In an effort to continue his murdered parents’ legacy, Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) hides in the shadows of Gotham. In the guise of Batman, he protects the innocent and tries to curb the steadily increasing crime and corruption plaguing the entire city.
On Halloween night, Gotham’s mayor (Rupert Penry-Jones) is brutally murdered and a message for ‘the Batman’ is left with the body. Risking his reputation with other officers, Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) invites Batman to the scene to get his perspective and show him the message. It turns out to be little more than a cipher that leads to another clue and ultimately another murder by ‘the Riddler’. This serial killer wants to expose Gotham society and starts attacking powerful and corrupt people, invoking fear and horror wherever he strikes.
Batman tries to trace a girl pictured with the murdered mayor. She disappears before he can find her, apparently abducted. Her distraught friend, Selina (Zoe Kravitz), is also determined to track her down. Selina helps Batman infiltrate an infamous mobster nightclub but, in the process, they both learn more than they bargained for.
Meanwhile, the Riddler (Paul Dano) starts killing indiscriminately across the city. Batman is horrified that the Riddler has used him as inspiration and disturbed by information he has discovered about his family. He goes to heroic lengths to prove his worth not only to a city that mistrusts and reviles him but also to himself and the little boy he once was – a little boy who was powerless to save his parents.
Crime; corruption; serial killing; death of a parent or parents; drug abuse; murder; violence to resolve conflict; the dangerous power of social media
The Batman has frequent violence. For example:
- The Riddler attacks the mayor from behind, repeatedly hitting him in the head with a carpet tool. The bloodied object flies across the room and lands on the floor. The Riddler then sits on the mayor and begins to wrap his head in duct tape.
- Some men attack a random jogger.
- A car hits a man in a costume.
- Batman beats a gang member until he appears unconscious. He then takes on the rest of the gang as they simultaneously attack him. There’s hitting, punching, kicking, shooting, electrocuting and so on.
- Batman and Lieutenant Gordon find some bloody shears stabbed into the mayor’s car tyre. Inside the car they find his severed thumb attached to a USB.
- A photo shows a battered and bruised woman.
- Batman punches some bouncers to get into a club and then must fight his way through. He’s shot at before removing the guns from their owners and being allowed to see the boss. He smashes the boss into the back of a wall.
- The Riddler posts a video of his latest victim being eaten alive by rats. Investigators later learn the victim was also injected with rat poison.
- When a bomb is strapped to the district attorney’s neck during a funeral, he must solve riddles to be given a chance to live. Batman tries to help and is blown backwards, his chest on fire, as the bomb explodes.
- Batman punches Lieutenant Gordon in the face to escape from an interrogation. With the Lieutenant’s help, Batman gets out of the police station while police shoot at and pursue him.
- Batman jumps off a roof while wearing his suit and trying to fly. He hits a bridge and a bus before finally crashing to the ground where he limps away.
- Selina finds her friend’s body in the back of a policeman’s car.
- During a shootout, it looks like Batman has been hit. This is followed by a frantic car chase full of shooting, near misses and car crashes. It ends when one car smashes into a tanker, causing it to explode. The Batmobile flies through the flames and hits another car, which flips repeatedly before skidding to a stop.
- Batman’s oldest friend and father figure opens a package meant for him and is nearly blown to pieces.
- Selina tells Batman how her mother was murdered when Selina was 7.
- Batman learns that his grandmother killed his grandfather and then committed suicide. He also learns that his father inadvertently had a man killed.
- Selina finds the police officer who had her friend’s body in his car and plays the recording her friend left her. Instead of a message they listen to her friend’s final moments and subsequent execution.
- Selina pushes a police officer off the roof while he’s still tied to a chair. Batman and Lieutenant Gordon manage to save him.
- Selina goes after the mobster that killed her friend. There’s a fight after she tries to shoot him and she must take on both the mobster as well as his body guard. As her throat is being crushed by a pool cue, Selina learns that the mobster she tried to kill also killed her mother. Batman swoops in at the last moment to save her.
- Explosions along the sea wall cause a massive flood to surge through Gotham, drowning some people, sweeping many away and forcing others to flee.
- The new mayor is shot on the eve of her election.
- The Riddler organises a masked militia to fire on civilians who support the election of the new mayor. Numerous people are shot. Batman is shot in the chest. While Batman dangles by his fingertips over the edge of a building, a masked man prepares to shoot him in the head. Selina saves Batman at the last second.
- As an attacker turns on Selina, Batman injects himself with what appears to be adrenaline. He gets up and begins punching the masked man in the head as hard and as fast as he can.
The Batman has some sexual references. For example, Batman asks Selina about her relationships with other men. He insinuates that she has slept with them for money.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Batman shows some use of substances. For example:
- There are numerous references to a drug syndicate and to ‘drop heads’ or drug addicts. Many high-profile people take drugs, and some are affected by drugs.
- Minor characters drink alcohol.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Batman has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Batman watches through a window while Selina changes. She strips down to a crop top and underpants before putting clothes on.
- Women in a club wear revealing outfits while they dance and serve customers.
- Batman and Selina kiss several times.
There’s no product placement in The Batman.
The Batman has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Batman is an action adventure based on the familiar comic strip superhero. The movie is long and dark, but the characters are well-developed and the plot has numerous twist and turns.
Because of its themes, language and violence, The Batman isn’t a family movie. It’s best suited to older teenage and adult audiences.
The main message from The Batman is that revenge won’t change the past, but if you can survive past trauma, you can be transformed. Survival means finding within yourself the power to endure and the strength to carry on.
Values in The Batman that you could reinforce with your children include resilience, courage, hope, truthfulness and integrity.
The Batman could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of:
- using violence to resolve conflict
- believing everything you see or hear on social media
- using social media to commit crimes or encourage violence
- focusing on revenge instead of understanding or forgiveness
- allowing yourself to be corrupted.