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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

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Directed by Jay Olivia

Written by Bob Goodman

Adapted from the original story by Frank Miller

Frank Miller reinvigorated Batman with his epic 1986 graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns. Only Miller possessed the required skills to break down and rebuild the darkest of brooding super heroes. I’m happy to say the wait for part two of the animated movie was worth it. No punches are pulled in Goodman’s re-sculpted animated film. Bruce has a lot on his plate in part two. Joker has awakened from his state of catatonia and his zeal for death is overwhelming. Not only does Bats have this to deal with that, but we have a new overtly militant commissioner, a city on the brink of collapse, and the militarized Man of Steel (Mark Valley) who takes orders somewhat blindly from this universe’s Ronald Reagan. If you enjoyed The Dark Knight Returns: Part One, then you’ll enjoy this as well. Just be ready for the unmitigated brutality that awaits.

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Michael Emerson (Lost) takes his Joker voice duties seriously, delivering the most ghoulish version the animated world has seen thus far. Joker kills a lot of innocents, that’s nothing new, but Emerson’s inflection and commitment draw raw insanity from the pivotal Batman villain. The life or death fight between Batman and Joker is the shining point in Bruce’s animated career (until Clark steps into the ring). Kudos to Goodman for sticking so tightly to the source material, often times recreating panels and dialogue verbatim. Joker has always been the ultimate DC comic villain, and I’m glad they played him as the insane monster that he truly is. In the end he gets nothing less than what he deserves, and still manages to bloody Batman’s hands on his way down. Not that this Batman has any qualms about bloodying his own. Bruce’s sense of non-lethal action is missing in this universe.

While I loved the added drama with the Sons of Batman, topless Nazi gang leaders, the rapidly approaching Cold War, and Batman viewed as the villains he once thwarted, the real prize is the one on one fight with his old friend, Superman. Clark plays his role well as a weapon for the US Government, tipping the scales of nuclear war when it’s all said and done. America’s enemies have dwindled at the hands of Krypton’s son, now Bruce has grappled to public enemy number one, at least in the eyes of the government. Clark takes no delight in his brawl with his old friend and teammate. Something I can’t say for Bruce, who employees a one-armed Green Arrow to take a kill shot of sorts. Kryptonite arrow, anyone?

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Batman dons a special suit to protect him from Clark’s unmatched physical powers (and to hold his guts in as Alfred mentions) and accepts his old friend’s invitation to sort things out in Crime Alley. The brawl is incredible, providing nerds the world over with a Batman/Superman fight we’ve all itched to see animated. Thus far, only Batman’s fight to the death with Joker has been nearly as exciting, and you can see them both in the same film – so that’s all bonus at this point. Bruce holds his own against Clark, who’s still pleading with his old friend to let it go. Bruce sees his opening, and like the master thinker he is, asks the jaded and pissed off Green Arrow to provide an eye-opening shot. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you haven’t read the original – you must be from an alternate universe.

The Dark Night Returns Part 2 is DC’s shining animated diamond at the moment, reaching into depths of darkness I never expected. Hats off to Miller and DC for daring to take things this far, something Marvel has always struggling with. The Batman is the greatest comic character – no other character has such justified reasons for complexity of character. I cringed with each bone-crunching blow, taking great care to blast my receiver to match the violence. If you’re a fan of The Batman, this is the best DC has offered thus far. No other character has such an amazing stack of resources to pull from. It makes us ponder of we’ll ever see graphic novels like Hush or The Long Halloween making it to Blu Ray.

About Fister Roboto (2239 Articles)
Just ring it up with the dong tea...

5 Comments on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

  1. Oh yeah!!! Just got it, watching it now 😀

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