Wondering if The Batman is ok for kids? The newest Batman film starring Robert Pattinson is quite dark and not kid friendly for younger ages. With a PG-13 rating that includes A LOT of language, violence, and depressing content, here’s what parents need to know about The Batman.
The Batman (2022) Parents Guide
Batman (Robert Pattinson) ventures into Gotham City’s underworld when a sadistic killer known as The Riddler, leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues in the form of riddles. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the corruption trail becomes even more personal, Batman wonders if the city can be saved or whether he’s making any difference. He must forge new relationships if he wants to overcome some of his own demons and unmask the culprit before he unmasks Batman.
Why is The Batman Rated PG-13?
The Batman is rated PG-13 for drug content, strong disturbing content, strong language, and strong violent content which means it may contain material not suitable for kids. Parents need to know that The Batman contains a lot of language and sadistic behavior including murder, corruption, and drug use.
There is a lot of profanity in The Batman including at least 16 uses of sh*t, 4 uses of bit*h or son of a bit*h, 7 uses of a**/a**hole, 10 uses of g-ddamn, one use of f*cking, and a use of bastard and douchebag. There is also quite a bit of uses of words of Deity like Jesus, Jesus Christ, and g-d.
Violence and disturbing content is heavy as there’s a psychopath on the loose, so murders can be gruesome, but not a lot of blood is shown. A character’s finger is cut off, murdered victims are shown with tape wrapped over their faces and messages written on bodies. There are also a lot of shootings, fighting, uses of swords, close ups of bodies, etc. Also disturbing messages from The Riddler looking like a terrorist are streamed.
The overall tone is dark and film noir. Supposed good guys are corrupt, Batman is broody and angry and looking for revenge, as are other characters. The body count is not as high as other movies like Avengers: Infinity War, but the subject material is heavy, like death of parents, abandonment, and loneliness, which may be too much for sensitive children.
There are a couple of kisses and some sexual tension between two characters. Several scenes take place in a club where women are scantily clad and treated poorly. You see one female character in her underwear as she gets dressed.
Characters drink alcohol and use drugs.
Is The Batman Appropriate for Kids Under 13?
At a running time of almost 3 hours, many kids won’t be able to hang for The Batman. I often found myself checking my watch waiting for something to happen. With the subject material and lack of noticeable character costuming, many kids will be bored.
Not to say there’s nothing redeeming about The Batman. Matt Reeves tried to make something different from a typical superhero movie, and I appreciate the effort of a detective noir. I was missing some humor or levity to lighten the mood. There is some dry humor that I chuckled at (thanks, Penguin), but I found myself laughing more at Batman’s cumbersome cape that often looked like it was tripping him. And for a detective film, it didn’t seem like Batman was doing much detecting. It was a lot of dialogue of characters telling us their life stories.
I get it. Superhero fatigue. Marvel just keeps pumping out movies and TV shows, and some were not good. But this movie wasn’t fun at all, and when I go to the movies, I at least want to have a little fun. Was that an unrealistic expectation to have going into a film that marketed itself as something else? Yes.
But then give me a good dark movie if you want to take it there. If you truly want to achieve that grittiness, then this movie would have been rated R, but filmmakers were trying to grab some if that pre-teen/teen crowd. The whole thing was melodramatic, but for all the darkness (literally and figuratively), I wanted more originality. The riddles were hokey, and it felt like just another corrupt city story, a reflection, perhaps, of today’s jaded society. Crooked politicians, been there, done that. And the rain. I’m sure the rain was an indication of just how far deep Gotham was in trouble, but I couldn’t handle 3 hours of gloomy. However, it did fit the concept and purpose, which on first watch, I didn’t recognize.
The performances were raw and emotional, and Zoe Kravitz was a standout. She was vulnerable while still being tough, though her story arc was confusing at times. Robert Pattinson understood the assignment and was the Batman this movie was made for. Bruce Wayne is a recluse in his mansion and still processing the grief of the death of his parents. Colin Farrell as the Penguin was almost unrecognizable, and on second watch of the film, made me appreciate him more. Still slimy, still crooked, but I was almost rooting for him.
The one character weakness for me was The Riddler. I was buying it until the end scenes, and then it was too much, as if yelling equaled unhinged. And while the audience definitely will see unhinged, the performance felt very forced, especially in one of the final scenes. I can see DC fans really liking The Batman, but after coming off of Spider-Man: No Way Home, there’s just no comparison.
Is The Batman kid friendly? No. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 13. DC has a reputation for being darker in general, but films like Wonder Woman have a more superhero vibe. The Batman does not, so if you’re looking for that, this one’s not for you. You’re gonna get a very broody Batman that never smiles, except maybe once. The whole tone was like watching a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds.
And that may be what you want. But after many broody Batmen with low voices, I wanted something really different, something unexpected. Matt Reeves said the tone was going to be intense with true horror elements injected, and yes, he accomplished the intensity. But the true horror elements? For children, very scary, for adults, like I said, very criminal minds. At times I wondered if it was a satire, because the characteristics of the primary villain were excessive and contrived.
Batman fans will enjoy the beloved Batmobile; yes, that car is hot. The car chase is ridiculous, but hey, people like what they like.
At the very least I wanted to be engaged or to care about what happens to the protagonists. But The Batman didn’t make me feel anything but depressed. Reeves may be showing us that we are Gotham, a country eating itself alive. If you’re not ready for that, then I’d watch something else.
After watching The Batman a second time, there were elements I missed. The runtime is still too long, and although it didn’t turn me into a fan, I can respect those who are. Not your typical superhero film, The Batman is dark in all aspects. Kudos to Reeves for a different stylization and noir, but the story lacks in originality. Still not kid friendly.