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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legends of the Knight is a documentary about some of the men, women, and kids whose lives have been positively affected by both the concept and the persona of Batman. A powerful source of change, both in the comics, movies, books, and media at large, Batman is shown to inspire and motivate a wide assortment of people with challenges of their own. The film, filled with heartening messages and living examples of those messages, includes a variety of ethnicities and economic classes. The common bond is each individual's unique ability to see Batman as more than a comic book hero, identify with his unique outlook and goals, and ultimately insert Batman's essence into the smaller stage of their own lives. The only caution for kids is that some of the stories are about people with physical challenges and illnesses.
What's the story?
Brett Culp, a first-time moviemaker who used Kickstarter as a fund-raising tool, brings more than a dozen inspirational stories to LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT, including: the mother of a small boy with leukemia, a producer with an unquenchable passion to make movies, a law enforcement officer dealing with gangs, an accomplished man missing a leg and three fingers, a college student who walks the streets of his community doing good works as "Petaluma Batman," and a philanthropist who has turned himself into a Batman of unlimited resources. Mr. Culp effectively (and cinematically) studies his subjects as they reveal the ways in which Batman intersects their daily lives and assists with their challenges. Interspersed with the impressive array of personal tales are interviews with authors, educators, and psychologists, all of whom vouch for the effectiveness of Batman and other superheroes as instructional tools, motivators, and role models.
Is it any good?
Well structured, well shot, and well edited, this film provides a substantive way of seeing a passion for Batman as a means of empowerment in a world of powerlessness. Some of the stories are funny, some heartwarming, some awe-inspiring. Some are tales of children (including die-hard kids in adult bodies who refuse to give up their childhood devotion); others are adults whose fond memories constantly remind them of the impact Batman had upon their lives. Particularly touching are Tina and Kye, mother and son dealing with the boy's leukemia; Cary, a chaplain with an easy manner and wonderful way of expressing his kinship with the superhero; and Jill, a woman with muscular dystrophy who has exceeded all expectations for her. The viewer can't help but respond to the spirited Petaluma Batman and the ever-committed Lenny, who is spending his considerable fortune on making a difference in as many lives as he can.
For folks already steeped in the psychological and sociological implications of superheroes, Legends of the Knight may seem to be a thin study, given its desire to cover so much ground. But for the uninitiated, it's an eye-opener -- a terrific documentary, well worth sharing as a family. It should promote thoughtful discussion and may even inspire a few Batman lovers to clean up their worlds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about your awareness of the role of superheroes in today's culture. Did Legends of the Knight change your opinion of Batman as simply a comic book hero? Do you agree or disagree with the premise that Batman may inspire both kids and grown-ups to "be better than you are."
If Batman came to your city or your school, what would you want him to change? How could you be of help to him?
Create (draw and/or write about) a superhero who has meaning for you. Does he or she have superpowers? If so, why those powers? If not, how does he or she change the world?
- In theaters: September 29, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: November 24, 2014
- Director: Brett Culp
- Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Superheroes, Great boy role models
- Character strengths: Compassion, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.