BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PT. 2: Movie Review

Some fans were on the fence about The Dark Knight Returns, Pt. 2 after a lukewarm reception for Part 1. However, Part 2 is 76 minutes of nonstop action that culminates in an epic throw down between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader. Spoiler Free

Follow Mark:
By Mark Julian - 1/30/2013


When it was revealed that The Dark Knight Returns would be split into 2 parts, those familiar with the graphic novel from Frank Miller were a little baffled by this decision as the back half of the story is the 'meat' in terms of action and excitement. Naturally, if you were unimpressed with TDKR, Pt. 1, you'll be blown away by Part 2. The 76 minute feature film is literally one action scene after another as Batman maneuvers to take back Gotham City and shepherds its citizens in the aftermath of a semi-thwarted nuclear attack.

This is an extremely faithful adaptation of Miller's graphic novel and for an animated direct-to-video release aimed primarily at kids I was shocked by how much of the extreme violence was kept intact. After watching this film, you'll definitely be thinking about a live-action version and the fact that Michael Keaton is just about the right age to do it.

The voice acting is superb as expected from a cast assembled by the great, Andrea Romano. Peter Weller (Robocop, Stare Trek Into Darkness) plays an aged Bruce Wayne and has a delivery that conveys a sense of determination tinged with fatigue that's perfect for a battle-worn, aging Dark Knight. Michael Emerson's (Lost) Joker may take some getting used to but it grows on you and by the time he hits the stage on The David Endocrine Show he's found his stride. Also making notable voice impressions were Mark Valley as Superman and Robin Atkin Downes as Oliver Queen. Not a weak portrayal in the entire voice cast.

The animation is crisp yet stylistically dated as we're presented a futuristic version of the 80's (The Dark Knight Returns was released in 1986) complete with a Ronald Reagan-like President masterfully portrayed by Jim Meskime. The main fight scenes, Batman vs Joker and Batman vs Superman are well executed with the battle between Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime especially standing out. Impressive detail is also given to building and background fill-ins making for a true visual treat.

This is one of the better direct-to-video efforts from Warner Bros. in recent memory and even though we're all suffering from a little Batman/Superman fatigue, this one is a can't miss.








Running Time: 1 hr 16 min
Release Date: 29 January 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Mark Valley, Michael Jackson, Conan O'Brien, Tress MacNeille, Jim Meskimen, Robin Atkin Downes
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Written by: Bob Goodman (screenplay),Frank Miller (novel)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a two-part animated superhero film, an adaptation of the 1986 comic book story arc "The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller and a sequel to the 2011 animated film Batman: Year One. It was directed by Jay Oliva, who worked as a storyboard artist on Man of Steel, Batman: Year One and Batman: Under the Red Hood. Several other Batman veterans were also involved in the film. Part 1 was released September 25, 2012, and Part 2 is scheduled for release January 29, 2013. It is the 15th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series.


RELATED CONTENT:
Michael Emerson On Voicing The Joker In BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PT. 2
ROBIN Shines In New Clip From BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PT. 2
First Teaser For CG BEWARE THE BATMAN From Cartoon Network

DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE.
3
LIKE!
35 Comments
thalidomide - 1/30/2013, 10:01 AM
Just saw this earlier and it was sick!
40oz - 1/30/2013, 10:03 AM
Watching it tonight.
Supes17 - 1/30/2013, 10:06 AM
Saw it weeks ago
MarkJulian - 1/30/2013, 10:11 AM
Yes, they need to release it as one, complete film.
MatchesMalone - 1/30/2013, 10:18 AM
I'm thinking about doing a triple feature tonight of Year One, and DKR parts 1 & 2. Frank Miller Fest!
HAILHYDRA - 1/30/2013, 10:18 AM
Is no one else bothered that Batman looks like a fat a**?
RorMachine - 1/30/2013, 10:18 AM
I don't like Weller as Bats at all, otherwise 5/5
MatchesMalone - 1/30/2013, 10:25 AM
@Ror- He sounds especially goofy when he gives the speech to the Sons of Batman. Like he's got a frog in his throat.
MatchesMalone - 1/30/2013, 10:27 AM
@HAILHYDRA- Not really, considering he's depicted pretty much exactly as Frank Miller drew him in the comic. I think Frank was going for an aged look with the added bulk. People tend to gain weight when they age.
christianroch - 1/30/2013, 10:27 AM
Just wow! What a story! My only problem is how easy Batman can avoid bullets when surrounded.
Zordan - 1/30/2013, 10:29 AM
yeah the voice was wrong but great movie
DoodPool - 1/30/2013, 10:30 AM
@hailhydra
No because this design is the classic depiction from the book and if he looked any different there would be no point in making this great comic into a movie :)

It's hard to show his age through a suit, so they just exaggerated his size all around to try and make him look weathered, he's heavier but still muscular. They pretty much do the same with superman and other characters in this film. Also a lot of character designs are still very 80s they have not tried to change the time period at all in this film so you end up with something pretty original and faithful to it's source material :)
DoodPool - 1/30/2013, 10:31 AM
@RorMachine
I agree i couldn't get used to Weller as Bats voice wise but i can understand the casting given Frank Millers involvement with the Robocop Series, Maybe he had some input there.
Tymminator - 1/30/2013, 10:40 AM
In my own personal ideal version, Hamil would be Joker and Conroy would be Bat's. in fact I would have made Conroy Batsfor BYO, but that's just my personal wish. What is, is what is.
YourMomsFavorite - 1/30/2013, 10:56 AM
I honestly thought part 1 was better, maybe I was tired, or a little distracted but i thought part 1 was better overall. Part 2 was action packed with some highlights but I dk. And although I love this story I still can't dig Miller's interuptation of Supes, it's a very cracked view of what he thinks Superman would do, if the goverenment ever did "crack" down on their activities I feel it would be more likely for Superman to either go into space and protect other worlds, retire, or go about saving people w/out the costume, the last thing Superman would stand for is being a Government lacky. And then on top of that even though it makes the story compelling, Batman would never be forced into retirement by anyone other than himself cuz as frank miller would right he's the "goddamn batman" haha
YourMomsFavorite - 1/30/2013, 10:57 AM
write****
satanors - 1/30/2013, 11:06 AM
Watched it last week.... Enjoyed watching this. part-1 was boring for me.
superpooper - 1/30/2013, 11:10 AM
Wha? People were on the fence about this? Holy shit. It was about as direct an adaptation of the book as you could possibly get. What more do you want?
jtown904 - 1/30/2013, 11:15 AM
Very intense! The liberties they took with the Bat vs. Supes fight were awesome. It explained in my opinion better than the comic that Superman wasn't at full strength, and Batmans super armor suit was portrayed better, stronger, and more powerful than comic.

My only chuckle was---if batman had this suit all along, why the flip was a 50 year old man, not wearing the whole time??? I mean I goes from a non-armored 100% cotton suit, gets stabbed 47 times by Joker, to an ironman suit.

Great Movie though!
third3ye - 1/30/2013, 11:28 AM
Ended up buying this on Amazon instant video b/c they didn't have a rental option for the longest time (greedy WB) but no regrets whatsoever! Great standalone feature and more reason why animation studios should think more about direct adaptations with very little changes.
MarkV - 1/30/2013, 11:39 AM
Part one was freaking awesome.
Killuminatic - 1/30/2013, 11:58 AM
This movie was fantastic! Regardless of the fact it's a direct comic book adaptation, this second part was actually better than TDKR even if it did influence some some of the story in that movie. Shame it wasn't live action...
dailycomicsfix - 1/30/2013, 12:57 PM
I too am not a fan of Weller as Batman. It's not so much that he wasn't good but it's more that Kevin Conroy is the definitive voice actor for Batman. I understand wanting to do things differently or shake things up but when you have a history of powerhouse voice performances, as Conroy does, you run the risk of this happening.

Both films are still a 5/5 but Weller did take me out of the movie at times because I noticed it wasn't Conroy's voice.
KeefNCookies - 1/30/2013, 1:36 PM
Couldnt get into P1 but P2 was pretty awesome. Still hate Joker's voice work and cant stand the new Robin, but the rest was great. So glad Superman got his @$$ beat and that Joker was killed fashionably
pesmerga44 - 1/30/2013, 2:10 PM
I just can't get behind the voice actors for Batman and Joker. Batman sounds so wooden there is no emotion to his voice every line is read in the same monotone voice that makes me just see the voice actor in the booth reading lines off a piece of paper. Then the Joker sounds like he might have some sinus issues. I am not saying they have to have Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil and they are the only ones. Why not get Bruce Greenwood and John DiMaggio back to reprise their roles they both did amazing jobs.
pud333 - 1/30/2013, 2:12 PM
Just watched it this morning. Along with Pt 1, this is the best DC animated film released. It was just a ton of fun, really violent too.
Berserker187 - 1/30/2013, 3:07 PM
This is one of the best animation out there. WELL DONE.
BlueDemon - 1/30/2013, 3:37 PM
I wish they would have used Michael Ironside
Facade - 1/30/2013, 4:04 PM
On my way out the door to get it now....
beane2099 - 1/30/2013, 4:32 PM
I thought Part 1 was great. Can't wait to see this.
VictorHugo - 1/30/2013, 4:53 PM
Looking forward to this, this should be celebrated by fans. It´s baffling to see how many batman "Fans" don´t even know who Frank Miller is.
VictorHugo - 1/30/2013, 4:56 PM
YourMomsFavorite:

Superman is a Government lackey because Luthor is pulling the strings and Brainiac holds the bottled city of Kandor as a hostage.
Groillagrod87 - 1/30/2013, 6:43 PM
Fantastic movie I just wish bats would of beat superman more like he did in the comics. I really would of him choking him when he said that he needs to remember the man who best him
mgeoff88 - 1/30/2013, 11:34 PM
I liked the pacing in Part 1 better, but this was still really good!

Seeing Batman and Superman fight each other was awesome!
cole33 - 1/31/2013, 7:16 AM
In my opinion it's the best animated comic book film out there.

Absolutely loved it. This movie is NOT for kids. The themes are adult themes, there's blood, but it's not so much the blood, but they do a great job of showing just how void of humanity The Joker is, a true psychopath, and the scenes with him and Batman felt like genuine human drama.... The guilt Batman feels for allowing The Joker to live all these years, almost questioning his methods when dealing with guys like the Joker.

The Batman/Superman battle was epic. Both characters not fighting at full strength, and the theme of Batman and Superman being friends for so long, yet both knowing that this battle was an eventual inevitability.

My favorite part is how the film and actors set up and portray the mythology, that if it came down to it, it wouldn't be Darkside or Doomsday that would take down Superman, it would be Batman, his closest super-hero friend, the one who knows who Superman really is, someone without any powers at all, and something that Batman, though likely cares for Clark as a friend, has been preparing for for a long time.
To Superman, ...."Who do they send after you?"

Batman has always had to make himself the "fail safe" to Superman. It's perfect.

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.