Movie Review: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1


In 1986 Frank Miller wrote what many consider to be the Batman story.  In a four issue comic Miller wrote of a dystopian future where Batman has been retired for ten years and Bruce Wayne, a 55-year-old man, struggles to stay that way.  In the mean time Gotham has become a Dantesque version of hell where the lower you go the dark and more terrifying it becomes.   

This is the scene being played out night after night on Bruce Wayne’s television add to that James Gordon after fifty years a cop is retiring at the age of 70.  On the week of Gordon’s retirement Jim and Bruce meet for a drink and a talk about old times.  Jim congratulates Bruce on managing to stay retired.  Bruce drinks, and drinks again.  It is, as he says, a way of keeping himself retired and keeping the beast at bay.  On the way back to his home Bruce is accosted by two members of the latest gang in Gotham: “The Mutants”.  They want to “slice and dice” him but they are hesitant, seems Bruce is getting too into it, they don’t like it when the victim is into it.  They go and hunt for easier prey.  

The storm finally breaks literally and figuratively as Gotham’s heat wave breaks into a storm and Bruce Wayne can no longer contain the beast inside him.  As the rain pours down washing off the heat and filth of city comes the Dark Knight.  Muggers are ripped through doors to the astonishment of the victims.  The “mutants” try to kill two young girls only to come across a dark figure that is the stuff of nightmares itself.  Their bodies are broken and thrown through windows.  The girls can only stare in wonder and awe.  Here stands a figure of night itself, dark justice, stern and foreboding, striking fear into both criminals and their victims.   

At the same time Bruce isn’t the man he once was, he struggles to do what was easy to him as a man of 30.  He’s slower, out of his prime, but even so he is still a dangerous man but is he dangerous enough?  The man who opposes him is in his prime. He is the leader of the mutants and he wants to raise Gotham to the ground and rule over the survivors.  

The DC animation studio strives to bring Miller’s dystopian Gotham to realization.  Whether you like or hate the Miller version of Batman, you want to see this done right.  And after seeing this first part of Miller’s story brought to life I have to say they are doing it right.

Now also let me say that this isn’t a kid show this is aimed at teenagers and above so younger children shouldn’t be viewing this at all.

I’m going to give this movie four bat symbols out of five.  

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One thought on “Movie Review: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

  1. Glad KK shows up when she does, too. Sidekicks can make a real difference once in awhile. And I must admit to enjoying the way Frank Miller makes full use of the vigilante thing. The last few lines of the trailer are the best:

    COP: “You just crippled that man!”
    BATMAN: “He’s young. He’ll walk again.”

    Love it. God forgive me, I love it.

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