#14: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1

It’s good to have another animated Batman film out. They are really quite well done and I expect Part 2 to be even better than Part 1.

Before I start with the plot I just want you all to know that if you want the short version, just go read the comic. Really. It is pretty spot on from the comic book (even though yes they do cut some stuff out and change very little but NOT THAT MUCH). So if you have already read the book and you are looking for something new… there isn’t. However it is a great movie and you should watch it regardless because… IT’S BATMAN!!

Plot: Bruce Wayne has been retired from being Batman for a decade after the death of Jason Todd (this movie confirms it does not take place in the same timeline as Under the Red Hood). Commissioner Jim Gordon is also about to retire and a new Commissioner will take over soon. This one however, does not like Batman and will not have the police on his side any more. Despite this however with the presence of a new gang called “The Mutants” on the rise and terrorizing Gotham City, people are running scared and crime is at an all time high. At the same time, Bruce is donating money towards Harvey Dent’s surgery to fix both sides of his face and fix the chances of him returning to normal once more. This plan does not work however because Harvey becomes “all bad” and still is not well despite having all of his face fixed. In order to stop him, Bruce becomes Batman even though it is ill advised by Alfred. Batman stops Harvey and decides to also keep being Batman to take down the Mutant gang. Batman decides to take on the leader of the Mutants in a fight and hopefully stop them once and for all. This proves to not be a good idea because Batman gets the crap kicked out of him and ends up losing. Just as Batman is about to killed, he is saved by a girl named Carrie Kelley dressed in a Robin Costume. The Batmobile takes the both of them to the cave and Batman makes her the new Robin despite pleas from Alfred. Batman then sends the new Robin undercover to go into the mutant gang and arrange them all to be in one area and spread the word that Batman and The Mutant Leader will fight once more. The two of them engage in combat and Batman plays to his intelligence to finally beat him and end the Mutant Gang once and for all. The gang then renames itself “Sons of the Batman“, a group devoted to the cleaning of crime from Gotham no matter what it takes. As this is all being reported on the news, we see The Joker in Arkham Asylum smiling at the very end of the movie.

Wow. I have to say that this movie is in my top 3 of best Batman Animated Movies. Those three would be this movie, Mask of the Phantasm, and Under the Red Hood. Batman: Year One was not that great to me. It was only about Commissioner Gordon. Anyways …

I have to say that if you buy the DVD you get a special sneak peak at Part 2 which will come out in the Winter of 2013. And by that I hope they are talking about January or February 2013… right??? Ugghh.. probably not with my luck. It’ll probably be December 2013 as we know it. I am really looking forward to Part 2 because that is the better half in my opinion. I really don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who have not read the comic but… there are a TON of shocker moments and it will leave you speechless. If they get this right then Part 2 will be the best Animated Batman movie to date. For reals.

That being said there is only one complaint I have. Well really it’s two but it is in the same area so just consider it as one ok? Here it is: WHAT HAPPENED TO KEVIN CONROY??!?! To me, he is the only guy who can play Batman’s voice. I mean sure Bruce Greenwood is okay but when you want to hear Batman’s REAL voice… there’s no comparison. I can see why they didn’t use him because they want an older Batman and they want his voice to be a bit more bitter and edgier. I get that. But considering that Kevin Conroy played Bruce Wayne in his 70’s-80’s in Batman Beyond, why wouldn’t they use him for this film? Whatever I just don’t get it.

The other thing to note is The Joker. Throughout the film we see him in small scenes where he is just sitting there watching the TV. We all know it is him: Green Hair, a certain creepiness about him, the works. But he appears to be normal (and by that I mean like a normal human being). I know he is like this in the comics as well but to this day I still don’t understand. Is he cured? Or sedated? Well at the end of the film he appears to be his NORMAL self and crazy again. So what with all the secrecy and deception? Whatever I just don’t get it. Also no he is not voiced by the legendary Mark Hamill. It’s that guy from LOST … uhh… god I forget his name…. it’s uhh.. Michael Emerson. Yeah. I wish it was John DiMaggio (you might know him as Bender) again cause he was amazing in Under the Red Hood film. Again I just don’t get it but it wasn’t MY IDEA.

Other than the disappointment of it not being the great cast we know and love, there really are no other complaints at my end. I really did enjoy this film and, despite the LONG wait, I am super excited for Part 2. Be on the lookout for it in Winter 2013 and be hopeful that it will be just as awesome as this movie. Even though we all know that it will be.

IMDB Score: 8.0

My Score: 9.0

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