WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Game Review

Video game creators have cranked out myriad superhero adventures over the years—from digital action featuring the Avengers to the virtual travails of the Tick, to name just a couple. But few games have captured the true, comic booky vibe of their central hero's milieu the way Rocksteady Studios' Batman games have.

Beginning with 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum and concluding with the new Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady's crew has meticulously constructed, piece by piece, an incredibly shadowy, gritty and authentic-feeling version of Gotham. It's a wide-open, hissing-steam-grate environment populated by scores of fiendishly quirky villains … and one stalwart—but almost equally damaged—Dark Knight.

Joker on Your Mind

Arkham Knight's opening scene sets the tone for this latest batarang-slinging challenge. We watch as Batman's arch enemy, the Joker, is melted, charred and reduced to ash in a crematory's flames. But that doesn't mean that Bats can hang up his cape and take a night off. Oh no. In the wake of Joker's exit, the Scarecrow and a militarized, anti-Batman villain called the Arkham Knight make it clear that Gotham's burning torment hardly ended with the Joker's fiery demise. Indeed, in other, even more nefarious ways, the city's smoldering conflagration is just beginning.

After Gotham gets evacuated (thanks to Scarecrow's latest fear toxin), Batman swings and swoops, dives and drives through the city's three massive boroughs, singlehandedly sweeping the streets clean of various rouges as he goes: Two-Face, Penguin, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, Deadshot, Man Bat and, well, just about every other Bat-baddie you can brainstorm.

But that's not all our cowled hero must deal with. He's also struggling with the mind-altering effects of Scarecrow's deadly toxin. Specifically, it's mingling in a strange way with the Joker's tainted blood lying dormant in his system (thanks to a blood-injecting event near the end of the previous game). The upshot? The Joker's devious consciousness is somehow scrabbling to wrest control of Batman's mind and body.

Can our hero determine which horror-filled event is real and which is toxin-induced? Can he figure out the identity of this mysterious and powerful Arkham Knight, not mention deciphering why the new villain wants Bruce Wayne's alter ego dead? Can he unscramble environmental puzzles and traps created by the Riddler and other savvy scoundrels? Can he keep Scarecrow from destroying Gotham? Most importantly, though, can Batman save his beloved city from himself as the Joker's consciousness slowly takes more and more control over him?

Brutal Beatdowns and Infernal Hallucinations

As far as the biff-bam-boom side of those activities is concerned, Arkham Knight builds on the series' traditional strike-and-counter combat system, adding some new smack-backs and gadgets to the fray along the way.

The freeze blast, for instance, helps Batman battle through throngs of thugs when he's almost overwhelmed by them. The game's most significant new wrinkle, though, is the ability to call in and zip around town in the heavily armored and flexibly maneuverable Batmobile. There are some car chases, but the seriously weaponized Bat Buggy is used most often in a series of tanklike battles against potent bad-guy drones.

Of course, now that we're getting into the game's brutal hand-to-hand smackdowns and explosive urban tank battles, we also have to consider Arkham Knight's other content issues. You may have noticed that the latest edition to the series is rated M rather than earning the T rating previous entries in the franchise got. That's not because things are more visually bloody and gory—though the slamming, choking, bludgeoning, bone-breaking action is constant—but because this is a much darker game overall than its predecessors.

In addition to cleavage- and skin-baring outfits on some female villains, as well as profanities such as "b--tard," "d--n," "a--," "h---" and "b--ch," the Scarecrow's fear toxin tosses hell-like hallucinations into the visual mix too. Rotting corpses leap into battle. A female character who's crippled by a shot to her spine takes her own life with a bullet to the temple. There are visions of mass murder and images of Batman's friends being tortured and killed.

Some side missions also involve a twisted "Christian" cult of sorts. Its members use kidnapped innocents as human sacrifices. Elsewhere, a mad butcher wields blades to mutilate and experiment on his poor victims in an effort to "perfect" them.

And if all that weren't enough, there's Batman's constant conflict with the cackling Joker in his cranium. It's an unsettling aural element that keeps gamers engaged with the central story no matter how far afield they may stray in this open-gaming world, a creepy filter that runs every choice Batman must make through the mind of a madman.

The Price of Play

It should be noted that like all the other games in this franchise, Batman gives everything he has to battle evil and save the innocent. And if you look at his sacrificial choices from that perspective, you might even see the Dark Knight as a something of a Christ figure who offers his all for a broken, fallen world.

But just as the Caped Crusader pays a heavy emotional, physical and psychological price to cleanse Gotham, so gamers pay a lesser but nonetheless real price while battling alongside him. Without question, this is an engaging game. It's also a disturbing one. Batman: Arkham Knight could leave a dark imprint on the minds of those who soldier through its hours of dank gameplay, much the same way that Joker's tainted blood leaves its dark mark on the city's caped vigilante hero.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!