Batman: The Two Face-esque approach to Adults and Kids

I cannot stress this enough: The Dark Knight is not a movie for children, as it induces nightmares in experienced adult action fans. While being an awesome action movie, I am shocked that it wasn’t R-rated based on the level of violence, cruelty, and overall negativity.

But if you want your child to have official Dark Knight related merchandise or books there is plenty available including a slew of items for 3 to 8 year olds. Yes, Dark Knight for your preschooler!

The Batman franchise has always been effective at covering the story of Batman from different angles through different media sources, in what is now called transmedia. Pre-Batman Begins Batman transmedia is discussed in Will Brooker’s Batman Unmasked and Roberta Pearson’s & William Urrichio (eds.)’s The Many Lives of the Batman. As Henry Jenkins has written, before the release of Batman Begins, DC comics had origin story comics specifically telling more about the back story of this version of Batman. But officially sanctioned transmedia Dark Knight Batman becomes deeply troubling by completely ignoring age and maturity distinctions.

The Batmobile has two wheels and the Joker stole a schoolbus: tyke Dark Knight books are Two-Faced transmedia storytelling « The Learned Fangirl

That’s a really interesting run through of the “Dark Night” franchise rolling from Adults to Kids, questioning agendas & approaches of turning hard core content soft just to get kids to read, or be interested.

I too had issues with the fact that Batman toys were being sold at McDonalds… The Joker is not someone I’d really want my kid getting hyped up to own.  I guess it all comes down to parents’ transgression. 

Me?  I’ll be honest… I agree with The Learned Fangirl.   Despite my love & adoration for all of the Batman franchise (I watched the Batman tv show as a kid, obsessed over Joker & Harley Quinn in the 90’s, remember fondly Burton’s take on the first two movies, and I get giddy whenever I think of the Dark Knight movies starring Chicago), I do not think that this particular version is appropriate for anyone under the age of 12, and it’s kinda ridiculous to even offer content for a movie the FTC won’t even let them see.

Bait the donkey and you have a frustrated ass.  Not cool.

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  1. August 6, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Nice story. I wonder what your take is on folks like Habbo Dark Knight promotions eg-

    As a Habbo member, I got the email although I don’t know if there was age filtering to make sure the younger audience didn’t receive it also?

  2. Barbara
    August 7, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Back in the 80s, the movie “Gremlins” was marketed to tots via various toys, some of them cute and fuzzy. This was the first time I had ever encountered this completely inappropriate age targeting in merchandise, and I was furious.

    Tie-ins like this seem to be par for the course now, although the misfire is often more subtle. We’re used to kids watching non-PG action movies at a younger and younger age. Even Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series walked a fine line; although well done, I personally thought they were a little much for the under 10 set. But talk about perfect product placement for a toy line! How could parents complain? After all, it was Disney; and it had the whole aura of the very family-friendly park attraction behind it.

    Some promotions are just more blatantly exploitative, but don’t they all have the same effect in the end? Giving a child a movie toy will always be an endorsement of that movie to the child, whether we intend it to be or not.

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