The Dark Knight Returns part 2
The Dark Knight Returns part 2 2013
It’s early into the year, and already time for the first superhero movie of the year, and it’s a doozy. I’ve mentioned time and time again how much I enjoy DC’s animated features, and the part 1 was quite good. Part 2 surpasses it in every way and easily overtook Under the Red Hood as my favorite of the bunch, and may even go up a couple notches on my overall top 10. Even though it’s an adaptation of a known comic book story, it’s one I hadn’t read and I was glad I hadn’t because it went to so many places I would have never expected for a Batman story. It’s the bloodiest DC movie I’ve seen aside from Watchmen, but it’s used in all the right ways. If you’re a fan of Batman at all, you must check this movie out, and while part 1 sets things up for what happens in this part, it can easily be watched as a stand alone piece with little confusion.
The first part has Batman coming out of retirement and Commissioner Gordon going into retirement. Batman still has what it takes even at his age and shows his worth taking out a mutant leader, inspiring a young girl named Carrie Kelly to become the next Robin, some of the ex-gang members to become a pseudo-vigilante group called the Sons of Batman, as well as the Joker to come out of his unresponsive state. If you hadn’t seen the first part yet, it almost immediately shows you that it’s not your kid’s Batman when the first thug that shows up is a brute of a woman named Bruno with Swastikas covering her breasts. Then it moves on to some very bloody and violent scenes with the Joker and his henchman before going into a full on brawl between Batman and Superman.
The voice acting was a little interesting this time around. Peter Weller does a great job again as Batman, and Michael Emerson comes in as the voice of the Joker. It’s a tough job nowadays to live up to the great performances of the past, especially Mark Hamill, but he really makes it his own. It’s a much quieter and yet more sinister version of the Joker than I’m used to, though he does become a little more lively towards the end. The entire arc with the Joker had a lot of turns in the story that threw me for a loop, with a couple deaths that had a pretty major impact. It’s also interesting to see what became of Selina Kyle, who’s let herself go quite a bit, looking like an older Elizabeth Taylor and running a brothel.
Aside from the Batman story, there’s also a subplot featuring Superman. Like the Watchmen which I just watched, this is set in a somewhat alternate 1980’s. Reagan is still the President, and there’s a full blown conflict with Russia. Superman, like Dr. Manhattan, is working for the government to help win the war, and they actually do fire a nuclear missile which is diverted by Superman but still explodes close enough to create an EMP knocking out the country’s power, and a perpetual cloud over the country. This creates chaos in the US, but Batman uses his influence to restore order in Gotham City. That, along with the situation involving the Joker leaves him out of favor with the government and they send Superman to take him out for good.
I’m not lying when I say that this is one of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen. It’s not very often that you get the chance to see an epic battle between Superman and Batman, to the death. Batman has an Iron Man-like suit, and the nuclear fallout cloud leaves Superman at least somewhat weakened due to the lack of a proper sun, so they are on more or less equal footing, and it is spectacular to watch. There is some amazing animation at play here and Batman of course has some tricks up his sleeve. The ending, which I won’t spoil, is on par with the Dark Knight Rises ending.
One of the very few gripes I have with this movie is the design for Superman. There’s a scene fairly early on with Clark talking to Bruce, and Clark literally looks like he came straight from the cover of a cheap romance novel, complete with Falcon on his arm. I know he doesn’t age the same as the other characters, but he also thought he looked a little bit too young compared to Bruce. Carrie Kelly was also a character I didn’t too much care for in the first part, and while she did get a little more screen time and development in this part, she still felt just a little bit shallow and underutilized. But overall, this has quickly become my favorite DC animated movie to date and it is absolutely worth a watch if you’re at all a fan of Batman. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.