To kick off my new series, Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment, I thought it would be appropriate to start with a superhero film. With the glutton of superhero films hitting theaters this summer it may be difficult to figure out which one is the most kid-friendly. Unfortunately, all of the summer superhero films this summer are rated PG-13, which means you may not want your young child seeing any of these films.
However, if your child is hankering for a superhero fix because he or she sees all of the toys in the store or in a McDonalds Happy Meal, I’ve got you covered.
Batman & Robin may live in movie history as a terrible joke, but the sole purpose of the film when it was created was to be as family friendly and “toyetic” as possible. The end result is a campy, fun adventure film that boys and girls can really enjoy.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Batman exists in a fantasy world. Gotham City is full of hulking statues, and the sets and action sequences are born out of pure imagination. Imagination is the key word here. While modern day superhero movies tend to take place in our own world, the superhero films of the 1990s took a less serious approach. Kids can watch this film and let their imagination run wild. It encourages them to create their own worlds with their own sets of rules. If the Gotham Observatory is a building being held in the hands of a massive statue as a starting point for your child’s imagination, then where they go from there, well, the sky is the limit. This is why I am a huge fan of any film that uses its own created world. It encourages its audience to dream up new and bigger things. Who knows? Your kid may be the next big set designer, fashion designer, writer, etc.
There are a lot of visually superb sets and lighting in this film with bright colors and large establishing shots that will draw your child into the world of the film. The action is mostly non-stop, as director Joel Schumacher wanted to take you on a ride throughout the film. There is a rocket blasting to space in which Batman and Robin must free themselves, skydiving superheroes, and lots of hand to hand fight scenes. The visual effects –especially Mr. Freeze’s freeze gun – are lavish and impressive.
Although the rating is PG-13, I find this film to be horribly mis-rated, considering that The Dark Knight is rated PG-13 and is very violent and nowhere near kid-friendly. There are a few romantic scenes with Poison Ivy, but these are mostly related to something your kids will just say “Ewwwwww” at: kissing.
The theme of this film is family. There are touching moments with Bruce, Dick and Barbara as Alfred recovers from a life threatening disease. In the end, the message is all about family and sticking together. If you have a little girl and worried if she will not like a “boy’s” movie, you can be safe with this film as Barbara Gordon and Batgirl are introduced.
All of the over the top action, visuals and sets will keep your kids –and you – entertained for the 2 hour run time.