Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 10, 2016
Beginning with an old and grizzled Batman who has retired, new threats begin to arise, needing the caped crusader to awaken once again to fight the battles nobody else can. With a very slow burn to start, this first half really focusses the viewers in on the trauma that his character has faced in the past. I really enjoyed the build up to his past coming back to haunt him. It is revealed that villains of the past are still around, and when Batman strikes back into action, they are ready to give themselves purpose once again. Very well written, well executed, and helming some terrific animation, this is a very well-told story. My biggest complaint is that is drags a little too much for my taste.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2013
A solidly entertaining adventure that's tremendously respectful to its material. It's a sharp, thrilling and action-packed first part to this two part comic adaptation.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2013
Not as good as Under the Red Hood for my money, but a step up from Year One. The plot takes awhile to get going and the lack of a proper back story robs it of some much needed motivation towards the beginning because how things got to this point would be interesting to know without having to re-read the whole Batman mythology. It's not like we need a huge background check, just a little reminder like they did in Under the Red Hood. The plot is not one of the strong points, especially since this ends on a cliffhanger and has that incomplete feeling Part 1's tend to have. The mutants are not particularly the best of villains for Batman even though their leader is certainly his equal in terms of muscle power. It does have some decent animation and brutal action sequences that are bloody and intense. Not for little kids in other words. The news segments carried over from the graphic novel simply do not work and feel tacked on. The vocal performances are alright, but not as good as past entries. There's potential here for an even better Part 2 and I certainly hope that is the case. Part 1 is watchable and with a promise of bigger things to come, I am certainly looking forward to Part 2.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2012
Unlike "Under the Red Hood" (which was a huge disappointment) TDKR lives up to it's legendary comic-book source. The atmosphere of Miller's work is really emphasized here in the stylization and music.

Weller's also a welcome voice actor to the Batman name! Again no Conroy but there's a distinctness to his voice that Greenwood didn't have that I really enjoyed. I think he makes a phenomenal Bruce but there's a "gentlemen" like quality to his voice that he doesn't really bother compensating for when he dons the hood. I wish he'd lower his tone and growl more at times, I mean, he's an angry old man!

The animation is top notch, I mean, not Japanese good but at least the stylization was nice and dark with a use of bold blacks again reminiscent of Bruce Timm's Batman: TAS.

The dialogue and script is perfect, but that's credible to Miller not so much the studio behind the movie; then again I'm glad to see them not fuck up the pacing. :]

A great watch, can't wait for part 2!
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2012
Old heroes never die. They just get darker.

Great! Keep em coming Batman! Animation was excellent, the Tone was perfect and when watching this Animated Movie, I felt completely drawn in to the world that Frank Miller had created back in 1986. The movie was amazing and I cannot wait until Part two comes out. The second half of part 1 really set the tone for part two and it really leaves the viewer in anticipation - with a big smile...

Batman has not been seen for ten years. A new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era?
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2012
The Dark Knight Returns, is for me, the best Batman film of the year. The animation is superb, especially when the action kicks off. It sees Bruce Wayne return to crime fighting after a 10 year absence. Unlike his Nolan counterpart however, he was Batman for a damn sight longer than just a year. His return is depicted as an obsession that finally grabs control and pulls him in. He barely even notices it when he shaves off his mustache as it just becomes a natural part of the process. A new threat, called The Mutants, rises in Gotham, and Batman has to sort them out. His age becomes his weakness as he must go up against the leader of The Mutants. he film is littered with cuts to TV shows and newscasts discussing whether or not Batman is a help or a hindrance. Peter Weller does a great job as the voice of Batman, and it's nice to see a Batman with a dark and dangerous sense of humour. As an adaptation it remains fairly close to the source material, but manages to capture the ferocity of the violence without being too graphic. Gotham looked and felt exactly how I remember it when I was growing up. This is great stuff, and is a huge tease for Part 2, where we will see The Joker once again.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2016
In preparation for the upcoming Batman V Superman film, I've decided to revisit a few of each of the heroes' feature films, especially those where they come in direct conflict with one another.

When it comes to comic book adaptations, there is usually a split opinion among fans. Either the adaptation has strung too far from its source material, or it relied too heavily on it. Either way, it's rare that a comic book film or a TV show can come across an audience which is very clear in saying that it is a perfect adaptation. That's what The Dark Knight Returns films are. Part 1 effortlessly displays a mans' psychological turmoil after years of fighting crime in Gotham City, and then also regain his inner humanity and self-worth. The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 quite simply is one of the greatest comic book films of all time.

We begin with watching Bruce Wayne drag race his life away. Taking place 10 years after Batman retired, we get a sense that he doesn't feel as though he has anything left to give. Or rather, he's so psychologically damaged by Jason Todd dying and the chaos that was unleashed on Gotham city, that he is trying to find ways for himself to cope. While I like Part 2 a tad better, this psychological side to the story of Batman is something that gives Part 1 its own edge. This is all complemented incredibly well by Christopher Drake's hauntingly eerie score. Drake has done numerous takes on the Dark Knight, but I've always felt like his score for these two parts perfectly encapsulates this particular graphic novel more so than any of his other scores.

Peter Weller voices Batman, among the many talented voice actors here. It mainly focuses on the Mutant Gang who has taken control of Gotham City in this near-future story, but we also get appearances from Harvey Dent and Joker, who give it just the amount of nostalgia Batman needs to put that cape and cowl on again. Dent's tragic tale once again takes a left turn as he was sponsored by Wayne to get his face back to normal with surgery, only to still think of himself as Two-Face and resume his crime filled ways. Joker is only teased, but I love the way this story links Batman and Joker. They can't really go on without one another.

Frank Miller also weaves in a Gordon side arc that effortlessly fits in with the rest of the story as he is both retiring and being pushed out for Ellen Yindel, a strong believer of taking down Batman, a much bigger story in the second part.

Everything leads to the mud fight. Batman and newly hired Carrie Kelley as Robin, trap all of the mutants into thinking that the Mutant Leader set up a meeting at a sewer outlet. There, we get one of the great comic book fights ever with Batman calling himself the "surgeon at an operating table". With the music, stunned faces of hundreds of mutants, and the official return of the Batman, it may be my favorite scene of either of the two parts. In all, The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 displays all of the graphic novels greatest attributes, while also giving it a memorable score and incredible voice talents. I love everything about this film & story.

+Voice talent, particularly Peter Weller

+Psychological side

+Haunting score

+Weaves in Batman's best characters effortlessly

+Final fight scene

Super Reviewer
September 19, 2012
The best animated Batman movie there is.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2013
Achingly good adaptation of the classic graphic-novel. Can't wait for part 2!
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2012
Lots of fun. I was grinning ear to ear just watching it. It's a great adaptation that stays close to the source material. It is up there as one of my favorite batman films.
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2012
A dark and gritty Batman animated film with an older Bruce Wayne as Batman. But he takes less crap than usual and more like Batman if Dirty Harry wore the costume.This is superb, so check it out.
April 26, 2016
Between a 7/10 and 8/10, this is the movie that batman fans have wanted to see for almost thirty years, and rest assured that DC have absolutely nailed it.
½ April 24, 2016
Intriguing synopsis of Gotham making a painful transition to a new future. A hero's legend is often tarnished.
October 22, 2012
It took a little while to get exciting, but was pretty good once it got going. It was good enough that I plan on seeing Part 2, so it did its job. That being said, I've seen better animated Batman films (I thought Under The Red Hood was very good) and I've seen worse (Year One).
February 1, 2016
The Dark Knight proves himself to be the best hero of the world of DC Comics, and maybe the best comic book hero of all time.
December 6, 2015
With a stark, violent visual style, "The Dark Knight Returns Pt. 1" is an interesting and well stylized, if unfortunately narratively shallow, animated adaptation of the comics.
½ November 9, 2015
The Dark Knight Returns is an excellent animated Batman flick with all the classic Batman tropes and fittings. The story is well written, the voice acting is spot-on and there's plenty of action.
½ October 26, 2013
This Batman animation is particularly effective because it humanizes the character with something as normal as aging and detailing his struggles with it while still being great fun.
August 18, 2015
Slick animation, great voice acting, intelligent writing, and a cinematic sense of fun and excitement combine to make Batman The Dark Knight Returns part 1 an entertaining as hell popcorn movie, making the audience all the more excited for its climax in Part 2.
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