The Dark Knight Returns is an animated adaptation of Frank Millers 1986 original and highly successful graphic novel. DC’s favourite masked vigilante and cape crusader, Batman, reprises his role as The Dark Knight.
Over the generations Batman has had many faces, but as The Dark Knight the tone has always carried a darker presence. The Dark Knight is a comic book hero for blood thirsty adults who seek redemption via knocking pain into Gothem’s criminals and knocking the lights out of others. Frank Millers masterpiece is no different, but within this animated novel there carries more then just packed punches, the underlying political themes of trust and injustice and rife.
If you’re unfamiliar with the tale, it kicks off with a retired and rather old Bruce Wayne. To some this may come as an uncomfortable shock, I for one was surprised and slightly off ease witnessing my fellow hero and idol bowing to father time. Well, at least that’s what I thought! As the story progresses Gothem’s grey haired knight is forced to adopt his alias in order to protect his home, his one true love, his city. It seems everyone cares about age apart from Bruce himself. Without hesitance Batman brutally serves vigilante justice in the mist of a mutant uprising, and pummels the obstacle called age into submission.
Although a great representation in itself, Part 1 is thrown in shadow of part 2! This is where things get real interesting. Batman’s personal pain in the ass, The Joker, is introduced. As psychotic as ever, he pushes Batman into mental obscurity. Playing on the aged hero being tired, impatient and edgy, Batman closely dances in and out the lines of the law, becoming ever closer to criminals he is trying to stop.
Commissioner Gordon retires, and DC’s pinup boy Superman is ordered to put an end to the Batman and his antics. The collision of these two ‘heroes’ is epic. Many fanboys (and girls) have been waiting to see this for a long time, imaging who would win and how it would unfold. To grasp the level of this monumental collision these comparisons come to mind. Think Wolverine vs The Hulk (if you haven’t seen this, I shake my head at thee), think The Rock vs Stone Cold WrestleMania, think Buffy vs Glory! The action is brutal, the chorography is bliss, it remains very ‘Batman’, all of which is greatly entertaining. The conclusive fight with the patriotic Superman and the Gothem serving Batman makes this DVD worth a watch alone.
We all know this phrase ‘must watch’ is simply thrown out there too much with little reprise. So what makes The Dark Knight Returns a must watch?
- The voice acting from the main characters are amazing, convincing and this adds to the moody aura of Gothem and its inhabitants. Unfortunately this is let down by some of the background characters who lack conviction.
- The conversion from the original graphic novel to animated movie is excellent and remains true in look and tale.
- The animation may be loved by some and loathed by others. Pastel colours are prevalent and rigid lines are true to other DC cartoons
Conclusion – A must see.