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I've really like what the folks at www.commonsensemedia.org do with film ratings (they also rate games, websites, TV, books and music). They give a specific age for which they think the film is appropriate (and it's not just 13 or 17) and they point out all the factors that lead to that rating, divided into different categories (Violence, Sex, Language, Message, etc.) so that you can focus on the ones that concern you the most. Additionally, their guidelines for determining what is appropriate for a specific age group were generated by child psychologists. Their system seems much more sound and transparent than the MPAA's and seems much more focused on actually communicating information so that parents can decide for themselves what their kids should be watching, rather than doling out ratings based on who gave them money or what their personal agenda is.
Tim Burton has certainly vocalized disdain towards comics and many were pleased with his Batman movies.