Frank Miller's seminal Batman miniseries The Dark Knight Returns makes the leap from page to screen this fall, the latest offering in DC Universe's line of straight-to-DVD/Blu-ray animated features. Unlike most DCU films, Dark Knight Returns will be split into two parts; part 1 covering the first two books of Miller's series, and part 2 covering the final two books.
Today we have yet another clip from The Dark Knight Returns, along with some new images from the film. Fans have remained divided over how the cartoon version is translating the look and style of Miller's source material, so the new photos will likely only further those debates.
The Dark Knight Returns was first published in 1986, and was part of a movement to redefine Batman in darker, grittier, and more violent terms - a movement led by Miller and other now-iconic comic book writers like Alan Moore (Watchmen). The story revolves around a fifty-five-year-old Bruce Wayne (voice of Robocop star Peter Weller), retired from crime-fighting and living an empty shell of a life. When a sadistic new gang starts terrorizing the streets of Gotham city, Bruce re-dons his Batman costume and heads out to fight a war for his city. If that sounds a lot like the plot for The Dark Knight Rises, well, you can probably guess where Chris Nolan and David S. Goyer found some of the inspiration for their script.
The first two books of Dark Knight Returns - and subsequently, the first installment of the film - focuses on Bruce Wayne's mission to get back into Batman shape and take down the gang known as the Mutants (think futuristic '80s punk rocker sociopaths). That sub-plot climaxes with Bats' inevitable showdown with the Mutant leader, a fearsome brute with a penchant for biting out throats with his razored teeth. As you can see in the clip above and photos below, the Mutant leader (voice of The Boondocks star Gary Anthony Williams) is a nasty customer:
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Fans often fantasize about their favorite comic book stories being translated to the screen, and indeed calls for The Dark Knight Returns to be adapted into (live-action) movie kept on echoing around the Interwebs up until the time that Dark Knight Rises' similar premise made the campaign kind of a moot point. But with animated version, we may still have a case on our hands where the actuality of what you get doesn't quite hold up to the fantasy - or the source material you treasure so highly. Such is often the case with great comic book stories (see: Watchmen), so DCU's Dark Knight Returns animated feature certainly has a challenge in front of it, in terms of meeting expectations.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on September 25th. Look for Part 2 - with Lost star Michael Emerson voicing the Joker - on DVD and Blu-ray sometime early next year.
Source: DC/Warner Bros.