Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 14+
Excellent sequel much darker, more violent than the first.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this sequel to Batman Begins is an excellent movie, it's also much darker and more violent than the first one. Remember: Not all Batmen are created equal. Even though this movie is about a comic-book character, neither it nor its flawed hero and villain are aimed at younger kids or appropriate for them. The film is loaded with intense action, from bombs and bullets to martial-arts fighting and hand-to-hand combat. In addition to the hard-hitting action, expect some drinking and a bit of sexuality. And The Joker's nightmarish appearance has the potential to frighten viewers of all ages. Much of the movie's buzz surrounds actor Heath Ledger's excellent work in that villainous role -- his final completed part before his January 2008 death from an accidental drug overdose.
- Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does the film differentiate between "good" and "bad" uses of violence?
- What distinguishes Batman from The Joker? Both are angry and dark; why is one a hero and one a villain? Is the rule of law more important than the rule of force?
- 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?
- Talk about the media coverage around Ledger's role in the film. How does a tragedy like his death affect a film's marketing and publicity?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Extensive discussion of the rule of law versus the rule of force; police and political characters who work within the system are contrasted with the vigilante Batman. Political and police corruption are featured prominently in the plot. The thematic idea of order versus chaos also figures prominently in the film.
Positive role models: Batman is ostensibly the champion of justice, but his methods can get pretty iffy, and many characters wonder just how different he is from the "villains" he tracks down. The Joker is pure anarchy -- he embraces chaos for chaos' sake and doesn't flinch at hurting the innocent to accomplish his goals.
What to watch for
Violence: Extensive, intense violence, including (but not limited to) shootings, stabbings, fistfights, explosions, rocket attacks, grenades, and more. A thug is slammed face-first onto a pencil that's stuck in a table; an underling has an explosive device sewn into his body and then detonated; a hallucinogenic "fear drug" is used as a weapon; dogs are unleashed on victims; a man is set ablaze; cars crash; characters are bound in rooms full of explosives; live grenades are placed in the hands and mouths of hostages; two boats full of passengers are threatened with bombs on-board; suicide bombs are used as threats; knives and guns are brandished. Several characters have extensive facial scarring, either from knives or fire.
Sexy stuff: Some kissing; someone walks in on a couple (standing up and fully dressed), and it's clear they've been fooling around; bikini-clad women are shown.
Language: Words used include "ass," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "balls," "son of a bitch," and "oh my God."
Consumerism: Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Minimal; the Lamborghini brand is mentioned, and Budweiser products are visible.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Cocktail party scenes show adults drinking champagne, liquor, and beer, mostly in the background. Some scenes take place in bars.