The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Movie Review
Grade B: The character of Batman has been very busy in 2012. Not only does he star in as well as appear in many different comic books, he’s also featured in an animated TV series as well as having the title role in one of the most successful movies of the year with The Dark Knight Rises. To all this adds another Batman film, abet an animated and direct to disc/digital download one; The Dark Knight Returns Part 1.
The Dark Knight Returns adapts one of the most critically acclaimed comic series of all time in animated form. In this story, at some point in the past Bruce Wayne has hung up the Batman cowl and has assumed his Bruce Wayne personal full time. Now an older man, Wayne sees crime rampaging and out of control around Gotham City and comes to the stark realization that only Batman might have the capabilities, resources and guts to clean-up the streets.
What a thankless job adapting The Dark Knight Returns had to be for the filmmakers here. If they get it right, the best they can hope for is for the audience to think that they cribbed elements from the Christopher Nolan Batman films for their movie*. The worst they can expect is to be vilified for tarnishing one of the most beloved comic books ever that, it can be argued, is the foundation of the current Batman brand.
Luckily for them, I’d say the filmmakers got it right.
I’ve been a big fan of most of these DC direct to disc animated films and thought that The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 was one of the better of these films. The creators of this movie did a good job in adapting The Dark Knight Returns story to animated form, cutting where necessary and not adding too much, if any, new elements to the story.
Peter Weller (RoboCop, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension) does a great job as the voice of an older, more world-weary Batman and Ariel Winter (Modern Family) made me believe that the character of Robin is integral to the overall story of Batman.
Expect The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 on store shelves sometime in 2013.
*Most of which originally appeared in the 1986 comic mini-series.