Hey gang, Valkor here. I was supposed to start this next review on an upbeat tone, but given the latest news about Young Justice getting cancelled after only two seasons. Well… it kinda brings things down just a notch. Hopefully the show will get picked up or find new life in the DC animated film universe, because those films rock hard. And we continue that coverage with the finale of the senior Batman in "The Dark Knight Returns Part Two" DVD. And this is the finale the world needs… right now. Spoilers ahead!
When we last left the Dark Knight (Batman/Bruce Wayne voiced by Peter Weller), he was battling it out with the mutant crime boss and his crew who were plaguing Gotham City. Along with newly christened sidekick Robin (Ariel Winter) the dynamic duo took down the mutant syndicate ending their reign of terror over the city. In part two, some of the mutant crew have joined the Dark Knight's cause calling themselves the "Sons of Batman". Batman himself is ever diligent in reclaiming Gotham from any threat including an upsurge in a Nazi gang. Commissioner Gordon (David Selby) is out and a new Commissioner, Ellen Yindel (Maria Canals-Barrera), has been appointed his position and her first order of duty is to see the Batman put behind bars. On top of that the Joker (Michael Emerson) has re-emerged malicious as ever, and the activity in Gotham has earned the attention of the White House. The President of the United States, who is also dealing with a nuclear threat in the Soviet, wants Batman put down using the only weapon that "should" work – Superman (Mark Valley). With that in mind, Bats has his work cut out for him. But it all comes to a close with an exciting battle and Bats spouting one of the coolest lines to ever grace any screen:
Batman to Superman after Oliver Queen shoots a Kryptonite arrow at him: I didn't have to go easy on you. A different binding agent, a stronger mix... 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...
The Dark Knight Returns Part Two keeps that same flow from the first film – same look, same feel, and the running news commentary, with a more obvious characterization in the President of the U.S. I thought nothing could be edgier than Under the Red Hood or even Superman vs. The Elite. Oh boy was I wrong!
The Dark Knight Returns Pt. 2 is an exciting conclusion to the first film, that doesn't pull any punches and hits the ground running right from the jump. If you didn't catch the first part, you'll need to pick that up before diving into this one because this film doesn't backtrack. The story arcs that are created (The hunt for Batman) or continued from the first film (The Joker's awakening), really help keep the film going at a solid pace, which is an improvement from the comic. Now maybe it's just me, but at times the flow of the book was a bit off. Maybe it was the breaks with the commentary or Frank Miller's storytelling overall, but in the end I really enjoyed the story, but felt disjointed by the experience. That's not the same with the film and the running commentary actually works better, though the pop culture references that were present in the book would have made those bits that much more enjoyable. The animation is the same as the first – wonderful, smooth, fluid, dark, and gritty, it's simply amazing work of art and captures Miller's book to perfection. Peter Weller once again shines with his voice work for the Dark Knight and to hear him spout that line to Superman was just… chilling. Speaking of which, Mark Valley as the first of Supes, threw me off a bit because I thought the WB got Tim Daly to reprise his role. He sounds just like him, with his own added spin. In the end, TDK Returns part 2 completes part one to perfection, creating one unique and outstanding experience that needs to be seen.
Would have been the same nitpicks as part one, but at least a caricature of Ronald Reagan makes an appearance. Also, I'm still not a fan of Selby as Gordon, but that's not a deal breaker in any sense.
The Joker when he slashes his doctor's throat on live television.
The "Please Don't Make This Happen":
Miller went on to do a follow up book "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" – don't… just don't do this one WB/DC. Just don't.
The Dark Knight Returns Part Two is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD; If you've already seen part one, then I have no doubt you'll be getting part two, which takes everything from the first film and wraps it up in an exciting, explosive, action packed conclusion. It's definitely better than the first and I'm giving The Dark Knight Returns Pt. 2 a 5 out of TOV 5