Movie Review – The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

Ok – first of all let me say that I am an avid Batman fan, have been for nearly 30 years. I’ve owned a copy of The Dark Knight Returns for nearly 20 years and I must’ve read the thing dozens of times. In the past couple of years, DC has released some amazingly entertaining animated films, and like many fans I was excited to hear that TDKR was getting the same treatment. Having just purchased and watched it, however, I’m afraid it fell well flat of my expectations. Don’t get me wrong – it’s by no means terrible, it’s just not as good as it should’ve been. Let me explain…The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1

The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most important books in the history of Batman, and the reason is because in 1986 this gritty, mature “graphic novel” re-introduced characters to the Batman – but this wasn’t the “Super-Friends” Batman with his goofy gadgets & Mr. Rogers take on crime-fighting. This was a man who was tormented by psychological demons, a man whose drive for revenge-tainted justice nearly controlled him instead of the other way around. Two ways the book immersed readers in this world was the moody voice-over narration of the characters, but perhaps even more was the dark, gritty, bloody artwork of the piece. Although TDKR Part 1 does manage to somewhat mimic that look, it’s intensity & edge is completely lost in the more vibrant and colorful animation style of the film. One of the darker styles seen in Batman: Gotham Knight would have suited this work much better. To the animators’ credit, however, the character art was fairly similar to those seen in the book.

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