Now that I’ve seen “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 2” I’ve come to two conclusions. The first is that this film probably shouldn’t have been split in two parts. At only 70 minutes each the movie would have worked much better as a single film that was 2 hours and 20 minutes long. Jumping back into the story is so jarring because a lot of momentum has passed, and I found myself having to re-watch the first film while starting the second one right away. The second conclusion I came to is that many of the themes present in this movie are in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” and this is what the movie probably would have looked like had Heath Ledger not died unexpectedly.
Considering this is the second part of one whole movie, I could probably very well copy and paste most of what I wrote in my review for the first part of the film and get away with it. It’s not that the movie repeats itself; it’s just the second part of one film. Maybe I’m dwelling too much on this, but I’m doing so to make it clear that if you liked the first one you’re going to get what you expect out of this one. Only this film has the added bonus of throwing in the Joker into the mix while also giving up a whole new side of Superman most viewers have probably never seen before. Superman’s part is probably the most interesting aspect of the film, as he sort of brings up the ultimate dilemma that lots of people can have power, but who decides who gets to control it.
Since I’ve already discussed the story at length in my previous review I’m pretty much okay just letting that lie right now. The main accomplishment of these films is that one of the essential comic book stories in history has finally been adapted into a movie that is faithful and true to the source material. It’s a superhero film for adults as it mixes intense action with a screenplay that is intelligent. Why Warner Bros. sent these films straight to BluRay and didn’t even have some one night events so people could see these on the big screen is disappointing. Is the box office failure of “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” still such a sore subject for them? Never mind..
Though the theaters may be dominated more by Marvel than DC, when it comes to the direct to video market DC not only has a much better foot in the door, but they tell stories that (mostly) seem too good to be banished directly to video. Hopefully some of that talent will show up in future DC theatrical movies that don’t have Christopher Nolan’s name attached to them. Although, I must admit, with the superheroes getting so dark I sort of miss the days when kids would be on the playground talking about their favorite superheroes to other kids. While it’s nice to finally have “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” in movie form, I see Batman scaring kids more than giving them someone to look up to. That’s a far cry from when I became a fan of him.