Jay Oliva's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2"

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Jay Oliva's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2"

Post by Deviss on Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:10 pm

Deviss wrote:"I didn't have to go easy on you. I want you to remember that. I wanted to remind you to stay out of my way. In all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember the one man who beat you!"

  • Story: Five Stars
  • Acting: Five Stars
  • Directing: Five Stars
  • Visuals: Five Stars
  • Overall: Five Stars

Of all the reviews I have typed up during my time here, this just might be the first review where I didn't have to change the ratings. I've had some where, initially, I thought the aspects of those movies were five star worthy, only to get halfway through the review and realize they need to be taken down a point or two. Others, it would take my reaching the very end of the review to be completely sure on how I would rate each aspect of the film. That is not the case this time around. There were some minor problems with "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" that kept me from giving it the full five stars all across the board, but those problems were nonexistent with “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2" and I am thrilled that is the case.

---

Picking up a few weeks after the events of the first part, we see some significant changes to Gotham City. The Mutants gang has been defeated and now are calling themselves the "Sons of Batman", aiding Batman in the enforcement of Gotham's laws and the protection of its people. This does not sit well with the Gotham City Police Department, as newly appointed Commissioner Ellen Yindel crusades to remove the Batman entirely. Nor with the president of the United States, who has been depicted as egregiously ineffective due to Batman's successful methods. As a result, the president has requested that Superman put a stop to Batman, should the need arise. In the midst of this, a seemingly rehabilitated Joker has requested a public venue to explain "his side" of past events and crimes.

I can easily say that there has never been a pair of animated superhero movies that have been as enjoyable as "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Parts 1 and 2" have been. Until recently, I haven't given much attention to the animated superhero genre, if it can be called that, namely because I always figured it would be depicted in a childish, campy manner. That it would pander to the lowest common denominator of viewers; parents and or guardians who take their young children to movies like this that have no business being there. Granted it doesn't happen all that often, at least from what I have seen, but the fact that it does happen is ridiculous.

Now, I'm not stepping up onto a soapbox, with the intention of preaching about that subject. I would never do such a thing in a movie review. The reason why I included that in this review is the fact that even though movies like this are labeled as "animated" that doesn't mean it is automatically a children's movie. We've finally reached a point in storytelling, as well as animation itself, where adults who are just as fond of comic books and their respective characters can have a quality movie with engaging characters and a storyline with actual depth that rivals that of a live action movie. As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say that this movie, as well as its predecessor, easily surpass what passes for a "movie" these days. But, I feel like I am getting ahead of myself.

"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2" is amazingly fun. Even though it has a run time of one hour and fifteen minutes, it feels like there is an extra half an hour included because of the level of quality of the voice acting and animation. All of the cast from the first part continues on in this second part; Peter Weller's excellently aged-yet-powerful demeanor; Ariel Winter's plucky and energetic disposition; Michael Emerson's downright unnerving mannerisms. Everyone maintains their standard of quality in this movie, and some even surpass what they presented in the first part, much to my pleasant surprise. Even Mark Valley as Clark Kent/Superman himself was enjoyable, despite coming across as flat and boy scout-esque in some scenes. There is one scene that I will never forget, and that is Bruce and Clark at the former's ranch, and Clark has on a shirt that only Fabio should wear. I know, I know, he's freaking Superman, but if you have a shirt that cuts down to your belly button, and you're NOT Fabio, you'll just look ridiculous. The only thing that was missing was the long, flowing hair.

Now that I think about it again, there was another part of the Superman character that didn't gel with me very well. How and why is Superman working directly for the president? Again, I know he's Superman, essentially the exemplar for what America strives to be, but it just didn't make sense. I didn't buy he handful of lines that were meant to explain away why Bruce and Clark are in the situation they're presently in. I'm glad that there were no flashbacks, because I feel that they would've been perfunctory at best. In the end, I still rolled with what was being presented; I just wish it were done in a better, more convincing way. Not to mention the representation of the president of the United States, who looked like a ridiculous caricature of Ronald Reagan and whose reasoning is just pathetic.

However, what was convincing was the level of grittiness and darkness that this movie quickly showcases. More than once I was genuinely surprised and downright sickened at what I saw, but not in a bad way. Despite what was shown, I was still engaged as it played out in front of me. Amusingly enough, I actually ended up viewing these movies out of order. In my haste to sit down and watch both parts, I ended up getting through three quarters of "Part 2" before I realized, "Ah crap, this is Part 2". At that point I'd already thought to myself, "Whoa, this is moving really fast. Did I miss something somewhere?" Fortunately, I caught my mistake before getting to the powerful ending, I went back, watched "Part 1" and everything fit together so much better.

In short, if you've read the Frank Miller comic and haven't seen either "Part 1" or "Part 2", or if you're a Batman fan in general and haven't seen these movies, do yourself a favor and watch both this movie and its first part. They're both amazing animated movies and I can't wait to watch them both again.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for reading.

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Re: Jay Oliva's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2"

Post by frang on Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:21 am

My favorite line from the comic:
"I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."

Sends chills down my spine.

I also recommend "Batman: Year One," also written by Miller. After that and his immersion in Hollywood, Miller kinda went nuts.

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