleague (and later ends the affair and confesses to his pregnant wife). Batman uses violence to solve problems.


Strong fantasy violence, including many life-altering moments (such as the one in which young Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered in front of him, prompting him to become a crime fighter). A newborn infant is kidnapped and put in mortal danger during a chase and fight. Frequent fist-fighting (with men, women, and teens) and shooting, with blood. Minor characters are killed. Cars explode, and there's a fire with a brief view of a burning victim.


More sexual content than the usual animated superhero movie. Some scenes take place in the "red-light district." It's hinted that one major character is a prostitute. A main character with a pregnant wife has an affair with another woman; kissing is shown, but sex is only suggested. Another main character lounges around in a not-quite-tied-down bathrobe, and a woman nibbles at his ear. Men make catcalls at a pretty women. In the short film that accompanies the feature, there's a long scene set in a strip club, with lots of suggested nudity.


Occasional language, including "hell," "bitch," "crap," "bastard," and "goddamn."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Signs for liquor stores in the red-light district.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman: Year One is a feature-length animated action movie based on Frank Miller's popular comic books. It's fairly violent and includes a shocking sequence in which a newborn infant is kidnapped and placed in danger. There's also the expected fighting and shooting (with some blood shown). The movie also includes some sexual content, with images of a red-light district and prostitutes, suggestions of an extramarital affair, and (in the accompanying short film) images of a strip club. The occasional strong language goes as far as "bitch" and "bastard."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byTopshaggerislife April 9, 2019
The main movie contains some violence with some blood but not R levels of blood sexual content is mild and fuck is said so for that I’d say 12+ but due to the b... Continue reading
Adult Written byNathan R. April 20, 2017
Teen, 13 years old Written byOfer December 31, 2020
Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2017
This movies has a lot of violence people are beat, killed, and tortured. A person holds kids hostages and puts a gun to a girls head. Detective Flass is naked w... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BATMAN: YEAR ONE, young Lt. Gordon -- the future Commissioner Gordon (voiced by Bryan Cranston) -- arrives in Gotham City to start his new job at the ultra-corrupt Gotham Police Department. At the same time, young billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) is trying to figure out how to start his career as a crime fighter and finds inspiration when a bat flies through his window. The police see Batman as a vigilante and start working to either catch or kill him, but Gordon sees him as something else. Can Gordon stop the corrupt cops before Batman's career is permanently cut short? And what's the story behind another costumed fighter who turns up, called Catwoman (Eliza Dushku)?

Is it any good?

The directors of All-Star Superman and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights return for this dark, noir-ish take on the first chapter of Batman and Commissioner Gordon's careers. Batman: Year One looks great, with a moody use of shadows and darkness and dreary, lowdown locations. But the main problem is that, at only 64 minutes, it's too short; Gordon's story feels fully fleshed-out, but Batman's story is surprisingly truncated.

It helps that actor Cranston (from both Drive and TV's Breaking Bad) does a terrific job with Gordon's conflicted voice. But McKenzie (from The O.C. and Southland) seems too young and complacent for Batman; he sounds more like a frat boy than a tormented loner. Moreover, for a movie this short, too many supporting parts are fighting for space; it takes place over the course of a year, so the story feels bigger than it really is. But if we allow that Gordon is actually the main character, then his journey is a fascinating one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Batman: Year One's violence. When does it cross the line from thrilling to shocking? What's the difference?

  • How does this version of Batman's story compare with others you've seen or read?

  • Is Batman a vigilante? Should he be arrested, or should he be allowed to help the police? What's the difference between law and justice?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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Themes & Topics

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