Australian Council on Children and the Media

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

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Not recommended under 8, parental guidance 8-10 due to violent and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
  • a review of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 October 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 8 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence
Length 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is an animated superhero film based on the 1960s Batman TV series. The movie follows crime-fighters Batman and Robin as they battle against a group of nefarious villains in an effort to protect Gotham city. The Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman make their presence known on live television one day, and the Police Commissioner requests that Batman and Robin bring them to justice.

The film follows the heroes and villains as they play cat-and-mouse, leave clues and follow each other’s trails. In the midst of the chaos, Catwoman attempts to poison Batman with a potion that will bring out an evil nature within him. Although it initially does not appear to have any effect, Batman gradually begins to seek out power, control and supremacy over Gotham, appointing replicas of himself to every significant public position. Robin eventually teams up with Catwoman in an attempt to bring Batman back from the dark side, so that they can take on the other supervillains and stop them before it’s too late.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Crime and justice; morality; good versus evil; romance and friendship

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is fairly frequent animated violence within the film, including:

  • During the opening credit sequence, there are scenes of Batman and Robin punching other unnamed characters in the face – no injuries are shown, and the points of physical contact are often covered by the names/titles.
  • A group of hostages are tied up when the four supervillains take over a TV show. The villains run away and release what appears to be a bomb, but after several moments of fearful suspense from the hostages, only a small scroll of paper comes out of the explosive.
  • One of the supervillains threatens to hurt a scientist in the laboratory by saying ‘What is black and blue and red all over? You, if you don’t…’
  • Batman, Robin and the villains have a stand-off in the lab – they punch, kick, strangle, and otherwise attempt to physically overpower each other. Noises are heard with each contact, and words appear on the screen such as ‘Bash’, ‘whomp’, ‘smok’, ‘kram’, ‘ker-pow’.
  • During a car chase where the villains and Batman and Robin are racing through the streets, the villains shoot small bombs and lasers out the back of their car. These explode on the ground near Batman’s vehicle.
  • The villains leave Batman and Robin tied up on a conveyer belt heading towards a large fire. The two men manage to escape their imminent death.
  • The villains attempt to kill Catwoman by sending her out the air vent on their space ship. They believe they have killed her, but Batman was nearby and secretly saved her.
  • Batman throws a small blade through the air during one fight sequence. Although it initially seems that he is directing it towards the villains, the blade hits a different target in the distance.
  • Batman and Robin fight while Batman is under the influence of a mind-controlling substance. They fight using their gadgets - bombs, shields, cuffs, etc.
  • Batman ties up Catwoman and Robin, and hangs them over the top of a large pit in the ground (which he calls a ‘death trap’), and slowly lowers them in. They are able to escape before they drop to their death.
  • Catwoman jumps off the edge of a flying blimp, presumably to her death, saying that she would never want to go back to prison.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to find the scenes above and some of the characters scary

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also find some scenes and characters scary

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern for this age group

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film but plenty of superhero merchandise marketed to young children

Sexual references

There are mild sexual references within the film, including:

  • There is continual innuendo and flirtation between Batman and Catwoman. Batman says at one point that if Catwoman were to turn herself in, he would ‘handle her personally’. Catwoman also tells Batman that it is ‘impolite to rub (his) masculine superiority on a woman’.
  • Robin asks Catwoman to inhale a substance that will put her to sleep as they drive to the Bat Cave, in order to keep its location a secret. She agrees, saying ‘Ok, but I expect you to keep your hands to yourself’.

Nudity and sexual activity

Batman and Catwoman kiss

Use of substances

There are mild references to substances, including:

  • Robin attends a bar named ‘Purrr’ and asks the bartender for an unknown drink ‘on the rocks’. Unlabelled bottles are seen behind the bar.

Coarse language

There is very mild coarse language, including:

  • Religious exclamations, like ‘holy trench warfare’ – Robin uses such exclamations when he is shocked, panicked or surprised.
  • Many of the characters use insults towards others: ‘pretentious poser’, ‘diabolical devils’, ‘silly old woman’.

In a nutshell

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a return to the comic version of Batman seen in the 1960s and a contrast to the very dark superhero movies of more recent times.  The film explores the nature of good and evil, and highlights the importance of democracy, law, and following the rules that keep society functioning. The story emphasises the importance of taking ‘bold risks’ for the greater good of society and the strength of friendship in overcoming challenging obstacles.

Although not as dark and scary as recent versions of the Batman story, this film still has violent and scary scenes which could disturb young children, so is not recommended for children under 8. Parental guidance is recommended for 8 to 10 year olds.

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