Batman: Soul of the Dragon

image for Batman: Soul of the Dragon

Short takes

Not suitable under 15; parental guidance 15-17 (strong, graphic animated violence; scary themes, scenes and characters; mature themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Batman: Soul of the Dragon
  • a review of Batman: Soul of the Dragon completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 July 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to strong, graphic animated violence, scary themes, scenes, and characters, and mature themes.
Children aged 15-17 Parental guidance due to strong, graphic animated violence, scary themes, scenes, and characters, and mature themes.

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: Soul of the Dragon
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and animated violence
Length: 82 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Bruce Wayne (voiced by David Giuntoli) has retired his famous Batman cape and mask and is focusing on his family business and charity work. But then he gets a visit from an old acquaintance, Richard Dragon (voiced by Mark Dacascos), who also completed his martial arts training under their Master O-Sensei (voiced by James Hong). Richard asks Bruce for help: Jeffrey Burr (voiced by Josh Keaton), leader of the mystical Kobra Cult, has taken possession of a mystical gate – the only barrier between the earthly world and the evil demon god, Naga. The gate can only be opened with a special sword, the ‘Soul Breaker’, which O-Sensei gave to Shiva (voiced by Kelly Hu), one of his other students, to safeguard. Bruce agrees to put his Batman cape back on. Just as they get to Shiva to warn her, Burr’s cultists attack and manage to steal Soul Breaker. Knowing that they are stronger together than apart, Richard, Bruce and Shiva recruit the last remaining member of their training squad, Ben Turner (voiced by Michael Jai White). Ben helps them to locate Burr at a secret island, but the four heroes must hurry as Burr prepares to open the gate and become Naga’s avatar to take over the world.

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.

Comic animation; Superheroes.

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 a lot of strong and graphic animated violence in this movie, including:

  • Characters engage in numerous martial arts fights, using punches and kicks, but also weapons, including guns, knives, grenades, and, most of all, swords.
  • Fighting scenes are detailed and graphic, with blood pouring from mouths, noses, and fatal wounds.
  • Characters get stabbed to death; a character gets torn to pieces / devoured by monsters; bones, spines, and necks get broken; arms and heads get chopped off; one character gets scorched to death.
  • Characters scream with fear and grunt in pain.
  • Both good guys and villains get killed.
  • A character gets locked up in a room with cobras and presumably dies.

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:

  • In a particularly disturbing scene, Burr traps a woman (presumably a prostitute) in a room, commands her to dance for him, and when she refuses, releases aggressive cobra snakes into the room. The scene ends with the woman screaming in terror as the snakes attack her and it can be assumed that she gets killed.
  • There are some scary monsters (giant serpent/T-rex-like).
  • One character’s hands are snakes that, when chopped off, grow back and the chopped off part grows into a monster. He also has yellow snake/demon-like eyes.
  • O-Sensei, who was presumed dead, returns but he is possessed by a demon spirit.
  • A group of young children is seen tied up, crying, and terrified because Burr wants to use them as human sacrifices to open the gate.
  • Burr commits suicide by pushing a sword into his own chest, sacrificing and providing himself as a vessel for the demon.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb children in 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.

  • The above-mentioned scenes and graphic violence are likely to scare or disturb some children in this age group.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • It is implied that one character is a prostitute.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Some male heroes are seen topless.

Use of substances

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

  • Characters are seen having alcoholic beverages.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Ass
  • Bastard
  • Crap
  • Dick
  • Damn
  • Screw you
  • Bullshit.

In a nutshell

Batman: Soul of the Dragon is the latest animated superhero film of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. It can be watched as a stand-alone movie with no deep knowledge of the characters or their backgrounds necessary (note: the movie has a cliff-hanger ending). Batman, even though dominantly featured in the title, actually takes a bit of a backseat, the focus is evenly shared with his fellow heroes: Shiva, Ben Turner, and Richard Dragon. The animation style is ‘old school’ and an homage to 70s martial arts film and superhero comics, and there is a good amount of sarcastic humour. The film is likely to entertain a mature, older teenager and adult audience. However, due to strong graphic violence and mature themes it is unsuitable for children under 15 and parental guidance is recommended to 17.

The main messages from this movie are that you are stronger together than apart, and that you can change and decide your destiny.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Persisting
  • Selflessness
  • Courage.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Ruthless pursuit of power to the detriment of others and often ultimately of oneself.