The Lego Batman Movie opens with the Joker (voice of Zach Galifianakis) hijacking a cargo plane full of explosives flying over Gotham City. The Joker plans to use the explosives to blackmail Gotham into submission. Along for the ride is an army of Gotham City’s most dangerous villains including Scarecrow, the Riddler, the Penguin, Bane, Two-Face, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy, Clayface and Mr Freeze. Naturally Batman (voice of Will Arnett) foils the Joker’s plans and saves Gotham.
But the Joker is not Batman’s worst fear. His worst fear involves forming relationships with others – he’s afraid of getting close to others and then losing them. To help Batman overcome his fears, Alfred Pennyworth (voice of Ralph Fiennes) coerces Batman into adopting a teenage orphan named Dick Grayson/Robin (voice of Michael Cera), who becomes Batman’s sidekick.
Batman banishes the Joker to the Phantom Zone, a prison for the universe’s worst super villains. But with the help of Harley Quinn (voice of Jenny Slate), the Joker and other villains escape.
To defeat the super villains, Batman must learn to work as part of a team and, fortunately, there are others willing to help him.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Superheroes and villains; relationships; diversity
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
The Lego Batman Movie involves Lego figures, which means that characters and property are rebuilt after they’re damaged or destroyed. But the movie has some intense battle scenes, as well as dark and sinister moments with threats of violence to favourite characters. These scenes might upset younger viewers, who see the characters as real. For example:
- A cargo plane full of explosives flying over Gotham City is seized by villains who cut it open with blow torches. They tie up and then throw the pilot out the back of the plane.
- Supervillains run wild and cause mayhem in the streets of Gotham. There are explosions and mass destruction. Laser guns fire beams at buildings and missiles destroy buildings, which explode and crash to the ground in clouds of flame, smoke and dust. People scream and run in all directions. Batman punches and kicks villains, including the Joker, and sends them flying through the air.
- There are several similarly violent scenes, featuring fighting, loud noises, explosions, mass destruction and panic.
- The Joker tells the citizens of Gotham to hand over the Mayor in five minutes. If they don’t, he threatens to detonate a bomb and destroy the city.
- In one scene that’s designed to be funny, Batman accidentally kicks his elderly butler, Alfred, in the chest and sends him flying.
- Harley Quinn attacks several guards, using a large sledgehammer to knock one guard down. She uses stylised punches and kicks to knock out the other guards.
- In one scene gremlins attack the Bat-plane, tearing holes in it, and one of the engines explodes. Batman gets on the outside of the plane and tries to fix the engine while fighting off gremlins, with Robin and Alfred helping. Lightning strikes the plane, knocking both Robin and Alfred off.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The Lego Batman Movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There are several scary characters. The Joker has a shock of green hair on his head, exaggerated red lips, large shark-like teeth and a manic personality. Scarecrow has inked on stitches over his mouth and breaths a green gas into the faces of his victims. One creature represents a crocodile man and there is a blob-like creature called Clayface. Other scary characters include Sauron, Lord Voldemort, King Kong, the Kraken, the Wicked Witch of the West, Daleks, Jaws and gremlins
- In one scene lava spews out of Sauron’s eye and engulfs a black cat. The cat turns white.
Children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Some younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
The Lego Batman Movie has some sexual references. For example:
- Batman is very proud of his body. He talks about his ‘huge’ pecs and his ‘nine-pack’, describing himself as having an ‘extra pack’.
- Batman sings a rap song about his big muscles and a woman shouts, ‘Kiss me, Batman!’.
- Asked if Robin is his son, Batman says, ‘I’m not in a relationship or anything, but I could have a son if I met the right lady’.
- Batman says that he gave up a life socialising with Russian ballet dancers and lady active-wear models.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in The Lego Batman Movie. For example, characters drink socially using Lego bottles and glasses, of course.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Lego Batman Movie has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Batman and Barbara Gordon flirt mildly.
- Robin rips off his pants to reveal brief underwear.
The Lego Batman Movie is really a feature-length advertisement for Lego. The movie’s characters, buildings and vehicles are all made of Lego. The movie also has references to iPhones and Google.
The Lego Batman Movie has some coarse language, toilet humour and insults.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Lego Batman Movie is an animated action comedy that’s likely to appeal to Lego fans of all ages, as well as people who enjoyed first Lego movie. It is, however, darker and scarier than the first Lego movie, so it isn’t recommended for children under 8 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-11 years.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- If you want to make the world a better place, start by changing yourself.
- Losing people close to you is a part of life and shouldn’t stop you forming relationships.
- Working as a team achieves greater results than working as an individual.