Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Reviews
it's the first half of a two-parter chronicling Bruce Wayne's absence and resurgence as the Dark Knight
he's aging, a bit slower but can't escape the fact that Gotham still needs a protector
Gotham is being overrun by the mutant gangs, Commissioner Gordon is retiring, and Robin is gone
even a new and upcoming female Robin wants to help Batman
but he still faces public scrutiny; does Batman inspire people to save the city or fall into vigilante thinking? is he ultimately responsible for creating the very insane villains that he puts away?
there's no easy answer so Bruce takes it upon himself to get things done
an ok start
It's not awful, but the first part of this adaptation of Frank Miller's much loved comic book, for the most part, moves at a very slow pace, with way too much set up and exposition than it needs. It's basically a drawn out teaser for part 2.
one of D.C's most popular characters like Frank Miller. Miller's
version of Batman has always been strangely non-cannon, and using his
unique style of storytelling to his advantage, he sets himself apart
from the main events of the Dark Knight. He created his own world for
these characters, and was given free reign to do so. So, for those of
you who have never read 'The Dark Knight Returns' (ISBN 1-56389-342-8);
please go out and read it before delving into this spectacular
The Dark Knight shows us an aged and heavily alcoholic Bruce Wayne,
some years after he has given up the mantle of the Batman. He's in his
mid fifties, still a strongly driven man, but without any purpose.
After rounding up and beating down on Gotham's criminals for nearly
three decades, he had to give up the fight for unknown reasons. Perhaps
to let the city decide its own fate and let the people choose what is
to become of Gotham. Maybe because they simply wouldn't stand for him
anymore, nor would they let the Batman reign terror down on city
streets at night, above the law of everyone else. But the time between
then and now has weighed down on Bruce Wayne's shoulders, and the city
is rife with even more corruption, crime, and violence than ever
before. At the same time, the emergence of a new gang of criminals that
go by the moniker 'The Mutants' only aggravates a city on the brink.
Specifically violent, and always willing to sacrifice their own lives
in the process, the Mutant's crimes are particularly heinous.
Kidnapping, assault, and murder are their way of life. They have taken
up a particular grudge with the now 70 year old Commissioner Gordon,
and only a few short weeks before his retirement. Bruce is compelled by
the Batman to once again don the cape and cowl, and seek out vengeance
against those who would do harm to the innocent.
This is no children's story... not by any means. It is dark, perhaps
only less so than Miller's more famous works in his 'Sin City' series.
But this animation is not Miller's original comic. This is an
interesting, if slightly more tame version of the comic released in
1986. The art itself is a wonderful rendition meant to emulate Miller's
more contrastive style of art. Fortunately it is not too heavily
altered, despite such heavy use of digital design. They keep the
dialogue true to the original, if only for some slight altercations
(Gordon's smoking habit for one). But Jay Oliva does a great job of
approaching the theme of the original, which was such a violent and
heavy theme in itself. The corruption and abuse of the innocent, and
how good men and women are willing to do nothing to stop it. This movie
shows us Batman at his oldest, perhaps weakest moments, and questions
if he still has the will to continue the fight.
This film is not without the typical problems associated with comic to
film renditions. There is heavy use of digital filler here in the
framework, which leads to some repetitious use of the same scenes over
and over again. Peter Weller did a good job overall with expressing
that effort and exhaustion of Bruce Wayne through his voice. Several of
the dialogue scenes between the mutant's and their way of talking
seemed strangely dated and fairly silly or out of place. They also
never quite seemed threatening enough in this version, to warrant the
kind of media coverage they get, rather they seemed like Saturday
morning cartoon goons, who await orders from their big boss, and never
really get anything done. The saving point of the film however is the
phenomenal soundtrack, which is reminiscent of the famous Christopher
Nolan 'Dark Knight' series, where composer Hans Zimmer created some fantastic
orchestral works. It keeps the pace of the film, and has some
absolutely fantastic moments throughout which lends to that feeling
that you are watching something of epic proportions.
It is a fantastic effort by the D.C animation crew. Something you don't
want to miss if you are a Batman fan. Most importantly it is an
excellent retelling of one of the best stories ever written about the
I also hated that Kevin Conroy didn't play Batman in this movie but the guy who does it in this movie is fine, not the best like Kevin Conroy but decent. I can't wait for part 2 of the dark knight returns.