The elderly Dark Knight is forced out of retirement to battle the Joker, the Gotham City Police, possible nuclear destruction, and the strong if misguided wrath of Superman!
The Joker’s loose and blowing stuff up with the help of the Puppetmaster, in general creating as much havoc as possible before forcing Batman (Peter Weller) to break his damnable neck in a fit of rage. Batman is big about control, and this is something only lightly touched on in the Joker (Michael Emerson) segment, which is a shame since Joker’s supposed to be his greatest nemesis. In the end, Joker has the last laugh as he always does, and takes his own life, but in such a way that sets the GCPD on Batman for murder; whee! Poor Joker is hardly the focus of Part 2, which is again a shame, as far as I could see the main reason he was there was to set into motion a nuclear strike that would toss the whole world into utter chaos. He almost succeeded too. His chaotic nature, his complete lack of control that spreads to everything that holds his attention long enough, is what I think makes the Joker such a dangerous and yet compelling villain in the Batman universe.
Batman, like Superman, is a timeless vigilante superhero, the brooding caped crusader who swoops in from the shadows to tromp those bad guys. So when we’re offered Frank Miller’s (300, Sin City) 1986 comic book story arc made into an animated movie? We say yes please!
The animated film has Bruce Wayne as a much older man, bitter and haunted by his past, especially the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. (Several oblique references are made to “what happened to Jason” throughout the film, so there you go.) He hung up Batman’s cowl some ten years ago, to concentrate on philanthropic things like having Harvey Dent’s face fixed while he’s in Arkham House. But in the meantime, even with the Joker and other classic villains stuck in Arkham, a new terror has arisen to plunder Gotham City. Calling themselves the Mutants, they talk and dress oddly, but apparently possess no actual mutant powers other than unnatural strength (in the Leader anyway) and violent psychosis. The same night Harvey Dent (Wade Williams) is released from Arkham and disappears, Wayne has a break and dons his cowl in remembered fury.
Batman swings into the night and begins taking out bad guys, saving one Carrie Kelley (Ariel Winter) from some Mutants and putting the hero-worship stars in her eyes, to the point where she thinks to take up Robin’s costume and join him in crime-fighting. Commissioner Gordon (David Selby), close to retiring but still ready to crack skulls on crime, turns the Bat signal on the city and a shiver of fear runs through the heart of every criminal. Public opinion swings back and forth like a pendulum; is Batman a hero or a menace, and how can we stop or help him? Wayne’s Butler Alfred is still about, dry and helpful as ever, constantly patching up his master and tsking at every opportunity. All too soon things culminate, and Batman arranges a showdown between the Mutant Leader, a “man” in his prime and built like a tank, and himself, the aging and yet fiercely determined Dark Knight!
The atmosphere all but reeks of Frank Miller’s unique style, similar to Sin City without the lack of coloring. Like Tim Burton’s two Batman movies, or the Batman the Animated Series from the 90’s, dark colors in greys and blues and browns (not a ton of black) dominate the landscape and give the viewer a treat of almost actually being there. The generation gap between the younger and veteran cops, the common and wealthy folk of the city, and the enduring legend of Batman, is very noticeable in the film. Particularly an awesome scene with a rookie and veteran cop chasing down Mutants that Batman’s already gone after, the rookie wants to haul Batman in for vigilantism, while the veteran calmly stands back and is all like, hey let Bats do his thing. Peter Weller is the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman, and manages to bring across a feeling of an older man who can still kick your ass when roused. He gets the best lines too, especially where he’s fighting the Mutant Leader in a mud pit and declares that this is actually an operating table, and Batman is the surgeon. The constant news reports and opinions from both spectrums of life, law and order vs. necessary vigilantism, give the whole picture for the viewer to enjoy. And the generation gap, while glaring and obvious, gives way to the idea that what Batman stands for is timeless, an idea, a symbol, a way of living that can turn around even the most hardened criminal into a Son of Batman!
Epic Animated Conclusion to Frank Miller’s Comic Masterpiece
Comes to Blu-rayTM Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand & For Digital Download
BURBANK, CA (December 17, 2012) – Batman must battle old friends and foes on two fronts in the epic animated conclusion to Frank Miller’s masterpiece in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe animated original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives January 29, 2013 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ combo pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), on demand and for digital download.
With Gotham City back under his watchful eye, and accompanied by able sidekick Robin, Batman continues to battle crime – but his resurgence awakens a far worse evil at Arkham Asylum: The Joker. In the meantime, Superman has been dispatched by the President to halt Batman’s unsanctioned reign by whatever means necessary. Between the Joker’s diabolical scheme to drag Batman to the darkest levels of insanity, and the Man of Steel’s seemingly invincible physical presence, the Dark Knight must confront adversaries and allies simultaneously while maintaining the peace in Gotham City.
Primetime television stars Michael Emerson (Person of Interest, Lost) and Mark Valley (Human Target, Fringe) join the voice cast as The Joker and Superman, respectively; and popular talk show host Conan O’Brien gives voice to animated talk show host Dave Endochrine. Fanboy favorite Peter Weller (RoboCop, Dexter) continues as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and he is once again accompanied by David Selby (The Social Network, Dark Shadows) as Commissioner Gordon, Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Carrie/Robin, and Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap) as Dr. Bartholomew Wolper. Also featured in the voice cast is Maria Canals-Barrrera (Wizards of Waverly Place) as new Commissioner Yindel, Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) as Lana Lang, and Radio Hall of Fame member Michael Jackson as Alfred.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 is directed by Jay Oliva (Man of Steel, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights) from a screenplay by Bob Goodman (Warehouse 13).
The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will have a lot of pretty cool features, including a digital comic, a handful of featurettes, some bonus episodes from Batman animated series past, and a sneak peek at the next direct-to-video movie Superman: Unbound- and it will also include the new digital distribution system UltraViolet™ – which we think is unfortunate, because to us it just looks like DRM again, in a wig and a dress. The plan there is to make us pay for the same content over and over again for different platforms. We’ll take the movie, thanks, but you can leave the UltraViolet™ part out, just give us the content on the Blu-Ray for a fair price, and it’s a done deal.
All that said, the direct-to-video movies that Warner Home Entertainment has been releasing have been worth buying, and if you bought the first part, you’ll obviously want the second part to go with it.
If anyone has comments on the UltraViolet system, we’d love to hear them, by the way. Do you love it? Hate it? What do you think?
Batman has not been seen for ten years. A new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era?
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, the next entry in the popular ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, is produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives September 25, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for download. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will include UltraViolet™.
This, of course, implies that there’s going to be a Part 2 – meaning that we’re in for one heck of an epic story arc, and they’re going to take their time and tell the entire story.
In this one, the surprise casting choice is Peter Weller as the title character. We can hardly wait to see what Weller does with the role. “Buckaroo Batman”.
BURBANK, CA – Frank Miller’s landmark graphic novel about fear, hope and redemption is celebrated with proper measures of haunting visuals and intense action in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives September 25, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for Download. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will include UltraViolet™.
The DC Universe Animated Original Movies have been a fan favorite since debuting in 2007 with Superman Doomsday. Now averaging three releases each year, the DCU animated films are based on classic tales from DC Comics’ revered library or original stories featuring DC’s fabled characters. Stars of feature film and primetime television populate the stellar voice casts of the DCU animated films. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 represents the 15th film in the ongoing series.
Fanboy demi-god Peter Weller (RoboCop) leads a stellar voice cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Joining Weller behind the microphone is David Selby (The Social Network, Dark Shadows) as Commissioner Gordon, Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Carrie/Robin, three-time DCU veteran Wade Williams (Prison Break) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, and Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap) as Dr. Bartholomew Wolper.
In the bleak and ominous future of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, it’s been a decade since Bruce Wayne hung up his cape, following most of the other superheroes who had been forced into retirement. Facing the downside of middle age, a restless Bruce Wayne pacifies his frustration with racecars and liquor – but the Bat still beckons as he watches his city fall prey to gangs of barbaric criminals known as The Mutants.
The return of Harvey Dent as Two-Face finally prompts Wayne to once again don the Dark Knight’s cowl, and his dramatic capture of the villain returns him to crime-fighting – simultaneously making him the target of law enforcement and the new hope for a desolate Gotham City. Particularly inspired is a teenage girl named Carrie, who adopts the persona of Robin and ultimately saves Batman from a brutal attack by the Mutant leader. Armed with a new sidekick, and re-energized with a definitive purpose, the Dark Knight returns to protect Gotham from foes new … and old.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is directed by Jay Oliva (Man of Steel, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights) from a screenplay by Bob Goodman (Warehouse 13). Sam Register (Young Justice, Teen Titans, Ben 10) and Bruce Timm (Justice League: Doom) are the executive producers. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 will provide the epic story’s thrilling conclusion with its release in early 2013.
“Frank Miller’s classic re-imagining of Batman has been faithfully recreated under Bruce Timm’s skilled guidance as a masterpiece of storytelling,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Home Video Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing and Partner Brands. “This story has been treated with great reverence, including a tour-de-force performance by science fiction legend Peter Weller as the voice of Batman. We know our fans will not only love this film as a stand-alone, but will clamor for the release of the second half next year.”
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has more
than 2 hours of exciting content, including:
• Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
• Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, the next DC
Universe Animated Original Movie
• Featurette – “Her Name is Carrie … Her Role is Robin” – An all-new
featurette. Experience the role of Robin, through the eyes of a
• Featurette – “Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story” – A documentary
comprehensively chronicling the remarkable life of the creator of
• Two bonus episodes from Batman: The Animated Series handpicked by
producer Alan Burnett: Two-Face, Parts 1 and 2
• Digital Comic – “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” (digital comic
with cover art and three full comic pages)
* Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 UltraViolet offer is a
limited time offer. Restrictions and limitations apply. Go to
ultraviolet.flixster .com/info for details.
Sometimes not giving up makes all the difference. Don't give up.