gottheit's The Dark Knight Returns: Part One review

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They Softened It

I liked this movie quite a bit, but parts of it also disappointed me. Basically, they made Batman a little less crazy, and they made the news and public overall a little too pro-Batman. Warning, below there will be some spoilers for the film and comic both.

I don't know, in the comic, things were ambiguous. The people supporting Batman were prejudiced and were prone to violent vigilantism, while the people who were anti-Batman were calloused and selfish, but both sides had very valid points amongst their arguments. In the movie, they softened things just a little, but it's still jarring. "I think he should go after the homos next" becomes "He should go after my landlord next". That small example affects the entire tone. Before, that guy was a little hostile, and his previously spot on and very positive assessment of Batman's return becomes tainted when you realize what kind of person he really is, deep down. In the movie, his homophobia is traded in for frustration with a possibly corrupt figure that many people can relate to(the frustration, not the corrupt figure.). This subtle and simple change is really small, but it's really important.

And it was clear that the media was somewhat nervous and threatened by this new force, but also couldn't wait to sensationalize the hell out of what was going on. That's why stories of Batman-related tragedies were put up all over the news, while good things weren't 'important' enough to report on. However in the movie, the only event was the good event(a shop keeper beating up two guys who were robbing a woman outside his store.). They cut out the shooting in the Batman-themed porno theater(I love Frank Miller), and they cut out the special needs man who was shot by his boss after trying to stand up for himself(and wearing a Bat costume to give himself confidence.). Without these stories put in, it feels like the media is A-Ok with The Gramp Knight's antics. With the media being positive and supportive of Batman and the effect he has on the city, it somehow feels less important that he's come back. He's King Leonidas being welcomed back into Sparta, he's a hero sorely missed by his people. And while that's nice and all, it's not as dire as a city rejecting its savior, so lost that they don't even remember what they were trying to find in the first place. Fallen so deep into darkness that the light burns their flesh and blinds their eyes. Without the fear of the city and the media and government's fear of this new threat, it just feels like Batman on another adventure.

It was also clear in the comic that Batman coming back was as much a bad thing as it was good. He was ruining things, and things were getting exasperated in response to him. In the comic, Joker snapped out of his comatose state because he kept seeing Batman on the news. He's the person who rigged Two-Face's bombs to blow, not Two-Face's 'death wish' that only appears in the movie. The comic made you wonder if Batman maybe should have stayed retired, even for all the good he's doing. And I just didn't get that sense from the movie, it felt that Batman was a good thing, and that's it. That's how it felt, anyway. But I freely admit it was great despite those problems. It really was damn good.

1 Comments
Posted by Gottheit

Oh, and as an aside, I friggin' love the score for this movie, as well as Peter Weller's voice. He was perfect for this role.

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