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'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2' Blu-ray Review

The second part of the 'classic' story is here. Find out how it compares to Part 1.

Everyone has to agree that BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS not only changed Batman comics but pretty much comics in general. The story by Frank Miller brought about a darker and grittier edge to comics that wasn't really seen too often. Bringing the story to animated form was both exciting and scary at the same time. Back in September we had the first part and now the second part is available to everyone.

I mentioned in my review for the first part that I did really like it but I didn't love it. In this part, some of the same problems naturally still apply.

For better or for worse, the story feels a tiny bit dated and there isn't an effort made to rectify this. Sure it could have been tweaked to fit in better today but that would be wrong. If an adaptation is to be made, it should retain the same feel. Going back and reading the original story, you'll get the same, slightly dated feel.

The bigger problem for me was the choice of some of the voice actors. I've pretty much never really had a problem with the choices made. Unfortunately some here just don't sound right to me. I mentioned that Peter Weller as the Dark Knight takes some getting used to. I just imagine this older Batman having an even rougher and grittier voice than any we've heard before. Weller does a great job delivering his lines but it's more the sound and tone of his voice doesn't have that harder sound. I also mentioned similar problems with David Shelby as Commissioner Gordon. Gordon is a pretty big-sized character here but he doesn't really have a booming voice to fit his frame.

== TEASER ==

As for Michael Emerson as Joker...again, the lines are well delivered. I think I might have to watch those Joker scenes again to really form a decision. We definitely have a different Joker here, as we should. If it hasn't already been mentioned, hearing Conan O'Brien as the talk show host was pretty cool.

If you look back at the first movie or the first half of the comics, this part soars above it. We almost have two separate movies. The first half mainly deals with Joker. This is definitely where the movie earns its PG-13 rating. We know Joker is a sick and twisted character. If you've read the comic, you know what he's capable of here.

There is plenty of Joker-violence showing how easy it could be for Batman to cross the line. People die. There's is blood. You'll see people get shot and stabbed. It's a little unsettling but at the same time, it's part of the nature of the story. This is Batman at the end. Seeing their confrontation in animated form was worth the wait from September.

Then of course there's Superman.

When the story was released, it really gave readers what they wanted, Batman vs. Superman. Throughout, we see Superman's action as he responds to the President. When it's time for the confrontation between Batman and Superman, it's pretty epic.

Special Features

Superman vs. Batman: When Heroes Collide (9:24) Bob Goodman (screenwriter), Michael Uslan (exec producer Dark Knight Rises), Mike Carlin Creative Director Animation, Denny O'Neil (editor) Richard Rader, PhD (Lecturer, Dept. of Classics, UCLA), Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison talk about the conflict between the two. Who would win? How the story plays out, all the killing here. It's a great feature hearing about the characters over time.

The Joker: Laughing in the Face of Death (14:05) Bruce Timm, Grant Morrison, Richard Rader, PhD., Denny O' Neil, Michael Uslan, Jerry Robinson and Michael Emerson discuss what makes Joker tick. There's a deep look at his relationship with Batman over the years. His kills weren't really too graphic before. There are some interesting comparisons to other villains such as Moriarty. Heroes are defined by their villains and Joker really defines who Batman is.

From Sketch to Screen: Exploring the Adaptation Process with Jay Oliva (43:30) Oliva is the director of both parts. He discusses looking at the comics and what can and can't really be done. Capturing the spirit of the scenes and making minor changes when necessary. There are some great looks at the storyboards and insight into making the movies.

"The Last Laugh" from Batman: The Animated Series

"The Man Who Killed Batman" from Batman: The Animated Series

"Battle of the Superheroes!" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Digital Comic excerpt from the Graphic Novel The Dark Knight Falls (book 4) by Frank Miller

Overall, it's not a perfect adaptation. But there's no denying this is pretty much what we would want. If you're a fan of the story, you'll be pleased to know the filmmakers don't hold back. There is plenty of action and violence. The tone of story is captured and this is the Dark Knight in his final days. Some of the choices for voice acting is questionable but they do a stellar job regardless. There aren't many stories that immediately jump to mind as ones we have to see made into a movie. The Dark Knight Returns is one of them. It's an important part of Batman's mythos and thankfully we get a really good animated version.

47 Comments
Posted by k4tzm4n

Picked up a copy earlier today and I can't wait to watch it soon.

Staff
Posted by karbacca

I thought each part was pretty good. But when you watch both of them together (thats what I did when I get the second one) they make a pretty awesome full movie.

Posted by bookerman20

Picking it up tonight

Posted by impossibilly

I just got back from picking my copy up at Best Buy (complete with Joker figure). I'm looking forward to watching it tonight!

Posted by Spideycap

yeeeehaw!

Posted by InnerVenom123

They did such a good job with Joker.

Posted by SavageDragon

Im waiting for a two disc part 1 and part 2!

Edited by Reignmaker

Generally I'm not a fan of these direct-to-DVD comic book adaptions. While comic books as a whole have clearly matured to 'graphic novel' status - I still like my cartoons to be accessible to younger viewers. Slapping a PG-13 rating on a cartoon just feels weird to me.

I'll likely wait for the live-action adaption or maybe check it out if it comes to Netflix.

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

Now all the good, best, features are on Blueray. Slowly regular DVDs will go the way of the VHS tapes. I don't have a blueray player. Darn it.

I'm sort of waiting for part 1 and 2 to be sold in a two pack.

Posted by kennybaese

I'm still holding out hope that both parts will be released on either one disk or edited together into one feature.

Worst case, I'll just go buy both parts when they're cheap on the Amazon.

Posted by MuyJingo

Can you weigh in on if you think Batman won the confrontation or not? Somehow some people don't consider Batman to have won, despite Superman on the ground at his mercy....something I just don't get.

I really enjoyed the film, and though Weller did an excellent job as the older, gruffer Batman. It was a bit strange to hear but I think it suited perfectly.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

Bruce Cambell ain't got nothin on Batmans Chin...

Online
Posted by dementedtheclown

:;Spoilers;:

Joker felt a little out of place, but I chalked it up to him being elderly and literally on his last laugh.

This story was like Breaking Bad for Batman. Batman broke his own rules, he broke supermans rules, and he did what he felt neeeded to be done before he was too old to do it. He cleaned up the streets, HIS streets, he started a movement, and gave Gotham a future. He ALSO gave Superman a wake up call, no longer a boyscout, and even going as far as removing Green Arrows Arm! He always let people decide things for themselves, cause he had no place of say, now he does what "America" says for him to do, including fighting wars, injuring vigilantes, and even killing! I never read the comic but I'd really like to know what the hell happened to Superman!

Posted by Mr_Faraday

Personally I liked part 1 just a little bit more than part 2. Didn't really like the joker part of the movie all that much, it just didnt live up to my expectations of a final confrontation with the joker.

Posted by IsmoOC

Expectacular, I totally loved this movie. It's even better that The Dark Knight Rises.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

@TheCheeseStabber said:

Bruce Cambell ain't got nothin on Batmans Chin...

QFT

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Can't wait to watch it!!!! i love watching this moviie at the same time reading the book!!!

Online
Posted by VaizD

Still hoping for an animated version of The Killing Joke one of these days.

Posted by FiguredOut95

@TheCheeseStabber: Batman only has that chin because Bruce Campbell allows him to.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

@FiguredOut95: Oh those are fighting words :P

Who has The Manlier Chin Bruce Cambell or Batsey

I need to get his book

Online
Posted by k4tzm4n

Alright, just watched it. The first act or so didn't really pull me in, but after that so many moments gave me goosebumps.  Loved it.

Staff
Posted by Vincie_Pooh

Enough said... Superman Vs. Batman.Can't wait to see how this is. Loved the comic glad to see this now.

Posted by FatihBATMAN

nice!

Posted by FatihBATMAN

Nice review G-Man!

Posted by Sidious

I really would have loved it if they had kept the narration in this one.

Or at least made it like a commentary track you could turn on and off.

Posted by JamDamage

this was just as good as part 1. They did a great job with it. I wish they had some narraration like they did in animate Year One. The narrartion worked well there, I'm suprised they did use it again. Part of Millers writing is his dialogue, and narrartion. Still, the story was strong. Actually more violent then the book in a lot of parts, and I enjoyed the added action. Normally I don't, but it worked for this movie. The voice over work was a bit off sometimes but not enough to kill the movie. I'm sure I'll watch both films back to back in the coming days and really be blow away. Very very good adaptation.

Posted by saoakden

I need to buy both part 1 & 2. Looking forward to seeing the whole movie. Joker's return and a showdown with Superman, sign me up!

Posted by longbowhunter

I liked part one but loved part two. Spent the afternoon eating chili dogs and watching this with my son.

Posted by CraigWayne

I forgot this came out today but I will be buying my copy tomorrow.Good review here.I enjoyed Part 1 & I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy part 2

Posted by thebluedragon07

http://www.change.org/petitions/cartoon-network-warner-bros-bring-back-young-justice-and-green-lantern-the-animated-series

Edited by benblanks

@ArtisticNeedham: Hey just so you know if you go to Best Buy (this should be at all of them I imagine) part 2 is advertised as 19.99 but they're selling it at 14.99 AND there's a coupon on the case for $5 off if you buy Part 1 with it, which is probably also 14.99 I imagine. So for $25 you could get them both right now. And those are the blu-rays prices I'm talking about (which come with a DVD copy also), not sure if the same coupon is available with the DVD copies, which I know are $10 a piece, so it would only be $15 for the two if the coupon is offered. ...Best Buy should pay me for all this promotional advertising.

I'm bummed I couldn't watch it today, my fiance just HAD to watch Seven Psychopaths...which was an awesome movie I gotta admit. Also an extra $5 just for that crappy little Joker figure is a rip off, if it were a decent sized, and more designed like the book version I'd have been all for it.

Posted by Senno

Anyone know if this will be a part of a two pack in Australia? Or there's a deal on buying this one and getting a discount on Part 1? I've been holding back for this release. I was hopeful it was as good as the comic, and it appears it will be, though without Mark Hamill I'm a little disheartened.

Posted by torrenter

one hell of a movie, i wasn't too fond of a few minor details but i was surprised over a few times during different points in the movie. don't know about you guys, but i hated that robin lol...i dunno maybe i just missed dick/tim/damien. besides that though, jokers part was superb, and the fact that ...(spoilers?) the movie doesn't end there really added to my enjoyment.

Posted by InnerVenom123

@Reignmaker said:

I still like my cartoons to be accessible to younger viewers. Slapping a PG-13 rating on a cartoon just feels weird to me.

Cartoons aren't just for kids. This attitude is wrong. Factually wrong.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

How long until we get a boxed set with both parts? That's what I'm holding out for.

Edited by molotovzav

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 is so satisfying. I feel like I will never see something this satisfying "batman" ever again. Just the best. Super instense, super batman, and "super bitch" for those who have seen it, if you catch my drift. I actually thought the Joker part was really good, I just think that is a last ditch for the Joker and is pretty spot on. But how the Joker confrontation ended :/ meh, but it wasn't enough to ruin the whole experience. That movie is just awesome, and people will hate, but honestly kicked the crap out of Batman the Dark Knight Rises or any batman live action in the last two decades.

Posted by kakanoucia

I actually enjoyed both part 1 and 2 more than I did The Dark Knight Rises. I do see how the issues mentioned in the review could bother some people though. I just felt like I got a more intelligent, tougher Batman and a more epic "comeback" story.

Posted by BoyWander

Saw both online, waiting for them to come as a combo pack deal. This was way more action packed than the first part and it made me smile. So I'll definitely have to buy them at some point.

Posted by Bokkie

Really disliked Robin in those movie's. Just he way it was drawn.. yuk

Posted by entropy_aegis

WOW I'm surprised that they didn't cover up Bruno,it felt totally awkward.Good movie but the whole rivalry with Superman was too much and watching it on animation makes me realize why Superman fans would dislike it.

TDKR part 1 and first half of part 2=everything I want from Batman,rest=Frank Millers insanity.

Posted by NICKXH

I watched Part 2 last week and I thought it was fantastic.

Will defenitely be buying this on Blu Rau when it comes out in the UK.

Posted by ravisher

10/10 movie

Posted by BransonHuggins

@MuyJingo: Does it really matter what someone else thinks though? What matters is what you think. The point is that there is no real winner there, it was left this way on purpose. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, it is what it is.

Posted by spidermonkey2099

Picked it up earlier today and watched Part 1 and Part 2 back to back. I was thoroughly entertained. Definitely one of my favorites of this line of animated films.

Posted by FemmeFeline

Wonderful animated film. Met all my expectations and then some!

Posted by weaponx

Wow, I was pretty impressed. It has always been really hard for me to see Bruce as an old man, but part 2 really blew me away. One of my favorite animated films of all time! Well done!

(I agree some of the voices could be better but the movie is still very good despite that, and I also think it was better than Dark Knight Rises)

Edited by lilben42

It did not meet my expectations and felt really rushed. The confrontation with Joker was anti climatic and disapointing. Can someone tell me is Joker really dead? Superman vs Batman was great. I just don't think it was as good as part 1.But still a great movie.