Dual DVD Review:
The Dark Knight Returns Part 1
The next DC Universe Animated Original movie has been released. This time, for the first time, we have a 2 part film. The DCUAOM team has split up Frank Miller’s epic book The Dark Knight Returns into 2 parts. Part 1 has been released, and Steve along with Mike are gonna give their SPOILER FREE thoughts on it.
First off I have to preface this with, I have read the trades of this. I really liked it other than the gritty art. Like Mike states below I too have seen the BTAS episode “Legends of the Dark Knight” (Not only the name of our podcast but an epic title.)
The story I felt was very solid. I loved the atmosphere of a world where heroes are not the law of the land but outcasts. This too me showed the inner torment of Wayne, Gordon and the world with the Batman finally coming to the aide of Gotham. Very dark and deep but entertaining. Not since the Nolan films have we gotten a great Bat film not just in animation but overall.
Cast and Characters:
I have to say I was skeptical on the voice cast. That being said it was very fitting for the tone set forth by the film. I enjoyed the revelations of several Arkham Rogues Gallery and Batman, etc. It was nice seeing some familiar faces, new faces and some taking the places of older characters gone past.
I LOVED this animation style. Not only an improvement to the comic but the best rendition of ANY of the DCU Original Films, PERIOD. The flow of the characters and details were very reminiscent of BTAS mixed with say Batman/Superman Apocalypse. We need more in this style.
Overall an EXCELLENT film of the Batman franchise. Also VERY excited for the TDKR – Part 2 next year. I only hope they continue with The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2000 Sequel Comic to The Dark Knight Returns)
I have never read the Frank Miller comic, and the only other time I’ve seen this story in animation was in the BTAS episode “Legends of the Dark Knight” So I guess you could say I’m coming into this fresh, because after rewatching that BTAS ep, I barely remembered it until now.
Since we are doing a spoiler free review here, I’ll say that the story was very well executed. I really have no qualms about the story. I think that this along with New Frontier are the two BEST DC U films that bring the comics to life as direct adaptations. Plus spliting this up as a 2 part film is great. Really allows more of the story to be told. This whole story focuses on the need for Batman, versus a city without him. If you have read the comic you will know what to expect, and the film delivers on all of it I think.
Cast and Characters:
I must say that at first I was VERY skeptical hearing that Robocop was gonna be the voice of Batman. For me I normally don’t like when my franchises crossover like that. However after seeing this film twice, I must say that Peter Weller is an amazing old Batman. I’d guess that Bruce Wayne/Batman is between 55-65 in this story. Weller’s voice fits that very well. I enjoy the rest of the voice cast, and I noticed a lot of voices I’ve heard in the past.
I really enjoyed this version of Commissioner Gordon. In The NolanVerse Gordon is portrayed as being in his younger years. Whereas this portrays him as being an old man, and getting ready to retire from the GCPD.
Ariel Winter – Carrie Kelley / Robin
Maria Canals Barrera – Police Captain Ellen Yindel
Michael McKean as Dr. Bartholomew Wolper
Gary Anthony Williams – Mutant Leader
Carlos Alazraqui – Hernando
Dee Bradley Baker – Don
Cathy Cavadini – Joanie
Townsend Coleman – Morrie
Grey DeLisle – Anchorwoman Carla
Richard Doyle – Mayor
Greg Eagles – Mackie
Danny Jacobs – Merkle
Maurice LaMarche – Dr. Willing
Yuri Lowenthal – Son of Batman
Sam McMurray – Anchorman Ted
Jim Meskimen – General Briggs
Rob Paulsen – Rob
Andrea Romano – Woman
Tara Strong – Michelle
James Patrick Stuart – Murray
Gary Sturgis – Silk
James Arnold Taylor – Mr. Hudson
Jim Ward – Femur’s Lawyer
Frank Welker – Mayor Stevenson
Jim Wise – Femur
Gwendoline Yeo – Lola Chong
I really enjoy this animation style. I think that it realluy showcases Gotham City in a great way. The animation on characters, vehicles, and the design of the city is just amazing. I’m not to thrilled with the blue and gray batsuit, as I enjoy the black suit better, but for the film it works very well. I understand why Robin is a girl, this was after Dick Grayson left, and Jason Todd died. However I’m not too thrilled with the Carrie Kelley Robin. The homages in this are just amazing, the race car Batmonile, the red pgone, and so many more that I can’t remember.
Sound Effects and Music
The sound effects and music are very well done. Really enjoyed the music when it was roaring in the background. Even the bsmaller moments, trhe music fits very well. I hope there is a soundtrack for this eventually.
With the iTunes purchase you’ll get three special features on this one. They are the following:
A Sneak Peek at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2: This feature showcases a mini look at what went into making part 2 of the story. Very interesting, and great to hear the behind the scenes stuff.
Short Feature: Her name is Carrie… Her role is Robin: This takes a look into the mythos of the Robin character, and why the gender flopped the character. I like this, even though I’m not a fan of having a female Robin. That’s what Batgirl is for damnit.
Short Feature: Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story: A very insightful look into the life of Bob Kane. This was an amazing journey learning about Bob Kane’s life. I absolutely love retrospectives on creators like this.
After watching this twice, I have a new found respect for the comics, and the creators being able to translate it to film. I think that it’s safe to say Steve and I are very much looking forward to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, coming in early 2013!!!!!