Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, February 08, 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II Review

Well, I think it's time to take a break from packing and panicking about the move to kick back, relax, and finally take in the latest DC Comics/Warner Brothers direct-to-DVD animated movie.  Let's take a look at....

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II

Directed by Jay Olivia

Starring the voices of Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, David Selby, Michael Emerson, Mark Valley, Michael McKeen, Robin Atkin Downes, Tress MacNeille, and Conan O'Brien

Backstory:  Again, for the most part, I've been enjoying this series of direct-to-DVD movies, but it seemed like craziness to try to adapt The Dark Knight Returns.  With such a seminal graphic novel, you can't help but fear they'd get it wrong.  But, at least they had the good sense to split it up into two movies to make sure it would be done right and not rushed.  Part I came out back in the fall, and quickly became a critical darling, sweeping much love online.  Me?  I merely thought it was good, not great.  But I had hope for Part II.  Because of how they split it up, I knew Part II was when we'd be getting to all the good stuff from the graphic novel.  So does Part II bring us a satisfactory conclusion?

Plot:  When last we left the Caped Crusader, it was the dystopian 1980s.  Batman, now in his 50s, comes out of retirement, takes down a viscious street gang known as the Mutants, and gets back to work cleaning up the streets.  During Batman's years of inactivity, the Joker has been existing in a catatonic state in Arkham Asylum.  But with Batman's return, the Joker snaps back to life and begins plotting the mother of all comebacks.  But in this era, most superheroes have given up their secret identities and gone into hiding, save for one Man of Steel who sold out and became a government agent.  With Batman keeping law and order in Gotham City, the government is starting to look foolish in the public eye.  The stage is set for two climactic showdowns:  Batman's final battle with Joker, followed by Batman resisting arrest at the hands of Superman.

What I Liked:  This movie is very faithful to the original graphic novel.  And there's a few nice embellishments as well.  Of course, since they did away with Batman's internal monologue, the dialogue then conveys most of the information, and Batman and Joker's banter during their final battle is amazing.  The action sequences are also pretty good, with Batman and Superman's final fight being much more brutal than what they did in the comics.

What I Didn't Like:  Naturally, this movie had to be very compressed when compared to the comics, so a few things had to get cut out.  Certain scenes and certain side plots are reduced to throwaway lines, which is a little disappointing,

Final Verdict:  Probably as best an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns that we'll ever get.  But still, the book is better.

3 Nibs

Bonus Materials:  For bonus features on the Blu-Ray, you get a featurette on the times that Batman has fought Superman in the comics, a featurette on the Joker, a featurette on adapting the legendary graphic novel, 3 bonus episodes of Batman cartoons, and a preview for the next film Superman Unbound, coming out this summer.

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