Sunday, October 14, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1
Based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name, which I highly recommend, this direct to video adaptation is the first half of the story. As a fan of the comic, I felt that this was a good idea as the book does feel like two stories that can easily be cut in half.

Peter Weller is great as an older Bruce Wayne who comes out of a ten year retirement to become Batman again in order to deal with the Mutant gang that has been menacing Gotham City. The rest of the cast also does a fine job. Voice acting veterans Frank Welker and Tara Strong provide additional voices. Batman: The Animated Series co-creator Bruce Timm has a brief role as Thomas Wayne.

It has been long time since I've read the comic but as an adaptation it seemed to hit all the right notes. The animation is nice and fits the style of the comic without being a carbon copy of the book's art. The Dark Knight Returns truly embraces the medium of film and isn't a motion comic. What this means is that the internal monologues of the comic as missing, but that is an essential change to turn it into a film. For example, there is one scene in the comic where Batman gets shot and thinks "Why do you think I wear a target sign on my chest" to reveal a bullet proof shield. Although we don't hear this line in the movie, we do see the shield when he gets shot at.

It seems that the intended audience of the movie is fans of the comic. While they probably won't be disappointed with the film version, I think they will still be more likely to re-read the book then re-watch the movie. Those who are new to the story should be able to jump right in, though it's probably helpful to have a basic knowledge of Batman coming into both the comic and the movie.
I wonder if we'll ever see a live action adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. I wouldn't mind if that happened someday, though if this ended up being the only movie version I'd be fine with that.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 will be released in Winter of 2013.


  1. Yeah, I'm still not entirely sold on these "faithful" animated adaptation that DC are producing. I'm probably in the minority but I'd far rather see an original story.

    That said, this is one of the few I will check out. Going to wait until Part 2 comes out and watch them back to back though.

  2. I see what you mean. It's a good adaptation but I don't since the comic book is so iconic and well known it is almost unnecessary. I think you'll like it for what it is. I would like to see this production crew do original stuff as they did a nice job here.

  3. The fact that, from what I've seen, the Blu Ray version is selling like hotcakes with Canadian syrup and happiness-flavored sprinkles on top, it looks like the general public is really enjoying this one, too, and not just comic fans.

  4. I'm glad to hear it is selling well, though I can't say I'm that surprised since it is an adaptation of one of the best selling comics ever and Batman is more popular than ever. And this is a good one for non-fans to be able to jump right into.