Controversial characters are nothing new to the comic book world, we’ve seen gay characters, mentally and physically handicapped characters and D.C. has added it’s first openly Transgender and bisexual character, in the form of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl)’s roommate, Alysia Yeoh.
What I like best in this is Barbara’s reaction to the ‘coming out’ of her roommate it’s incredibly human and realistic. There’s no preachyness, no Jerry Springer shock, no sappy “the more you know” after-school acceptance speech . She just accepts her for who she is and embraces her for having the strength and trust to share something so personal.
This comes on the coat tails of D.C.s recent hire of Orson Scott Card, known well for his often inflammatory anti-gay statements. Perhaps D.C. decided to green-light this to offset the ire that has caused.
Batgirl writer Gail Simone had this to say about the character she created and what it means for some well entrenched barriers in the comicbook world “[A]lmost all the tent-poles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on,” she said. “It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ for all eternity.”
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!
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?
Those questions continued to be answered in the exciting sequel to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, with Ariel Winter, Peter Weller and Michael Emerson reprising their roles in this super-powered conclusion to the story.
In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, we find the aging Bruce Wayne with his new sidekick taking on the evils of Gotham’s underworld. But with Batman traditionally having always walked a fine line between vigilante and crime-fighter, he crosses that line in blood soaked style as he raises a gun toting army to rid Gotham of crime once and for all.
The city desperate to regain control from the war between the criminals and Batman who has switched to a take no prisoners approach; summons Superman to stop the violence once and for all, and if that means destroying Batman in the process, then so be it.
This 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 sometime in January 2013, 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™.
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.
And now for something completely different, a slightly different take on the new Batman movie. It’s disturbingly hilarious, but we’d rate this PG-13 for language and violence, so potentially not safe for work or the kids.
Written & Directed by: Paulilu
Starring: Paul W. Downs as Robin, Luke Scholl as Bane, Bevan Bell as Batman