DC Universe's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 covers the third and fourth issues of Frank Miller's trend-setting Caped Crusader comic book series, picking up where Part 1 (read our review) left off. That means more brutal street warfare between a greying Bruce Wayne (voice of Peter Weller) and the criminal factions of Gotham, putting Bats at even greater odds with the authorities and convincing the U.S. government to recruit the Man of Steel (voice of Mark Valley) to take down the masked menace.
The new trailer for Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 teases all that and more, including the newly-released Joker (voiced by Person of Interest star Michael Emerson), who has emerged from a semi-comatose state that began once Wayne decided to retire his cape and cowl.
Emerson's voice sounds weird coming out of the Joker's mouth to me, as someone used to Mark Hamill providing the Clown Prince's demented vocals and cackle. Of course, there's nowhere near enough material here to determine if the former has put his own impressionable spin on the character (who doesn't appear in the trailer - at least, not long enough to register). All the same, one might imagine the Joker in Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 sounding even more manic than usual, after storing so much psychosis over the course of a decade.
There's little reason to doubt that Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 director Jay Oliva and screenwriter Bob Goodman will fail to capture the political subversiveness and grisly tone of Miller's source comic - that is, as well as they did with Part 1. That's why my focus with this trailer breakdown has instead been on 'fringe elements' like Emerson as Joker or Valley as Superman (whose voice seems a reasonable fit for the morally-righteous superhero).
Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 features some of the more memorable iconography (not to mention, brutal imagery) from Miller's comic, such as the visual of Batman sending painful bolts of electricity surging through Superman while the two engage in fisticuffs. The animation (like in Part 1) lacks the rough and scribbly texture of Miller's drawing style, but the darkly-handsome character design does not diminish the story's impact. For those reasons, this film seems like a must-see for hardcore Batman fans (even those who decided to pass on Part 1).
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 should be available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download by early 2013.