Batman: The Dark knight Returns Part 1 Review

Dark_knight_returnsSo a little while ago, I had tweeted that I was going to review all the animated movies from both Marvel and DC. Since this is the latest one I figured I’d start here.

Now, I will say that I roughly remember the events of the famed (and I mean really famed) graphic novel, but from what I do remember, this animated feature is pretty dead on in terms of how it is depicted. I do believe that the opening race car scene was added however, but I could be wrong. The first 15 minutes is really a catch up to the moment where Bruce realizes that he cant take the city destroying itself anymore. The iconic cover of the series (Above) happens at 17m43s in, and it’s beautifully done. It’s also another one of those moments where I don’t remember if it was done in the comics or not. From there on to the climatic, cliffhanging ending, it does feel a little rushed which is sometimes a fault to these stories I feel.

There are a lot of interesting concepts and themes introduced to the character, which gives the movie depth in terms of relatability. One being: Does the Batman create his adversaries? In a way yes, he does. BATMAN IS JUST AS CRAZY as his villains, just with a better moral compass. He wears a bat costume and fights crime against impossible odds. As cool as that is, it’s crazy. If Bruce had gotten the psychiatric therapy he needed after his parents murder, we wouldn’t have Batman (as a comic nerd/geek, lets just all be happy he didn’t). I did enjoy the fact that Miller used the death of Jason Todd as part of the reason he stopped being Batman. I never understood how you become the legal guardian of this child, he gets killed, and seemingly, you do nothing. Didn’t try to avenge him, nothing. Just replaced him with Tim Drake and then Damian, his son. Those and many other elements are present in the book, and translate well here to make the cartoon accessible to adults and children alike.

Two of the BEST things about DC’s direct to dvd animated features, is how they try to recreate the artists work from the source material to screen, and how faithful to the book the movie is. Outside of cutting things down to fit time constraints or expanding the story to really give you the scope of the story, if memory serves right, it is about 98% accurate to the book (I’ve said above where I think it deviates). The original limited series was “coloured” by/with water colours by Lynn Varley  (Inked by Klaus Janson, Penciled by Writer: Frank Miller). Why that style was chosen, I don’t know, but for whatever reason, it works and it works in this movie. Though I’m sure it wasn’t water colour they used, vs just using “lighter colours, hues, and contrasts”. The overall animation is great, since Superman: Doomsday, the animation has just been getting progressively better.

The rating system is as follows. The 1st rating is what you really want, the rest is just what I thought of each other category as it’s listed (art/animation is how the movie translates the art from the book in animation).

  • Overall: 4.8
  • Art/Animation: 4.8
  • Voiceover Work: 5
  • True to the Source Material: 5

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

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Comic nerd. Movie lover Director Gaffer/Lighting Tech D.O.P. Photographer

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