16 March 2016 | kdavies-69347
Batman - The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2
DC's 'comic book to film' adaptations are usually single title releases. They are one offs, usually telling a larger story overall with lose connections between films. That's where 'The Dark Knight Returns' excels above previous Batman animation titles. It's more than just one small part of the main story. DC animation presents the whole of Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" series in two parts, as the second half somehow excels amazingly above the first.
The second half takes place only a short time after the end of the first. Gotham has been liberated from the grip of fear delivered from the threat of the Mutant Gang. Their leader beaten, their members left faithless and most trying to take up violence in the name of Batman himself. Things are not as simple as they once were. The world has changed since the Bat and his allies waged war against crime and injustice. Now, the United States is willing to go to war with Russia, allies have picked sides and become enemies, and Bruce Wayne is now remembering why he picked up the mantle of the Bat in the first place. On top of all of this new world order, history begins to repeats itself. Old enemies resurface from Batman's past, to take up old grudges in what will inevitably become a battle between righteousness and immorality.
In many ways, Wayne is the best of us. Of all of us. He is a man of great physical and mental ability, with the body and agility of a Olympian, and an intelligence only rivaled by his own willpower fight for justice against evil men. He represents what happens to a man who loses all that is dear to him. A man who uncompromisingly wages war against those who represent the criminal element that has haunted him his whole life. This does not make him a good man, but perhaps the best man to fight against evil has to represent something worse. I think the second part of this series does a fantastic job of showing that side of Bruce Wayne. He has a drive like no other, and his is inflexible in his fight against injustice. So much so that he wages war even upon those he protects if they are willing to cross a certain line. I believe that is the main theme in so many of the modern renditions of Batman, and this film certainly shows it well.
There are very few flaws throughout the second half, which is an amazing feat in itself. The first part is a fantastic movie, and DC Animation did a wonderful job of building these stories back to back, one resting upon the shoulders of the other. They build upon the story at a steady pace although possibly it is a bit rushed within the last 30 minutes of the movie, between 2 epic battles in such a short period of time. The two films are like twin brothers, but the second gets slightly better grades. I think the most important role goes to Michael Emerson as the Joker, who is slightly more effeminate than I expected in tone of voice, but does a good job of showing his mental instability. The jokes fall flat, but the humour is in the sickness of his actions. There are some moments of shocking violence in this movie, but that is the point of the Joker's character, and how far he is willing to delve into chaos, to taunt and insult the Batman until the evil, bitter end.
This film should not be watched without the predecessor however, nor without reading the Frank Miller comic from which it is based, but is a beautiful story to watch. This is easily one of the top films (in both parts) that DC animation has produced so far.