Part 2 of The Dark Knight Returns came out January 29th which meant I got to watch both Part 1 and 2 back to back and write this wonderful review for you.
When it comes to animated superhero movies, I’ve never seen the kind of hype that surrounded this particular one. Based on the Frank Miller 1980s graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns animated movie lived up to and surpassed the original source material that had changed the superhero genre into a more serious and darker version of itself. The decision of splitting the movie into two parts was a smart move considering the amount of content in the graphic novel.
Part 1 sets the scene for us by going decades into the future, where Batman hasn’t been around for 10 years and has become a myth. Crime is at its peak thanks to The Mutant Gang and Commissioner Gordon is a month away from retirement. Unable to just stand by anymore, an aging Bruce Wayne returns to the cowl in order to rid Gotham of the criminal figure. This part of the movie really does answer the question of whether or not Batman is the creation of his surroundings, as the brutality level is turned up in order to go toe to toe with this new generation of criminals. Old favourites return like Two Face and new additions like Carrie Kelly as the new Robin. Overall, the first half was a great way to set up Part 2, which I like to see as the climax of the film.
In Part 2, things get revved up when Joker returns (let’s be honest, there’s no Batman without our favourite psychotic clown) and Gotham gets an anti-Batman Commissioner who deems Batman a wanted criminal. Throw in the appearance of Superman, Selina Kyle, Oliver Queen, and a global crisis and you have yourself a great way to end an amazing film. I honestly got teary eyed while watching some parts as a Bat-fan.
With that said, I can’t say the movie was without flaws. There were moments where women were depicted poorly. There was a lady newscaster who wore a shirt that said: “All this and brains too,” a villain that was topless with nothing but swastikas covering her nipples and a female news anchor who states, “I don’t know what to wear” when reporting on the messed up weather. Even though it’s an adaptation, it still made me cringe. It’s sad though given the strong females we’re given in contrast (Carrie Kelly/Robin and Commissioner Elle Yindel). So that’s why I’m going to give this film 4.5 out of 5.