The Dark Knight Rises Movie Poster Image

The Dark Knight Rises

Bale's final Batman is as gritty and dark as the first two.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 164 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy explores many philosophical ideas about identity, responsibility, power, hope, despair, sacrifice, and justice. Revenge is also a key theme of The Dark Knight Rises, which is, at its core, a meditation on the duality of humanity -- for instance in how the memory of Harvey Dent contrasted with the reality of how he died affects all of Gotham. What does it mean to be good? The villain Bane questions whether police officers are instruments of justice or of oppression and whether Batman is a man of honor or a man who betrayed a code of honor.

Positive role models

Unlike almost every other superhero, Bruce Wayne/Batman isn't an alien or a mutant. He doesn't have superhuman strength; he's a rich man with some nifty gadgets and an extraordinary need to protect the citizens of Gotham -- as well as avenge the anger that drives him. Bruce isn't perfect, and he often makes mistakes (especially about whom to trust), but he summons his courage for the good of Gotham, even though it comes at considerable personal cost to him, both physically and emotionally. John Blake is an upstanding, responsible, loyal cop who always tries his best to do the right thing. Selina Kyle starts off as just a ruthless jewel thief, but her interactions with Batman/Bruce help her become less selfish and more helpful. Bruce's two mentors and friends, Alfred and Mr. Fox, are loyal and loving toward him. Bane is cruel and callous.


Like The Dark Knight, this movie has frequent, cringe-inducingly realistic violence on top of the standard, high-octane action violence that's so prevalent in superhero films. Some moments are horrifyingly up close and personal: neck breakings, stabbings, hand-to-hand combat, and there's also the enormous collateral damage of wide scale destruction: bombings, fireballs, massive explosions, building collapses, shootings, and more. Many, many people are trapped, held hostage, killed, tortured, and executed, and Bruce Wayne himself is injured in painful, nearly irreparable ways. Villain Bane is very scary-looking, with his mask and bulked-up aggression. The movie opens with a terrifying plane takeover/crash; weapons include guns, knives, bows and arrows, bombs, fists, and more. A dead teen boy's body is shown washed up outside a sewer grate. Batman and Selina are at odds over Batman's "no guns, no killing" rule.


While the romance isn't as central here as in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne/Batman kisses two different women. In one case, a passionate kiss leads to lovemaking, although the sex is off camera. Afterward, Bruce and his partner are shown (she's bare-shouldered, he's bare-chested) snuggling and kissing in front of a fireplace. In two other scenes, Bruce enjoys brief but passionate kisses with a woman.


Language includes infrequent use of words including "damn," "bitch," "hell," and "sons of bitches," as well as "Jesus" (as an exclamation) and insults such as "idiot," "stupid," and "hag."


Part of a popular comic book franchise. No overt product placements, though some car brands are seen, and Bruce Wayne's black Lamborghini makes another appearance.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink cocktails at Gotham's ritzy dinner parties and costume galas.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Dark Knight Rises is the final installment in director Christopher Nolan's dark, violent Batman trilogy. Like its predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises features ultra-violent scenes of torture and death that are too intense for younger kids used to the nearly comic, stylized action violence of other superhero films. A disturbingly high body count is achieved via massive explosions, kidnappings, neck breakings, shootings, and hand-to-hand combat. While there's not a lot of actual blood, there's tons of death and mass destruction. Bruce Wayne enjoys a few passionate kisses and one love scene that shows bare shoulders; swearing is very infrequent (the strongest words used are "bitch" and "damn"). The film's villain, Bane, is monstrously muscled and frighteningly sadistic, and his mask is very scary looking. Despite the violence, be prepared for kids to beg to see the much-hyped Caped Crusader's latest adventure.

What's the story?

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES picks up eight years after the Joker's rampage on Gotham led to Harvey Dent's (Aaron Eckhart) horrific death and Batman's sacrificial transformation from hero to outlaw. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has remained hidden in seclusion, leaving Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) to handle the affairs of Wayne Industries. The citizens of Gotham live in complacent security until Bane (Tom Hardy), a ruthless mercenary, arrives with a murderous agenda that threatens the very existence of Wayne's beloved city. With the help of a nearly demoralized Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and cunning jewel thief Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), an out-of-shape Bruce resurrects Batman for one more battle against evil.

Is it any good?


With their Batman trilogy, Nolan and Bale have revolutionized superhero films from colorful action adventures that even young kids can appreciate to serious meditations on justice and power. The franchise's loyal fans won't be disappointed with this immensely satisfying conclusion to Nolan's epic trilogy. Injured and relatively out of shape, Batman is physically no match for the huge and menacing Bane. With his Hannibal Lecter-meets-Darth Vader mask and his overpowering physique, Hardy is completely disguised as the amoral assassin, but even rendered unrecognizable, the acclaimed British actor gives a masterful performance in villainy.

Bale's always thoughtfully nuanced portrayal is complemented by the addition of two breakout performances: Gordon-Levitt -- whose character is an ordinary cop with an extraordinary bravery that's pivotal to the story -- and Hathaway, whose Selina Kyle steals the show with her whip-smart humor and crackling chemistry with Batman. The banter between Bale and Hathaway (who seems to be having a ball in full vixen mode) provides much-needed relief from the story's otherwise overpoweringly grim nature. Visually stunning, incredibly acted, and unyieldingly intense, The Dark Knight Rises is one of the rare movies for which the huge budget, super-sized runtime (almost three hours), and undying ardor of fans are well deserved.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the amount of violence in The Dark Knight Rises. How does it compare to what you've seen in other superhero movies? How does the film differentiate between "good" and "bad" uses of violence?

  • What distinguishes Batman from Bane? Both are angry and rely on violence to accomplish their goals; why is one a hero and one a villain? Is the rule of law more important than the rule of force?

  • Bruce Wayne isn't the only orphan in the movie. How does orphanhood shape the three orphaned characters? While anger motivates each of them, why do some choose to do good and others evil?

  • What does it take to maintain order in the face of those who try to create chaos? Does keeping the public safe from harm justifying curtailing their right to privacy?

  • Would you like to see the story continue with a successor? Which of the trilogy is your favorite?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 20, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:December 4, 2012
Cast:Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Tom Hardy
Director:Christopher Nolan
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:164 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language

This review of The Dark Knight Rises was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byscoobyjack8 July 20, 2012

Messed up values

Since when is it rude to show 'bare shoulders'. Americans have mixed up values. No kids, you can't see any part of the human body other than arms and the face, go and watch brutal violence instead. Yes 9-yr-old you can't watch Batman because you'll see Anne Hathaway's shoulders, the violent scenes are GREAT for you though!
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeq073198 July 19, 2012


ME AND MY BROTHER ARE OBSESSED. Period. Like, he has been waiting on this movie for years. Just the grandeur and depth of it I LOVE. It's dark. And so thought provoking. "Some men just want to watch the world burn." That is my favorite quote ever. End of story. Seriously how CAN'T THIS BE YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?!?!?!?! All my friends are like "Omg did you see the new Spiderman?" And all I'm like is "Y'all are idiots." Every other superhero can go live in the woods for all I care (except for Captain America, I'm gonna marry him one day). BATMAN IS THE BEST. HE HAS NO POWERS. YET HE CAN KICK ANYONE'S BUTT. I love Anne Hathaway, I love her for this role. Bane: Omgoodness don't get me started. He is freaking terrifying! The best villain yet! (Nothing against Joker, he's flipping awesome.) Bane is synonymous for misery. Golly, I LOVE wordplay. But seriously, you better start hauling some serious butt and get yourself into a theater NOW!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bydevin200 July 19, 2012

Perfectly Appropriate for Teens- Common Sense Over Plays it Again.

This isn't a romance movie. There's kissing, sure, but nothing out of the ordinary or innapropriate. Common Sense makes it sound like Batman is spending more time in the bedroom than out in the streets, fighting off crime. He's not. It's perfectly appropriate. The main villain isn't at all scary- a lot less scary then Dark Night's Joker. Don't worry, your kids won't wake up with nightmares from the shiny bald head and cheeseball gas mask. Dark Night Rises is a fun action movie. Sure, there is more violence in it than some superhero movies, but almost all teens can handle that. I mean, we've grown up watching violent things. Anyone under 12 or 13 may be a little unsettled by the up-close neck snapping and such. It depends what they can handle. Dark Night Rises is a great movie for all teens and adults. I recommend it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex