Batman has a huge fanbase and one that is built up over the course of decades. The DC Comics character has been around since 1939 and within this time has developed a legion of fans, composed of different nationalities, genders, and age groups.
As much as Batman is adored by a teenager in the US, he is as equally liked by a child in the UK, or an Octogenarian in Australia. The Caped Crusader has universal appeal, and every year he continues to attract followers from far and wide.
And now, Batman is set to attract even more attention thanks to the release of his latest big budget movie, The Batman. The film – directed by Matt Reeves – star Robert Pattinson in the title role and is due to hit cinema screens at the end of this week.
In the years, months, and weeks that have led to this new movie, the hype machine has been in overdrive, making The Batman one hotly anticipated film. As such, the opening weekend is expected too be a busy one, as audiences flock to their local cinema to watch the movie.
But before rushing off to your local multiplex with your whole family in tow, there’s probably something you should be asking about the movie – especially if you’ve got kids. The question is: Is The Batman suitable for a child?
The short answer is ‘no’.
While Batman might be a popular character with many kids, including the youngsters in your own household, this doesn’t mean this film is aimed at them. Some Batman movies are specifically created for a younger demographic, but this is not the case with The Batman.
The Batman has not been written with young Batfans in mind. Below I’m going to explain what I mean by that.
When it comes to movies and more specifically movie classifications, age ratings vary in different territories, but for the purpose of this discussion I’m going to use the UK age classification of The Batman as an example. The UK has a very easy to follow rating system, with clearly defined guidance, all set out by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), and I believe this will help to make things easily understandable when it comes to The Batman’s suitability for young audiences.
In the UK, The Batman has been awarded a ‘15’ certificate for its cinematic release. This means, in order to watch The Batman in a UK cinema, all audiences must be aged ‘15’ or above – with no exceptions.
Anyone below that age will not be permitted to view the movie in the cinema. So, if you live in the UK and your five-year-old is obsessed with Batman, I’m afraid they won’t be able to see this movie during its theatrical run.
It doesn’t matter if they love Batman, the film has been deemed as unsuitable for their age group. It also doesn’t matter if you plan on accompanying your child to the screening, or they are attending as part of a family group, they will not be allowed to view the film in any UK cinema.
To get a better understanding of why the BBFC has granted The Batman a ‘15’ certificate, I headed over to the BBFC website to read up on the film. Here the organisation breaks down key points about the movie, to explain why this particular age-restricted rating has been given to this movie.
These points include the level of ‘threat and horror’ in the film, the amount of ‘violence’ that is depicted, and the film’s use of strong language. Each point is given a brief summary.
In terms of the threat and horror in the movie, The Batman includes “people in states of terror and distress after being placed in elaborate death traps.” In terms of violence, the BBFC states that The Batman includes “sequences in which people are repeatedly punched or bludgeoned”, while “mutilated bodies are found at crime scenes”.
When it comes to the use of language, the film uses a mix of “infrequent strong language” and some slightly milder curse words. There are also conversations about some adult themes including “moderate sex references”.
The BBFC goes into greater detail, so be sure to take a look at the full description, but from the information set out above, this gives you a flavour as to why the movie has been granted a ‘15’ certificate in the UK. Now, I appreciate film classifications/ratings work differently in other countries, but it’s important to remember that regardless of where the film is playing, it is the same movie.
If the above points make it clear this film is not suitable for audiences under ‘15’ in the UK, then it is worth considering if this film is suitable for your child if you live outside of the UK. The age ratings in your corner of the world may differ considerably, and you may be in a territory where you can take a child to the cinema so long as you accompany them, but perhaps consider the criteria set out by the BBFC first.
I believe in the case of The Batman, it is also worth taking into consideration the running time of the movie, which is 176 minutes (just four minutes short of three hours).
With trailers/previews at the beginning of the movie, the average screening of The Batman will break past the three-hour barrier, almost reaching three-and-a-half hours. It is at this point you should ask yourself: Would my child sit comfortably for this lengthy period of time?
Only you know your child, and they may love nothing more than to get lost in a movie. But if they get restless easily, are they going to become bored and disrupt other audiences who have paid to watch the movie?
Children’s films tend to be fairly short, because children have a shorter attention span. The fact The Batman has such a lengthy running time is a clear indication that this picture was not made with children in mind.
So, what do you do if you have a five-year-old who desperately wants to see The Batman and it’s all they can talk about? Well, depending on where you live in the world, going to see the movie may simply not be an option and you may have to break it to them accordingly.
However, keep in mind that these days, it doesn’t take too long for a big screen movie to become available to stream at home. While The Batman is exclusive to cinemas for now, the video-on-demand version of the movie won’t be too far behind.
Many movies have a 45 or 60-day cinema release window, meaning that after 45 or 60 days, the film will be available to rent or buy for home viewing as well. If the movie proves hugely successful, like Spider-Man: No Way Home proved to be in 2021, then this release window may be a touch longer to allow it to make more money at the box office, but even so, it is usually only 90 days (three months) at most.
Of course, regardless of how long it takes to appear on streaming platforms, the same criteria applies to the film, so even if the home video version becomes available fairly swiftly, The Batman still contains adult themes/strong language etc. However, through home viewing you are given the opportunity to see the film from the comfort of your living room, and decide for yourself what you allow your child to watch.
I hope the above discussion has given you some important information about The Batman, to answer your question about the movie’s suitability for a child. I appreciate there are many super hero movies out there which are more than child-friendly, but this is not necessarily the case with The Batman.
However, the great thing about Batman is the fact that because he has appeared in so many movies, through live-action and animation, there are plenty of other Batman films that are completely suitable for younger audiences. From Batman: The Movie (1966) and Batman & Robin (1997), to The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2018), there is a wealth of alternative titles for young Batfans to view instead.
Batman is also the star of various cartoon shows, including Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, Beware the Batman, Batman Beyond, and Justice League Action. Most of these titles are either available on DVD, on Blu-ray, or through digital services, and all are perfectly fine for children.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about The Batman – I hope it proves useful. For more informative posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.