Following the death of both his parents by a petty criminal as a child, Bruce Wayne grows up with a desire to help Gotham City restore law and order. Before he can do this, he must understand how the criminals work and so he joins the mysterious ‘League Of Shadows’ under the tutelage of Ducard who teaches him how to become a top fighter.

Batman Begins (2005) – Christopher Nolan

Batman Begins Movie poster

Rating: 12

Running Length: 140 mins

Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson

Genre: Action/Adventure, Comic Book

 

REVIEW

Director and writer Nolan successfully revitalised the Batman franchise with this opening instalment which shows the origin of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, Batman. We see where his motivations lie, where and how he receives his training, how he finds and equips the Batcave and who makes all of his gadgets. The previous few films had gotten, for want of a better term, far too ‘comic book-y’ and could no longer be taken seriously. Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’ is a dark and brooding affair much more in tune with realistic and adult motivations and practicalities.

It is often said that Batman himself isn’t that interesting; it’s the larger-than-life villains that bring the interest to his world. However, ‘Batman Begins’ successfully makes Bruce Wayne enough of a well rounded human being that instead of another gaudy display of colourful gurning, this time around we are treated to a slick and sophisticated examination into the motivating forces within the human mind. That isn’t to say this isn’t a film that children can’t enjoy, but what ‘Batman Begins’ does best is deal with the emotional, rather than just physical, transformation that a young Bruce must go through and as such may not be an interesting film for younger children.

 

IS ‘BATMAN BEGINS’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

There are several references to organised crime and mob bosses with threats to kill main characters and their families. This could be a little frightening for children who haven’t had previous knowledge of this type of villain. There is also a brief mention of some prisoners who are serial killers and rapists, however there is no further reference to this. There is a moment when a woman is surrounded by several attackers (one of which has a knife) but there is no threat of rape and she is quickly rescued.

One of the most frightening characters in the movie is ‘The Scarecrow’ who uses an aerosol gas to deliver a terrifying hallucinogen to people. His mask is a sack with a face crudely sewn onto it but, when seen by someone under the influence of the gas, he appears to be a horrifying demon.

 

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

The violence in this movie is spread throughout which keeps the action at a good pace. This does, however, mean that there are quite a few scary bits which are difficult to prepare for. We feel that this movie is generally suitable for ages 8 and over, there is little in terms of excessive violence or gore. The fight scenes can be quite brutal with accompanying sound effects, however they are typical of the ‘comic book’ genre – well choreographed and the violence isn’t sustained. Most children are likely to enjoy these scenes as opposed to being afraid of them.

  • Violence: 3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (Bruce’s parents are killed in front of him and he feels guilt over their deaths)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (the Scarecrow is particularly frightening and the hallucinations caused by his drugs may scare younger children)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 2/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5
  • Other notes: Themes of vigilantes, the poisonous effect of holding on to vengeance and the burden of being seen negatively when trying to do good.

Words by Laura Record

 

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