Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lego Batman Movie, The

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Not recommended under 8; parental guidance 8 to 11 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lego Batman Movie, The
  • a review of Lego Batman Movie, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 April 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8 to 11 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 11 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: Lego Batman Movie, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Lego Batman Movie opens with the Joker (voice of Zach Califianakis) 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, Clay Face and Mr Freeze to name a few. 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 is 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 Greyson/Robin (voice of Michael Cera), who now becomes his sidekick.

Batman banishes the Joker to the Phantom Zone, a prison for the universe’s worst super villains. However, with the help of Harley Quin (voice of Jenny Slate), the Joker and 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.

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.

Superheroes and villains; relationships; diversity

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.

Because the film involves Lego figures, characters and property can be rebuilt after injury and destruction. However, there are some intense battle scenes and dark and sinister moments with threats of violence to favourite characters that might upset younger viewers, for whom the characters are real. Violence includes:

  • A cargo plane full of explosives flying over Gotham City is seized by villains who cut it open with blow torches.  The pilot is tied up and thrown out of the back of the plane. 
  • Supervillains run wild and cause mayhem in the streets of Gotham and there are explosions and mass destruction. Laser guns fire beams at buildings and missiles destroy buildings which explode and crash to the ground clouds of flame, smoke and dust. People scream and run in all directions. Batman punches and kicks villains, including the Joker sending them flying through the air. 
  • There are a number of similar violent scenes, featuring fighting, loud noises, explosions, mass destruction and panic.
  • The Joker threatens the citizens of Gotham telling them to hand over the Mayor in five minutes or he will detonate a bomb destroying the city.  
  • In one scene designed for comic intent, Lego Batman accidentally kicks his elderly butler Alfred in the chest and sends him flying
  • Harley Quin attacks several guards, using a large sledgehammer to knock one guard down and stylised punches and kicks to knock the other guards out.   
  • 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, attempting to fix the engine while fighting off gremlins, helped by Robin and Alfred. Lightning strikes the plane, knocking both Robin and Alfred off.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are a number of scary characters. The Joker has a shock of green hair on his head, over emphasised red lips, large shark-like teeth and a manic disposition.  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.

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 be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Some of the younger children in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

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

  • The whole film is really a feature-length toy advertisement, with everything made of Lego - characters, buildings and vehicles
  • There are references to iPhone and Google

Sexual references

  • Batman is very proud of his body. He makes reference to his “huge” pecks and his “nine-pack” - talking of 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.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Some mild flirting between Batman and Barbara Gordon
  • Robin rips off his pants to reveal brief underwear

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Social drinking – with, of course, Lego bottles and glasses

Coarse language

There are some coarse language, toilet humour and insults in this movie, including:

  • kick all your butts; heck hole; butt mobile; ruddy duck cobblers; “your No 2 needs to go No 1”; “rubbing my butt all over your stuff”
  • loser; stupid; human farts; monkey face; weird; criminal; lunatic

In a nutshell

The Lego Batman Movie is an entertaining animated action comedy which is likely to appeal to Lego  fans of all ages and those who enjoyed first Lego film. It is, however, darker and scarier than the first Lego movie so is not recommended for children under 8 with parental guidance recommended for the 8 to 11 age group

The main messages from this movie are:

  • If you want to make the world a better place, start with changing yourself.
  • Losing people close to you is a part of life and shouldn’t stop you forming relationships.
  • Working as a team achieves far greater results than working as an individual.

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