Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013) Movie Review

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Robin and Batman in Batman - The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013) Movie Image

The much anticipated second part to the animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” is here and though the first part was amazingly faithful, and well done, it’s this second half that fans of the original comic have been waiting for.

“The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2” picks up exactly where the first film left off. After the defeat of the Mutant leader at the hands of a returned Batman, the city is divisive as to whether his return is good or bad. Some are happy to see that criminals are running scared, but others say it’s just an escalation of violence, with the Mutant gang splintered and some taking a vigilante approach to crime as “The Sons of Batman.” This vigilante group takes things a bit further than their namesake, but Batman isn’t stopping them. Amongst all this, the Joker comes out of his decade long catatonia after hearing about the return of his nemesis. And at the same time, Commissioner Gordon is retiring and the new headstrong candidate, Ellen Yindel is all about arresting the vigilante Batman. And finally there’s the little issue of Batman going against a government sanction against costumed heroes, and their way of giving Batman a cease and desist. You may know him as Superman.

The Joker in Batman - The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013) Movie Image

I really can’t give any more away in case there are some people who’ve been living under a rock the past 3 decades or just aren’t comic fans but have grown to love Batman through cartoon, film and games. What I will say is that like the first part, this film is almost insanely faithful to its source material. Watching the two major confrontations was amazing, and the final throwdown is absolutely epic. Even the quieter moments, though still filled with tension, are well paced, and evoke many of the emotional reactions the comic did way back when.

Once again the artwork beautifully captured Miller’s style, while making it work for animation, and the score was definitely even more 80’s influenced than the first part. The voice actors all bring their A game here, with Peter Weller, David Selby, and Ariel Winter all returning as Batman, Gordon, and Carrie Kelly (Robin). Winter made me like Robin again by giving her charm, and spunk, but not to an annoying level. The new additions to the cast are Mark Valley (“Human Target”) as Superman, and Michael Emerson (“Person of Interest,” “Lost”) as the Joker. Valley was perfectly cast and definitely gives some heart to a version of the character that pretty much goes against how the character has been portrayed in the past. A funny note, at NY Comic-Con Andrea Romano who voice casts these films said that Valley actually took his glasses on and off to play the part of Superman/Clark Kent.

Superman in Batman - The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013) Movie Image

But the voice that stood out was definitely Emerson as the Joker. If you took the Ceasar Romero version from the 60’s, and mixed it with Heath Ledger’s version and threw in a bit of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Burton’s Batman, you’d be pretty close to where he took the character. 100% maniacal and brutally sadistic, this is a Joker that truly embodies chaos and evil. The confrontation in the book is great, but seeing it played out on screen gave me chills. There’s also a cameo by Conan O’Brien voicing talk show host Dave Endochrine who was modeled after David Letterman in the original comic, but Conan is the “it” guy now so it’s updated a little bit.

There really isn’t anything else to say about this amazing feature. If you saw Part 1 and were waiting for this, then it was truly worth it, as the film is even better than Part 1. If you’ve never seen Part 1 or read the comic, then go out and buy them both ASAP, you won’t be disappointed! This is the ultimate Batman story for any Batman fan, or fan of good action in general.

Jay Oliva (director) / Bob Goodman (screenplay), Frank Miller (comic book)
CAST: Peter Weller … Batman / Bruce Wayne (voice)
Ariel Winter … Robin / Carrie Kelley (voice)
Michael Emerson … Joker (voice)
David Selby … Commissioner Gordon (voice)
Mark Valley … Superman / Clark Kent (voice)
Paget Brewster … Lana Lang (voice)
Maria Canals-Barrera … Ellen Yindel (voice)

Buy Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 on DVD

Author: Dedpool

Movies, Comics, Anime and toons. I'm all about it. Love to read and write too.
  • edge007

    Is it really Conan O’Brien who appears in this? If so, that is absolutely fantastic!

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      It is indeed!!

  • http://twitter.com/doohsun Kiener

    Saw that movie I thought it was pretty good. I was shocked to see Superman on there.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      Yeah. Knowing he’s in it doesn’t say what capacity he’s in it or role he plays in the story, which is why even though it’s an old story i didnt want to give it away.

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

        I thought they shortchanged the battle a bit. I remember Bats had this big speech about how it had to end there at Crime Alley where he was born. I liked the movies, but overall they both felt too rushed to me, especially Part 2.

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

          Wasn’t a speech, it was internal monologue, a lot of that got cut, and I was a bit sad, but such is the way of adaptation, but it was still very well done. Especially since they said it wouldn’t happen when they first started making these movies.

  • Juggernaut

    Are they going to release them both together at some point?

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      I wouldn’t put it past them, but not for a.few months if not more if they do.

  • Aegon the Conqueror

    Was a really awesome movie! Peter Weller definitely improved as the voice of batman over part 1. Ordered myself an alternate set of kings for my DC chess set, featuring the Dark Knight Returns Batman and Joker.

  • ErickKwon

    Pretty much where I was with the movie, and I may have liked it even more since I’m not a fan of the book’s second half. I still don’t buy Superman as Dr. Manhattan and reading it a few years ago, the Joker’s veiled gay predator vibe came off like cheap 80’s action movie cliche. But Goddamn they pulled it off and then some. The Joker’s carnival rampage was like something out of a John Woo or Michael Mann flick and that final showdown came off so much better than in the book. And I’m still hoping for a “Kingdom Come” one of these days.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      I felt the same way about the rampage. My jaw was on the floor, the  “I love you for it” line was great. And the final fight all I could think was “that was insane and there will never be an animated superhero battle to rival it.” As  for KC that’s another one they shoot down every year at comic con. It’s like the first of there questions asked. If they DID do it they should do motion/performance capture and do it cgi like the Final Fantasy Advent children or Spirits within.
      it.

      • ErickKwon

        God, that line and delivery was perfect. Emerson’s performance really grew on me and made someone who seemed on paper like a bitchy queen a genuinely dangerous yet fey and foppish maniac. Reminded me less of Mark Hamil’s Joker and more John Dimaggio’s from “Under the Red Hood.”

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

          Exactly. With a bit of Malcom McDowell from “Clockwork Orange”

          • ErickKwon

            Rewatched “Red Hood” tonight and realized why DiMaggio and Emerson have been so memorable in part: their movies have let the Joker be as batcrap crazy and dangerous as he should be. Hamil’s always going to be the iconic Cal Ripken of Joker voice-actors, but the vast majority of his work was on kids’ shows and he’s only ever done dangerous and demented on the videogames and “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.” So if there’s not going to be a “Kingdom Come’ anytime soon, I’d love to see Hamil do crazy/dangerous in “The Killing Joke”.

  • ErickKwon

    .

  • X_p

    i loved everything about these movies. part two had me glued to my seat and loving every minute of it. the entire thing was epic and i know the joker stole the show but how bout the light that superman was in? man i loved it. hes never that hard in any of his own movies but in this one you gotta take him seriously. Green Arrow wasnt in the og book right? idk how i feel bout them just writing him in like that. also since hes in there i woulda liked to have seen how supes ruins his arm in a flashback or something instead of them just alluding to it. but overall i loved this movie to the nth degree and i dont think anything is on the horizon that will even compare to this awesomeness.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      Yeah Ollie was in the comic. They really toned him down, he was kind of over the top with his ramblings.

      • X_p

        o really? i take that back then. also it looks like i need to read this book again.

  • Xxkaiba187xx

    One of the best animated films I’ve seen to date. Only thing missing was the self narrative that the comic delivered. I’m hoping for a Batman:Hush movie in the future.