Tag Archives: Dark Knight

What is a Superhero Without Children?

There is a problem here in America. Our children have no superheroes. Long gone are the days of campy comic books, boy scout Superman films and tongue in cheek camp from Adam West and Burt Ward. Today’s superhero has to be conflicted, strong and of our world.

It wasn’t too long ago that American society rejected the dark and conflicted superhero. Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” was so abhorred by parents that Warner Bros., the toy companies and McDonalds all cried foul and insisted they did not know the film was going to be so “dark” and realistic. Yet, today, parents don’t think twice about taking a five year old to see the PG-13 “The Avengers” or “The Dark Knight Rises”, and those films are applauded for their darkness and realism.

“Superman”, starring Christopher Reeves was such a huge success because it made Superman accessible to all generations. The kids could look up to his boy scout image and be inspired to do good things for truth, justice and the American way. Parents could identify with the love story and the tale of the ultimate immigrant coming to America.

Something happened along the way to present day. The kids grew up. And with that, a desire to see their superheroes grow up, too. “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” all had prominent display shelves at the toy stores for kids of all ages. A less-informed parent who sees the toys and remembers Batman from his Adam West or even Joel Schumacher days would assume that the movie is just that – kid stuff. Unfortunately, “The Dark Knight Rises” is nowhere near safe for kids, and “The Avengers” (for all the toys they have you would think it is a G Rated film) has copious amounts of violence and the cast is filled with characters who all take themselves way too seriously.
The now 20-somethings love this stuff. Their childhood superheroes are now hardcore and based in reality. It makes the experience so much more real. Any attempt at toning down a superhero movie for children is considered lame, not epic enough, or stupid kid stuff. Except, these fans are forgetting something. It is a crucial piece in the puzzle to the longevity of superheroes. Without a proper role model superhero like Christopher Reeves’ Superman, or a campy version of Batman every now and then, kids will not get to see superheroes on the big screen or the comics, and they will slowly fade from existence.

Now that the realistic and gritty superheroes have had their moment to shine, the children need someone to look up to in our current times. Let the children have their heroes back.

Fantastic Adventure #5: Batman: The Brave and the Bold

So, you took my advice and showed your kids Batman & Robin, and now they have a hankering for more? With Batman being so popular lately, it really does a disservice to kids when toy companies make The Dark Knight Rises action figures

and other toys, as that film is extremely graphic and nowhere near safe for child viewing.  But, of course, your kids will see the toys and then want to see Batman. If you took the first step and showed them Batman & Robin, great! If not, you can read about it on my blog and come back to this post, if you so desire. To continue with family friendly entertainment, my pick for today is Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a TV series on Cartoon Network.
Think of this cartoon series as an animated version of Adam West’s 1960’s Batman. It has all the corny humor, gags and overacting fight scenes that we all remember from the Adam West show. Each episode Batman teams up with a different hero from DC Comics and together they take out the different villains and stop their dastardly schemes.

Heroes

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Having Batman team up with a different hero each week is a good way to introduce your kids to comic books and all of the different heroes that are out there. Beyond that, it is a good way to show your kids the power of teamwork.
The entire series has a very fantastical feel to it. The heroes are big, strong, wise cracking purveyors of justice and the villains are over the top failures of massive schemes. The schemes are so ridiculous and out there that it really encourages kids to think outside the box and cerate lavish ideas of their own. Imagination is downplayed in our society. there is a time to play and a time to be “serious’. We teach our children that being imaginative is not serious. They have to study hard, do homework, learn Math and Science so they can get a job that makes good money. Don’t worry – you are not a bad parent. You are only passing on what your parents taught you. However, that may be another topic for another post.
Back to the show. With the over the top schemes (stealing a giant piano or trying to ruin Christmas), you won’t have to explain elaborate schemes to your kids.
The villains are always doing something simple and are defeated in mostly simple ways. They are brought to justice and all is well with the world. These are great base values for your

Villains

children to learn, and you can use them as talking points about right versus wrong.
Teamwork, right versus wrong, imagination and justice are the main themes of the show and a great way to not only introduce your kids to comic book characters, but a great family friendly Batman cartoon.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is on reruns on Cartoon Network. Also available to own or rent on DVD. Rated TV Y7.