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Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker (2000)

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Release Date: Dec 12, 2000 Wide

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84

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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 55,824

My Rating

Movie Info

The young protégé of one of the world's greatest superheroes has his first encounter with an old nemesis in this direct-to-video feature adapted from the popular animated series Batman Beyond. Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle) has taken over the crime-fighting responsibilities of Batman from aging Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy), but while Terry has learned a great deal from Wayne, he's never heard the startling truth about Batman's final encounter with his arch-enemy, The Joker (Mark Hamill). However,

Dec 12, 2000

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (8) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1) | DVD (23)

nice cartoon

March 11, 2008

The PG-13 rating...reflects the mortal intensity of this most chilling of animated Batman tales.

February 15, 2005
Groucho Reviews

Surprising cartoon shocker that would have made a great live action Batman movie.

February 7, 2003
Your Movies (cleveland.com)

The whole story is brimming with suspense, action, and humor - in short, everything a great movie can be.

April 16, 2002 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

While it may be a very good movie, it's not one you'll watch over and over again.

October 26, 2001 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons | Comments (15)
Dark Horizons

If the premise of Batman Beyond was originally a gimmick, it has become one that is equally innovative and carefully crafted.

July 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker

Still, to this day, my favorite Batman animated movie. There's just something perfect about an aging Bruce Wayne played by Conroy and Hamill as a returning Joker. It's also the magic of Bruce Timm's stylization at it's peak of the 90's DC animated era.

What's really incredible though, is the script! I mean the whole thing was written from scratch and yet the dialogue, tone and characterizations are just as good if not better than a lot of existing dark/gritty Batman comic book storylines.

When Batman Beyond first debuted it was gimmicky, old fans hated the idea of replacing Bruce with a hip, young guy to appeal to a younger audience but over the years it's been finely tuned to become a credible cannon of it's own and this movie is the final hurrah celebrating that.

Full of suspense, action, humor in all the right places. I often come back to this movie when I'm in a Batman mood. :]
December 24, 2012
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

Batman Beyond - return of the Joker is again, quite confusing if you're not familiar with this strain of the Batman legacy (The Batman Beyond one obviously) but it's fairly easy to pick up what's going on and who is who. The best thing is obviously the return of Mark Hamill as the voice of Joker, although you wouldn't know it was him unless you were a big fan of the original (and can read credits obviously). Good story.
August 6, 2012
SirPant

Super Reviewer

This animated movie had a gripping dark and inventive story line. The plot of this movie was so clever that i didn't know what to expect throughout the whole film which in my mind is what makes a great film. Having the Joker be the main focus of the film, and having Mark Hamill play him again was a brilliant choice, and as always he does a fantastic job in the role, and the whole story is very well pulled off. But Mark isn't the only great actor in the film, Will Friedle does a great job as his character of Batman Beyond, and Kevin Conroy returns as the aging Bruce Wayne for this film, and both actors do great jobs. Also the animation and music for this film is incredibly well done, and I would say this is one of the best animated films ever made, but its also one of the most underrated, seeing how noone ever brings it up when engaging in a conversation on superhero films or animated superhero films, which is very sad, I just wish it had more recognition like the Dark knight, or at least Batman Returns, but its a classic none the less.
If you haven't seen this film do yourself a favor and check it out, it is worth it.
October 20, 2011
michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

Excellent movie! Love the plot and the action, great ending as it should be. Voices were right on cue, fantastic animated flick.

Late one night in Gotham, several members of the infamous Jokerz gang (Bonk, Chucko, Woof, Ghoul and the Dee-Dee twins) are breaking into a warehouse full of high-tech equipment. They attempt to use hovercraft to move one large piece of machinery. But they are confronted by Batman (Will Friedle) and are forced to fight their way out. After an exciting air chase over the city, the machinery is destroyed and the gang gets away.

Back in the Batcave, an elderly Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) practices throwing a Batarang to keep his remaining skills sharp. When the Batmobile returns, Bruce's replacement Batman- Terry McGinnis- confirms that he stopped the robbery but is still uncertain about what's happening. The same gang of Jokerz has been stealing high-tech gear several times over the past month. Bruce suspects that the Jokerz are acting as fences for the stolen goods.

A news report on the TV in the Batcave announces that Bruce is going to be taking back control of Wayne Enterprises. The majority of the company is glad about this change, but one board member, Jordan Price (Mark Hamil) is bitter; he had been next in line for the chief position before Bruce's return.

With his job finished for the moment, Terry goes out to see his girlfriend Dana at a dance club. Unfortunately, Terry is exhaused and dozes off while dancing.

The Jokerz gang faces their mysterious boss, who berates them for their failure. Bonk is outraged, claiming that the mysterious man has merely tricked his way into the gang and has them stealing mysterious techno items for no purpose. The boss shoots Bonk with a "Bang-flag" gun, confirming his identity: he's the ORIGINAL Joker (Mark Hamil), and he makes the others swear loyalty so they don't end up like Bonk. Ghoul uses the computer to find another company with the equipment they need. Joker spots one entry on the list that he thinks will be "fun."

The next night, Bruce and Terry are at a function for Wayne Enterprises to celebrate Bruce's return. As Bruce begins giving a speech to the crowd. The microphone cuts out in the middle of his speech and the speakers erupt with Joker's trademark laugh. Woof (a Jokerz member with features resembling a hyena due to genetic splicing) attacks the crowd. Terry immediately runs to find shelter and change into the Batsuit. Just then, a panel rises up and Joker reveals himself. Bruce is horrified by the apparent return of his greatest foe.

Batman confronts Joker, who is not really impressed with the "newcomer." Joker knocks some people off the building and manages to escape while Batman rescues them. In the car, Terry feels like a failure because he let the Joker escape. Bruce reassures Terry that he did the right thing. Terry wonders how the Joker could be apparently young and healthy despite being at least 80 years old now.

Terry visits Commissioner Barbara Gordon ( Angie Harmon) to learn more about the Joker, but she refuses to tell him anything. Barbara then meets with an older man named Tim as Terry leaves.

Bruce analyzes the night's events at the Batcave, and the voice samples from last night and an earlier encounter are an exact match. Bruce remarks to Terry that Joker died years ago. Terry puts forth a theory that Bruce killed the Joker, and that is the reason why Bruce stopped being Batman. Rather than counter this argument, Bruce asks Terry to give back the Batman suit- he feels Terry has done more than enough for the city, and cannot ask him to do any more. Terry feels that he is using the suit to make up for his own past sins, insisting that the life as Batman is what he wants. Bruce insults Terry, calling him a "stupid kid" who knows nothing about what he wants. Terry storms out in anger, leaving the suit behind.

Next morning, Terry has breakfast with his mother and brother Matt. They are both shocked- his job with Mr. Wayne usually keeps Terry out at unusual hours. Terry reveals that he is no longer working for Mr. Wayne.

The next night, Dana is glad to see that Terry is more energetic and his attention is fully devoted to her. Terry is confronted by two blond girls- who turn out to be the Dee-Dee twins. The Jokerz gang attacks the dance club looking for Terry.

At the Batcave, Bruce is sitting at a chemical mixer when he is attacked by a gas bomb. The Joker has entered the Batcave- and he knows that Bruce Wayne is/was Batman.

Terry manages to fight off the Jokerz gang, but his girlfriend Dana is injured in the struggle. After paramedics arrive and assure him that Dana will recover, Dana speeds off to Wayne Manor. He calls Bruce but recieves no answer, which panics Terry- Bruce virtually never leaves the house, so why is he not answering?

At Wayne Manor, Terry finds Bruces' dog, Ace, injured. Terry walks into the Batcave to see it covered with Joker graffiti (in a scene mimicking the discovery of his father's death). Bruce has a Joker-style smile frozen on his face. Despite his toxic infection, Bruce directs Terry to a supply of the Joker-venom antidote he had been working on when the Joker broke in.

Next day, Barbara is watching over Bruce as he slowly recovers from the toxin. Terry releases a cover story that Bruce suffered a bad fall and will not be able to take control of the company just yet. Terry again asks Barbara about the Joker, arguing that he is part of this and deserves to know. Barbara relents and begins her story.

Barbara tells him about life in the Bat-Family almost fifty years ago: She (as Batgirl) used to operate alongside Batman and his young assistant Robin- Tim Drake. One night on patrol, Tim saves what he thinks is a damsel in distress but turns out to be Joker's partner Harley Quinn. Tim is kidnapped and there is no sign of him for three weeks. One night on a rooftop they spot a booby trap set by the Joker, and evidence from it leads them to Arkham Asylum- partially demolished because the facility has been relocated.

At Arkham, Batman & Batgirl confront Joker & Harley. Joker and Harley introduce their new "son," Joker Junior- it's Tim, disfigured and apparently brainwashed by Joker's toxins. In a fury, Batman attacks Joker while Batgirl goes after Harley. They struggle on the cliffs outside the building and Harley falls over the edge.

Joker escapes and shows off home movies of Robin being turned into Joker Junior. HE reveals that Robin fought for a long time, but before long began to confess things. And now Joker knows everything about Batman- who he is, and why he works."Behind all the stern and batarangs, [Batman's] just a little boy in a playsuit crying for Mommy and Daddy." Joker thinks that Batman's situation "would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic." After another struggle, Joker pulls out a knife and stabs Batman in the leg. Tim picks up a gun and points it at Batman, but suddenly turns around and shoots the Joker. Joker collapses on a table, his last words being "That's not funny." Tim collapses in tears as Batgirl tries to comfort him.

Barbara explains that Joker was buried beneath Arkham, that Harley's body was never recovered, and that Tim spent a year with their friend Leslie Tompkins- who was able to restore the boy's sanity. Afterwards, Bruce forbade Tim to be Robin again. Tim left the group and things between him and Bruce have never been the same. Barbara explains that Tim Drake is now an experienced communications engineer (he was the man she met with earlier).

Terry dons the Batman suit and tries to observe Tim in stealth, but Tim spots him right away. Tim swears that he has put the old life behind him and is far from nostalgic about his experiences as Robin.

Terry has one additional theory- Jordan Price, the Wayne Enterprises employee with a serious grudge against Bruce. Price is, at the moment, on his private boat confronted by the Jokerz gang. Price admits that he gave the gang security codes so they could steal from the laboratory, but knows nothing about the attempt on Wayne's life. The Jokerz confess that they have come to kill Price because he is a loose end. Batman steps in to save Price's life, but the boat is suddenly glowing in a mysterious light. Batman and Price manage to escape shortly before the ship is blown apart from the sky. Back on shore, Batman gives the police a recording of Price talking about his actions with the Jokerz and he is taken into custody.

Back at the Batcave, Terry sits with Ace at the computer, gloomy because he is out of ideas. Terry thinks that the "real" Batman would've remembered just the right trick to solve the case by now. Bruce comes up behind Terry and remarks that things are rarely that simple. Bruce admits that he didn't want Terry to end up like Tim, which is why he asked for the Batsuit back. As they argue, Terry notices something- Joker smashed Bruce's display case of old costumes, but only the Robin suit was shredded. Terry again thinks Tim Drake could be the cause of everything. Terry analyzes everything the Jokerz have stolen, and figures out that a communications expert like Drake could use the equipment to access and use sattelite defense systems. Terry realizes that this is what destroyed Price's boat. Bruce orders Terry to suit up and investigate. Terry requests one more weapon for his arsenal: Ace.

At the local research station, Batman confronts Tim again, but it is revealed to be a hologram. Joker communicates with Batman, confirming Terry's theory, and activating the sattelite defense system again. Terry barely outruns the laser beam with the Batmobile.

After tracing down the Jokerz headquarters, Batman fights the gang one on one with Ace helping to take down the animalistic Woof. Inside, Terry confronts Tim Drake- who has no idea how he got there or what is happening. Tim flashes back to his memories of shooting Joker, and is horrified. Batman offers to help, but Tim insists that he is fine. In the process, Tim calls Batman "Terry"- something that is odd because the new Batman never introduced himself. Tim attacks Batman, restraining him. Then, as Terry & Bruce watch, Tim transforms into the Joker!

Joker explains that he encoded a fragment of DNA onto a microchip while Tim was under his control, as a plan for return; Tim has no idea Joker is using his body. Powering up the sattellite defenses again, Joker selects a few possible targets: the hospital where Dana is recovering, the park where Terry's mother and brother are playing, and Wayne Manor.Joker is not threatened by Terry in the least- he knows everything the original Batman & Robin knew at their best. Ace attacks Joker to give Batman some time. Bruce gives Terry some tips about fighting, stating that Joker is vain and likes to talk so Terry shouldn't listen. Terry realizes that he likes to talk too and can use this to his advantage.

Terry hides in the rafters, taunting the Joker- berating his lame comedy gimmicks and claiming that the only reason Joker kept returning as a criminal was because he never got a laugh out of Batman. Terry does laugh at Joker only because he finds the clown so pathetic. Furious, Joker launches several bombs at the ceiling, damaging his control console and redirecting the laser beam to the factory where they are fighting.

Joker has Terry pinned down, demanding that he laugh before death. Terry, desperate, picks up a joy buzzer Joker had dropped and zaps the microchip on Joker's neck. The chip is neutralized and the Joker is gone for good. Batman collects Tim Drake & Ace, escaping before the laser hits the factory. When the factory is destroyed, so is the control panel for the defense systems, shutting out access for good.

The Dee-Dee twins are released from jail on bail into the custody of their grandmother- who turns out to be Harley Quinn!!!

The next day, Terry meets Tim and Barbara at the hospital. Tim realizes that Terry saves his life, and thinks that Terry is the best one to succeed Bruce as Batman. As Terry leaves, he runs into Bruce- who has decided to finally make his peace with Tim.

Terry picks up the Batsuit once again that night, vowing to continue the legacy of Batman.
March 21, 2011
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

    1. The Joker: You know, kids, a lot has changed since your old Uncle Joker's been away. New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman. But now I'm tanned, I'm rested and I'm ready to give this old town a wedgie again!
    – Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)
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