‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1′ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2014 at 4:16 am,

Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Blu ray Review Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Review

The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is a must-buy for any Batman fan – including those who swear by the comic version of the story.

The Batman that many people know (and love) today was spawned not in the 1930s, when the Caped Crusader first appeared in comic books – but rather in the 1980s, under the revisionary design of writer/artist Frank Miller, creator of Sin City and 300. Miller’s seminal Batman story arcs - Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns – have directly influenced every iteration of the superhero thereafter, including Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises (respectively). In short, it was Miller who put the “dark” into The Dark Knight.

DC Universe has already paid homage to Miller’s work with a Batman: Year One animated film, but with The Dark Knight Returns, director Jay Oliva and screenwriter Bob Goodman are taking on what might be the most ambitious (read: potentially disastrous) DCU project, ever. Does the animated version live up to its legendary comic book source material? Or is Miller’s graphic novel too complex and twisted for the cartoon world?

Skeptics should rest easy, as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is a rousing success in many ways, and easily conquers its own faults by delivering a Batman movie experience that is unlike any other. Note that I say “Batman movie experience,” because to limit Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 to just being a great animated movie experience would be selling it short.

Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Bruce Wayne Alfred Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Review

The story centers on a fifty-five-year-old Bruce Wayne, now forcibly retired from Batman duty as the result of a national crackdown on superhero vigilantes. Disgruntled and swimming in booze, Wayne floats through Gotham’s streets, watching complacently as the city falls to savagery and crime – thanks in large part to a gang of psychotic young punks who call themselves The Mutants.

As Gotham City darkens, Bruce begins to feel an old presence rising from the depths inside him – and when one of his old foes returns to commit a brazen string of crimes, Batman can be abated no longer. Before he fully knows it, Bruce is back in costume and unleashing punishing justice to the criminal lot of Gotham; but the Mutants and their ferocious leader are a new breed of criminal – one that even Batman may not be able to best.

Oliva and Goodman stick like glue to Miller’s comic, which is probably the smartest move they could make. Most of The Dark Knight Returns from the page is replicated in this film, including the shifts between Batman’s story and ongoing news broadcasts that provide larger thematic and expository context – a welcome inclusion for those of us who were (needlessly) worried that the animated film would sacrifice the layered complexity of Miller’s tale. That complexity reamins intact, as do many of the comedic moments that come from transitions between the actions of the principal characters and the often-satirical commentary of the news broadcasts.

Mutant Leader in Batman Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Review

The Mutant Leader broadcasts his threats.

Most of the supporting characters and personalities from the comic book news broadcasts are also in the film: various satirized news anchor personalities, ‘on the street’ commentators and “talking heads” such as an overweight Lana Lang (from Superman) advocating Batman’s return, and Dr. Bartholomew Wolper (Michael McKean), the psychiatrist who preaches that Batman is a menace who inspires supervillain psychosis. Like in the comics, these peripheral characters and moments expand the scope of the story, transforming it into a larger rumination on Batman as an icon and symbol, instead of it just being a story about an aging Batman trying to get his groove back. The broadcasts also frame the story and pacing of the film, allowing Oliva and Goodman to delve into important scenes, while using broadcast exposition to move us through new developments easily and clearly. Although the comic version relied a great deal on Batman’s internal monologue, the filmmakers avoid that path and fill any gaps in understanding through the use of visual implication or supporting characters putting certain matters to voice.

The atmosphere of Miller’s world is translated perfectly to the screen, making The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 one of the darkest and most disturbing Batman movies in any medium. This is a story in which we first got a truly frightening image of Batman as a violent, obsessive, semi-psychotic vigilante, and that’s exactly what we get in this animated film. Scenes of Batman breaking criminals’ bones (or literally beating their faces to a bloody pulp) are fantastic for the crowd that prefers a grittier and more adult version of the character; however, the film is definitely too intense for children under double-digit age.

The Mutant Gang in Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Review

A big point of contention with this particular project will be the look of it: Miller’s graphic novel was illustrated in his distinctly dirty, chaotic, scribbly style, which doesn’t lend itself well to modern animation. Out of loyalty, Oliva sticks with the overall design and concepts of Miller’s artwork, but marries it to the more exact style of high-quality anime films. This creates a unique and gorgeous visual palette, in which we still get Miller’s BTDKR designs (a big, blocky, bruiser Batman being the most iconic); we still get the darkness, grit, grime and hyper-’80s feel of future Gotham City, but here it all looks carefully and expertly animated. Iconic moments from the comics are lovingly recreated in the film, and in general, the Blu-ray visuals alone are worth the price of purchase.

Being a film, Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 also has a chance to expand on some of the more static images and moments in the comics, which brings a level of intrigue to the film even for longtime fans. Such moments include Batman’s confrontation with a corrupt military official, as well as the action sequences and set pieces, which are staged in exciting, often brutal, and totally Batman-esque fashion by Oliva. Dark Knight Returns  unequivocally delivers a satisfying action quotient and some classic fight scenes, to boot.

The voice acting is, for the most part, spot on. Peter Weller (Robocop) is not necessarily the first name you think of when imagining a voice for Batman; but then again, Miller’s dialogue in BTDKR isn’t like any other Batman story before or after it. While fans will always clamor for voice actor Kevin Conroy to be handed every animated Batman role, Weller’s strong and steady monotone is (in my opinion) the perfect delivery method for the dry, sardonic Batman dialogue Miller intended. A nice casting choice.

Modern Family star Ariel Winter is plucky enough to voice Carrie Kelley, the young girl who takes up the mantel of Robin, while versatile voice actor Gary Anthony Williams (The Boondocks) uses his signature growl to make the Mutant leader sound like a fearsome foe. The only real fail in casting is David Selby (Social Network), whose light, airy tones sound totally wrong coming out of Commissioner Gordon.

Carrie Kelly Robin in Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Review

Story-wise, Part 1 covers the first two installments of Miller’s four-part story (“Dark Knight Returns” and “Dark Knight Triumphant”), opening with Bruce Wayne becoming Batman again in order to stop Two-Face, and ending with his war against the Mutants (which has an ominous side-effect). Part 2 will cover an epic showdown between Batman and The Joker, and the fallout of that battle, which sees Batman marked as a fugitive with Superman assigned to bring him in.

Dark, gritty tone, iconic character designs and imagery, thrilling Batman-style action and all the subtext, social-relevancy and multi-faceted story pieces from Miller’s comics? Yep, it’s all accounted for. The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is a must-buy for any Batman fan – including those who swear by the comic version of the story. Given everything it gets right, this may be DC Universe’s most cinematic and satisfying work to date.

Blu-ray Combo Pack Special Features

  • Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
  • UltraViolet™ Digital Download and Streaming Version
  • Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
  • Featurette – “Her Name is Carrie … Her Role is Robin” – An all-new featurette. Experience the role of Robin, through the eyes of a female warrior.
  • Featurette – “Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story” – A documentary comprehensively chronicling the remarkable life of the creator of Batman.
  • Two bonus episodes from Batman: The Animated Series handpicked by producer Alan Burnett: Two-Face, Parts 1 and 2
  • Digital Comic – “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” (digital comic with cover art and three full comic pages)

-

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on September 25th. Look for Part 2 on DVD/Blu-ray sometime early next year. It is Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

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TAGS: batman, the dark knight returns

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  1. Where do I watch this? I’ve been hearing about it but I’m not too sure how and where to view it. Haha.

    • Buy it when it comes out on Tuesday.

    • You can rent it on Vudu.

  2. I will probably wait till the 2nd part comes out before watching I would just prefer to see them back to back or atleast have the option of seeing them back to back also I feel like the best part will be the 2nd part with the Joker and Superman….

  3. I watched it and loved it and it showed me how much borrowed from it(poorly).

    • rises borrowed from it, these comments really need an edit option.

  4. i take it this is the batman nolan failed at re-creating in his overrated movies ? will be checking this one out for sure b/c all my mates that are into comics say that i will love this if i hated nolans version of batman.

    • No, if you hated Nolan’s Batman (save for the last one which was a failure all around) then you will hate Miller’s Batman as well. Nolan’s problem with The Dark Knight Rises was that he tried to cram a retelling of The Dark Knight Returns into a movie that was already overloaded with story lines he did not have time to explore.

      Nolan’s Batman Begins ripped off Miller’s Year One but only in a few quotes and scenes so it worked well as part of his take on Batman’s first year.

      • I would have to disagree with this. If you hated Nolans there is no reason why you would hate this.

        It is Batman as you and I know him from the comics when he is suppsoedly past his prime. It tells a story of his rerise(?) and the dependency the city has on him and his ‘values’.

        Nolans… well it was nothing like that. It was entertainment at best.

        • I agree with your comment…EXCEPT that final statement.

          • Meaning it was less than entertainment or more than entertainment? ;)

            • It was much more than merely entertaining. The Nolan trilogy was quite provocative.

              :-)

      • LOL@ Nolan ‘ripping off’ Year One. Dope.

        • Why would you ‘LOL’ at that? Nolan himself admits this and you can just pick up a copy of the Batman: Year One TPB and confirm this. Accept for the scarecrow/Ras Al Gul stuff and a few bits taken from Year Two (by Mike Barr and Todd McFarlane and Alan Davis), his ‘Batman Begins’ IS Year One.

          • He was, if I read his comment correctly, laughing at the idea of Nolan ripping off “Year One”, as opposed to using ideas from it and/or using it for inspiration. He’s right…that IS laughable.

            • Well, I guess this boils down to how one defines and uses the term “ripping off”. One small example is the very end of ‘Begins’ when Gordon talks about the ‘new guy’ calling himself “The Joker” and another example would be Batman calling the army of bats via some frequency device. These are taken pretty much exactly as they were from Year One.

              But yeah, I would not accuse Nolan of “ripping off” Year one (as in stealing someone’s creation without crediting the original author).

              • Fair enough.

      • hate more plz

    • Nolan haters in this comment section, what a surprise.

  5. Saw it. Love it. It stayed true to Frank Millers vision. Pretty happy with Screenrant rating for part 1. Cant wait for part 2 with jokers return and all the ensuing mayhem. Peter Weller did a good job.

  6. 3/5

    It was good. I enjoyed it. I still think Under the red hood is the best animated Batman movie. The voice acting was alright, not the same level as Conroy or Greenwood, though.

    I look forward to Part.

    • 2

    • How was Weller as Batman? From the previews and clips I’ve seen, it seems he isn’t consistent throughout. Personally, I think they should have gotten Michael Ironside to reprise the role since he originally played this version of the character in the Gotham Knights/New Batman Aventures tv series in the late 90′s

      • Weller, in all honesty, was wrong for the part, he didn’t have the subtle intensity in his voice and his inner monologue was bland. His voce was almost Robocop – like. I think Ironside should have reprise his role in the Batman animated series segment.

  7. I really want to see this movie.
    Dark knight vs Dark knight Rises
    Vote here
    http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/566831

    • Might be the worst poll and poll results I have ever seen.

      “Which character was better:

      Katie Holmes
      or
      Catwoman?”

      Forgetting for the moment that “Katie Holmes” is not a character, she did not even appear in TDK (she was replaced by Maggie Gylenhal for the Rachel Dawes character).

      I guess this poll must have come out right after TDKR was released when traditionally all fanboys heap all manner of praise on whatever film they finally saw after much anticipation. Generally rationality sets in within a few weeks and reviews become more balanced/objective.

  8. Loved it myself. All throughout, I couldn’t stop myself thinking, “That’s what The Dark Knight Rises should’ve done.”. 2nd fight especially between Batman and the Mutant Boss. Intelligence beats brawn. Utterly perfect and I cannot wait to hear Michael Emerson’s take on The Joker for part 2.

    • Yeah, almost a page-for-page adaptation so they could not go far wrong.

  9. Can’t wait to see this. The comic was the first comic to open my eyes to how good mature stories can be told in comic form. This story is the source of all my dissappointment with DKR. If you want to see a story that properly handles an aged,past his prime,and in his 50′s(not 30′s) Batman adapt and still kickass then this is for you. Frank Miller did an incredible job keeping with the true motivations of batman and still wrote an original story.

  10. I read somewhere that Batman is particularly resonant for the Generation X demographic.

    Batman’s dark persona, a loner working outside the system, bending the rules to get the job done. The ends justifies the means…… etc.

    Who is the superhero for Generation Y?

    • Justine Bieber. There is no hope.

      • HA!!

    • Well i am of Y and I say its even more Batman.

    • Spider-Man

      • Brian Scalabrine

  11. I’m really glad WB/DC made this. The artwork in the book has always put me off. So I’m glad I get to know the story in a medium I’m much more comfortable with.

    It was really good good. My only complaint is that it’s two parts. The ending of part one wasn’t very satisfying. I’d much rather watch both parts back-to-back, even though it’ll be three hours long.

  12. hi guys, my internet was for 4 weeks dead,it had a virus i think,but now it´s allright. i´m very happy for the 4 stars, because the movie had gave you the spirit of the comic back. can´t wait for part 2 !

    • your internet had a virus?

  13. Good to hear they stick to the source closely. This has always been one of my favorite graphic novels and I was worried that it would get toned down too much for the kiddies.
    I’ve been waiting for this review to watch this one. This site gives the best reviews hands down.

  14. I am so glad to read this! I was really worried about this but again DC animated pitures are for the most part great adaptations and great films on their own terms. I cannot wait to see this film. I have never been able to read the story in its entirety but I know about the story.

    I am glad to hear the artwork is good and clear. I know the reasons for TDKR was drawn the way it is in the graphic novel but I never really found it attractive- I know that was the point, but I was worried its translation into animation. One point that is inhirently going to bother me is the fact Batman killing and use of guns. But this is only a minor issue.

    So I cannot wait to watch this film and have hopes for part 2 now. So Kofi, I remember that once you made a list ranking of the all batman films made, live-action and animated, on another comment page for a review of the Red Hood. I am wondering- how has the ranking changed with the release of this film and Rises?

    • he didnt kill anyone in this part with a gun, he had a harpoon gun to get around and the batmobile shot rubber bullets but that was about it.

      • Okay thats cool. Its not neccessarily a bad thing if he kills, I am just not married to the idea.

    • My own personal list:

      1) Batman: Year One
      2) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
      3) Batman Begins
      4) The Dark Knight
      5) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
      6) Batman: The Movie (Adam West)
      7) The Dark Knight rises
      8) Batman (1989 disaster by Tim Burton)
      9) Batman Forever
      10) Batman Returns

      I have not yet seen some of the animated films such as The Red Hood one.

  15. This proves Chris Nolan is a crap. Worst director working today. I hope he never makes another movie.

    • well actually I would blame his brother and david s goyer because they had more of a hand in rises which felt like a movie with too many directions and ideas.

      • Him, his brother and goyer are untalented hacks. The worst thing to happen to batman since schumacher. We can thank them for a bloated, pretentious self-indulgent bat trilogy.

        • You didnt like dark knight or begins?

          • thats funny, i just watched begins again today. been awhile since i watched it, i think it is my favorite of the 3.

            and i want to check this out

            • Begins is tied with Rises as the worst of the three. The second upgraded only by Ledger. Good thing Nolan’s finished. His batmovies are pompous tripe.

              • I agree. Batman Year One was what Begins should have been. And Dark Knight Returns is far better than Rises. Nolan missed the mark big time. Burtons movies were the best.

                • Burton’s movies were a travesty. Even The Dark Knight Rises was massively better than the best of those movies. Sam Hamm could not write a good script to save his life and Burton is just not cut out for drama or action. I could go on for days about the wild mistakes made with the 1989 Batman…

                  Dark Knight Rises was not good but the first two films were VERY good. True that The Dark Knight had a lot of holes and things that needed explaining but this was counter-balanced by Ledger’s performance.

              • Pompous tripe? No, they’re obviously bombastic drivel. MAYBE buffoonish gibberish. I’d even say they might be

                brb thesaurus on fire

              • … in your opinion.
                You might be surprised to find out that Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was greatly successful, both financially and critically and was accepted and praised by the fans and regular Joe’s alike.

                • ^ This

          • Nope.

            • YES!!!!

    • I loved TDKR but I don’t argue the hate.
      However to hate Nolan is weird.
      Nolan is awesome, he has made amazing films. You know who’s crap? Michael Bay.

      • nolan is a genius. can´t understand this kiddy comments how much they hate nolans bats. without his movies we wouldn´t talk about this cartoon or it would never be made for the screen.

    • ‘What’ proves Nolan is crap? You make no sense. Go back to playing with your action figures and eating glue, retard.

  16. I know right.On the positive note, there’s nothing upcoming in his filmography, directorially. Let’s hope it stays that way for a long time. No more pathetic, lazy, inept attempts at writing or directing, please.

    • Reply to watchmen.

      • In my opinion Jodeus is an idiot!

    • Dude, if you think Burton’s movies were good then you have no grounds to offer any sort of analysis of any other movie. I cannot even imagine the nostalgia-blindness that has to occur in order to think such a thing.

  17. loved it beginning to end, the fights where done so damn well it makes nolan look like a primary school kid with a fetish for bruce lee movies :P

    my one hate is that the robin girl wasn’t developed enough and came across as a last minute addition b/c they didn’t explain how she knew how to fight or parkour which is odd for a girl that comes across as a ‘nerd’ (i’m not trying to stereo type or be sexist).

    i hope they change jokers look in part 2 b/c his design was really weird (in fact most of the characters faces looked weird).

    • Well she didnt really fight, she made a costume and started practicing. All she did was interrupt a mugging and tackle the head mutant from behind to help bats. But she didnt know how to fight thats why batman says hes going to train her.

      • what about the part where she’s taking out guys alongside the tank thing, she seemed to know what she was doing. and you dont just become good at parkour b/c you’re cross-dressing :P

        • you can if you practice though.

  18. It really was excellent.
    I agree though about Selby as the commissioner. He wasn’t bad, but “Year One” had Brian Cranston as Miller’s young Gordon, and I just can’t imagine the transition from the one to the other.
    Somehow in the retro 80s movies getting made now I see all of the darkness and uncertainty of the era but the fun it was is left out. All the man-on-the-street segments seemed more tongue in cheek and satirical in the book. In the movie they felt like products of careful editing, meant to move the story along as efficiently as possible.
    It was nice catching those images from the comic, like Bruce ripping the wires out of the racecar, jumping against the lightning, or flying onto the car of Two Face’s men.
    Can’t wait for Part Two.

  19. Phew…good thing I found the “Bash Nolan/Bash TDKR” thread…I was worried there wouldn’t be one for five whole minutes.

    Oh, wait, this is a thread reviewing something different…hmmm, I guess the whiners got bored on the other threads.

    For MY part, I’m very much looking forward to getting and watching THIS new film; I always loved Miller’s graphic novel, so it’ll be great to see the story animated finally. Even better, the visuals thankfully have been cleaned up substantially (the art always irritated me). I can’t wait…

    As for Nolan, so far, I’ve loved his work and am quite happy with his brilliant Batman trilogy, including the INSPIRATION he took from Miller’s works. I was ecstatic with the way TDKR turned out…the best of the three, I think.

    • I was worried too there wouldn’t be someone to grab the chance to bash Nolan/TDKR,..etc.

      I guess everyone will now pay attention to that attention-seeking troll instead of discussing the actual movie.

      So, I liked it, I would put it under Under the red hood(lol), Public Enemies, if that’s considered a batman movie.

      Spoiler!

      I thought Batman killed the mutant leader in the first fight and frankly I was a bit shocked. What did he shoot on his face?
      I supposed he drowned or something. How did he survive?
      and How’s Alfred still alive?

      • it was just some foam adhesive stuff, probably dissolved after a few seconds.

  20. After part 2, how does DC top this ?

    • Toga party with Dan DiDio.

    • “Batman: Earth One”, “Superman: Earth One”, “Batman: Red Rain”, “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight”, “Batman: Speeding Bullets”, “Superman: Red Son”, “JLA: The Nail”…These and others wouldn’t necessarily TOP “The Dark Knight Returns”, but they would continue the high-level storytelling standards…Plus, the “Elseworlds” tales, in general, lend themselves to theatrical (or, in this case, animated) versions.

      • +1

      • If they a serious house on serious earth id be really happy.

        • “Arkham Asylum” WOULD be grand to see; it would have to be at least PG13 MINIMUM to translate well.

  21. I loved this it was one of the BEST of Dc Animation, HOWEVER, I thought I read that DC animated Movies Dept was being shut down, In fact I thought it also stated in the article that this was to be the last of the animated movies for Dc/Wb. I am hoping I am wrong about this basically for two reasons, First being a Dc fan and having to endure truly horrible Dc/WB movies, Batman trilogy excluded, the animated films are what I look forward to. The Second being is I really really want to see part two of this. I was also looking forward to the next Justice League animated Movie. Boys at Screen Rant can you verify that Dc/WB animated movies have been shut down. I read so many different sites im not sure where I read it.

  22. Oh yeah if you have a Xbox 360 you can watch via Zune Now.

  23. “He’s young, he’ll walk again.”

    Best line of the trailer. I can’t wait for the 25th.

    • My favorite was
      “The war goes on”(pulls on mask)

  24. Wow, I didn’t expect this much praise for the movie!
    Even though I’m still not happy about the actor they got to voice Batman (from the trailers, he just didn’t sound like Batman IMO), I’ll definitely have to check this out sometime… I might wait for part 2 to be released though.

  25. Kofi:

    I am wondering how this ranks with the other Batman films both live-action and animated.

    • That’s a pretty broad question. It’s a good movie.

      • I remember during the review of the red hood film everyone was sort of creating their top 10 list of the favorite batman film, both animated and live action and you actually commented with your own list. I cannot remember exactly what your specific ranking was- all I rmember you place the Dark Knight as number 1 followed by Batman Begins as second.

        Well, I just curious to as how that list changed with the release of both The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight Returns.

        Glad to the movie is good either way

        • * Glad to HEAR the movie is good either way

  26. I have to say, I am reading The Dark Knight Returns right now and I am not enjoying it. Not at all really. I am only reading it so I can return it to my friend and say that I read it. I can see how it influenced Nolan’s work, but I find it very disjointed and there are some transitions that make no sense from page to page. I have found myself very lost several times because dialogue is coming from off-panel and it is impossible to figure out sometimes who is saying what. I won’t go so far as to say it’s bad, though. I think overall it’s a good plot, but there are things that don’t make sense. For example SPOILERS: Does Batman break the Joker’s neck, but not kill him? Does the Joker really break his OWN neck? If Robin is shot from behind, how does the bullet only break the glider restraint? Also, it took me a long time to figure out that the fat guy that is trying to kill Robin on the roller coaster gets smacked in the head before falling to his death. Are we to believe that Superman has developed invisibility? Basically, these are things that I haven’t been able to figure out just by the action in the panels.

    That said, I do find it very interesting how prescient Frank Miller was about what “News” has become in the modern world, constantly dissecting and debating the news of current affairs and politicizing that which is inherently apolitical. But even this doesn’t make me “enjoy” it.

    • I will grant you that the Joker’s death was odd and a bit unbelievable. As was the very idea that a mere ten years after Batman retires, in a universe where the likes of Superman, The Demon and the Justice League exist, the ordinary Joe would not believe Batman was a real guy. There were other relatively minor flaws…Year One was Miller’s Magnum Opus and TDKR his second best work.

      Other than that I have to chalk up your difficulties to YOU. I don’t know of any comic book reader who had such difficulties understanding who was talking/narrating and so forth.

      • Its a complex story not set in the main DC continuity, therefore we don’t no if the JLA existed. Also millers idea of Batman was always about him being in the shadows and an anti-hero. Te public inthis universe would have heard of Batman but most likely, never seen any pictures of him and the news stories would have been rumours at most. Read year 1 again, the police know he exists but when asked by the press they are not very forthcoming about it. Personally I found this to be agreat adaptation and very much looking forward to part 2.

        • Re: ‘…not set in the DC universe…’

          I think DC were afraid that such a dark story, no matter how good, could potentially rub a significant number of fans the wrong way (i.e. the crowd who were allegedly happy with campy action-adventure type stories) so they stated that TDKR was not canon. Later of course they did everything they could to retrofit the book into the canon. IIRC they did a sequel to ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ that featured Miller’s Dark Knight-Batman fighting alongside the established DC heroes.
          Plus…Superman. Superman and his ilk(Green Arrow etc.) are still there and Miller does not even hint at them having different histories than the ones we are familiar with, other than the story being set in the future and Green Arrow losing an arm and Superman becoming a patsy for the U.S. government.

          In any case things FAR more unbelievable than Batman exist and are well known so it makes no sense that these people would start denying he ever existed a mere ten years after his last appearance.

          I also find the idea that the public would not have seen him regularly (contrary to the very history Miller establishes in that story itself!) and/or taken pictures to be laughable.

          Miller was not at all setting his story in an alternate earth so different as you imagine. That is the reason why he does not go into detail about who Oliver Queen is and why Carrie decides to become “Robin”. Robin, groups of superheroes, etc. all exist in his story.

          • Also, I have read Year One more times than I could ever recall. The reason Gordon and the police are not talking to the press (and Year One IS set firmly within the DC continuity BTW) is pretty simple and obvious. A cliche’ from the crime noir stories that inspired Miller? Sure. But just because the police are not (for what should be obvious reasons) publicly very forthcoming about Batman does not at all, in even the slightest way support what you are saying here. You might as well have said that Batman’s quote of “This would be a good death…but not good enough.” was evidence that Batman’s whole mission was to ‘suicide by cop’(the act of confronting armed police to get them to shoot you dead).

            I agree that this movie is an excellent adaptation though.

  27. Question.
    Is it ever explained why he Bruce changes from the Blue and Grey Batsuit with the yellow bat emblem, into the Black and Grey colored batsuit with the black bat emblem?

    • In the history of the comics I cannot remember exactly which decade introduced the yellow oval to the chest emblem but it was undoubtedly done to add visual interest to the character…adding some color basically. Miller wrote The Dark Knight Returns a few years before Year One and his in comic explanation for the yellow oval in that story was that it presented a distraction/target for criminals. They would instinctively be apt to shoot at his chest where he had Kevlar protection, rather than his head where he had none.

      Don’t think this was mentioned in the animated movie though.

      In Year One, drawn by David Mazzucheli, the yellow oval does not figure into the costume design, probably for several reasons. Artistic style(Mazzucheli who also drew Miller’s Daredevil, has a pretty gritty style and oval-shaped splashes of yellow may not figure into the way he draws the character) , Bruce Wayne had not thought of adding the yellow yet, etc.

      • SkeleTony
        I am aware of that. My question is why did Bruce change his costume styles a third of the way into the movie.

        • I had not noticed that. Will have to get the DVD when it comes out to see.

  28. I thought that the Dark Knight Returns was very good. As far as comparing it to the Red hood, I think they were both equally good.

    As for the TDKR, this movie is steadily becoming Spiderman 3. When SM 3 first case out people were like ok its not as good as the first 2 Spidey flicks but at the same time not a bad movie. Then weeks later people became bored ans started to hate on SM 3 (which imo is a 3 Star movie, 3.5 at best). SM 3 definitely had a lot of problems but it was by no means a bad movie, just a let down.

    Same holds for TDKR, and I can see how it was a bit of let down for some people (not me, I loved it and was thoroughly satisfied) but to say that the movie is bad is just stupid. The movie had a lot going on and a lot to close out on and I think that it could have been any better.

    • Spider-man 3, like the first two, was a terrible film. Sorry guy but Spidey is one of the absolute hardest (probably impossible) comic book characters to try and translate to a serious film. A campy comedy poking fun at comic conventions? Sure. Spider-man would be perfect for that. But a serious movie with the absurd premise of a many being bitten by a radioactive spider gaining the abilities to lift/press ten tons, stick to walls (not to mention the James Cameron silliness of organic web shooters) and detect unseen danger, all dressed up in Steve Ditko’s worst costume design ever…no way to make that work.

      TDKRises is simply not a very good film. At some point we comic book aficionados need to be more rational in our analyses of movies based on books we love because right now Hollywood thinks we are every bit as stupid as the Michael Bay/Transformers/Fast and Furious crowds. That they can just shovel out any crap they want as long as they get the costume right and we won’t care that the scripts are full of tired, repeated ad nauseum clihes and stupid dialog. Why bother to make an actual adaptation of James O’barr’s “The Crow” when they can just put out the same old badly written, poorly acted action flick they have already made 180 times?
      Why make a real “V for Vendetta” when we will just settle for that crap they did make?

      • i agree with most of your comments, except Nolan’s costumes were awful, completely unrecognizable. And “The Crow”, while very different from the book, was a great movie. Tonality and themes were dead on, and the characterizations were excellent IMO. And easily Brandon Lee’s finest performance acting-wise. Again IMO.

        • I will concede that Nolan’s Batman costume was all over the place and for the most part, not very good. TDK Batman costume I was willing to let slide because I thought he was trying to make Batman more believable but then in TDKRises he seemed to switch back to the ‘Begins’ costume (including the ill-fitted mask that seemed to be too tight for Bale’s head) and I do not understand what he was thinking with the whole thing now.
          I DID like that his Catwoman and Two-Face were not so gaudy and flamboyant as they are typically depicted in the comics and the same goes for the Joker (to a lesser extent since that character was a bit off anyway and his purple suits and such made sense without being silly).

          I cannot agree with your assessment of The Crow though. I do not think the tonality, themes or anything else were dead on. The whole reason that book was so famous was because of the clever writing and the things I mentioned in my previous post. You take those away (as the movie did) and you no longer have “The Crow”. You just have a typical generic Hollywood action-hero waste of celluloid. And Brandon Lee was NEVER in his life a good actor. Proyas directed him well to minimize how much harm he could do but he still was not able to deliver lines convincingly (and the lines in this movie were horrible, save for the one or two that were lifted from the book).
          His finest performance acting-wise? Sure. But that is like saying that “The Violent Years” was Ed Wood’s finest movie director-wise.

  29. I have nothing bad to say about this, it was awesome.