The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Reivew.
By the early 80’s the Batman franchise was on it last legs. That all changed with Frank Miller’s 1986 four-issue series The Dark Knight Returns. Sparking a major resurgence in the character’s popularity.
The story was set around a 55 year old Bruce Wayne, who has been retired from Batman for the last ten years. In that time Gotham City crime rate has gone thought the roof. Wayne has hit the bottle hard and near suicide. As Wayne watches the city crumbles around him. He finds that is calling is calling back into action.
Miller created a far darker Batman than what had been seen before and in doing so created one of the greatest Batman stories of all time that has gone on to influence Batman to this day. (This can be seen in Norlan Batman films.)
The idea of attempting to adapt this story for the screen was worrisome but DC has a good track record when it comes to its original animated movies. (Shame the same can’t be said for the live action with Norlan Batman films being the exception.) But after seeing the first trailer for the film I knew that there was nothing to be worried about.
Director Jay Oliva and writer Bob Goodman have stuck to Miller’s Book and brought a faith version to the screen. Nearly all of the Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is taken straight from the book, including the shift between Batman story and the ongoing news broadcast. While the broadcast add to the story at the same time they do slow the pace of the film, but this is not a major issue.
The atmosphere of Miller’s world is created perfectly for the screen, making it the darkest Batman film to-date. This is the first story where see a truly frightening image of a violent Batman breaking bones and beating a criminal to a bloody mess. Making this truly adult Batman film.
The style of the film has stayed true to Miller’s artwork, which looks great in animation foam
While most fans of Batman will say Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman, (he done a great job with the role from Batman the animated series all the way up to the last Batman game Batman: Arkham City.) Peter Weller (Robocop) has been brought in to bring a strong and stray monotone version of Batman which really suits this story done to a T.
The rest of cast has been cast very well. They only failed with casting David Selby (Social Network) as Commissioner Gordon, as he plays the character with light tones and this sound strange for a character that seen a lot of evil in his many years on the force.
The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is truly one of the great Batman films to date with the dark, gritty tones, iconic characters and thrilling action scene. This is one film not to miss.
The only down side is that the story is spit into two. This is due to DC animated films running no longer than 75 mins. DC could get away with this story running at a full two hours.
I give this film 4.5 out 5.
The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 is due out in early 2013.
Batman: You don’t get it, boy… this isn’t a mudhole… it’s an operating table. And I’m the surgeon.