There have been many incarnations of Batman in movies and TV, but none compared to some of the stories that been unleashed over the years in print. Easily come of the best stories fall in Son of the Demon, The Killing Joke, and The Cult, but none have had more impact than Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. While aspects of this brilliant series have shown up here and there, there had never been a full on adaptation of the property until now! DC Comics latest entry into their animated film line takes on the monumental task of bringing this unique look at Batman to life and did an awesome job with the first half, but can they finish out this epic story as good as they started it?
The Dark Knight Returns: part 2 continues to a follow Gotham City that is ravaged by a new breed of criminal that hasn’t witnessed the wrath of Batman for over 10 years. After events seem to escalate even further, Bruce Wayne dons the cap and cowl once again to bring justice to his city, but is he up to the task against a new breed of criminal? Much like the previous entry this book sticks close to the original source material in look, tone, and overall delivery. The biggest concern going into this half of the story is that fact that it gets pretty violent and has a few racy visual moments, but are part of the iconic aspect of this classic. Thankfully they left nothing to the imagination and instead delivered the goods just as the fans would hope for. While the first half had its action, it focused more on getting the story building, establishing this world and letting the characters get into play. This last half of the story still sports all the stuff that made the first half great, but also delivers the epic action that changes everything in the world of Batman. It steps things up to deliver a really violent action packed and even somewhat graphic depiction of the legendary showdowns from the series. For anyone that has read this book, knows how it ends and the biggest most epic showdown in comics is a part of it. While this played off really cool in the book, getting to finally see it in full action and stretched out a bit more while keeping the classic moments there is a sight to behold. The voice cast continued to do a great job with the bulk carried on the shoulders of Peter Weller as Batman. He would never be the one you would think could do it, but delivers everything needed to bring this hardened version to life.
If there is any complaint, and it’s a small one, it would that of Michael Emerson’s Joker. He does a fine job bringing the character to life adding a bit of suave maturity to the older Joker, but didn’t fully get the insane nature down that popped up from time to time. That is a miner issue in what is ultimately a brilliant adaptation to easily the best Batman story to ever be produced. DC has out done themselves with this property taking some risks to keep intact and deserve major props. While Marvel may be taking names in live action, they do not hold a candle to the brilliance of these DC animated films. The Dark Knight Returns steps up the game and feeds the excitement to their next offering Superman: Unbound.