What parents need to know

Editor's Note: For tips on talking to your kids about the tragic shooting that took place in Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, we hope our advice helps you manage this difficult situation.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.
  • 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?
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