MOVIE MADNESS #81: BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PT.1

Frank Miller’s landmark  changed the way we saw Batman. Never before had we seen a Batman with so much conviction, brutality and determination. It was a dramatic departure from the Adam West TV series. The Dark Knight was born.

In the series, an older and grayer Bruce Wayne had been retired for 10 years. It was a blessing so said many news of the news anchors featured in the series.

Arkham Asylum was rehabilitating some of Batman’s most highly feared villains including Two-Face and The Joker. Two-Face actually had plastic surgery to look like the handsome Harvey Dent he used to be.

After the surgery, Harvey disappears. When it is revealed that he has gone back to his old ways, Bruce Wayne returns to the cowl to once more bring down his old friend. But what Bruce doesn’t realize is that Harvey is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption in Gotham. Batman’s war on crime once again escalates.

The animated film very much resembles the tone and style of Frank Miller’s original drawings. The closest thing I have seen to the actual comic page since they turned Darwyn Cooke’s Justice League New Frontier into an animated film. It looks spectacular.

But my only really complaint is that to give the characters movement and to maintain the same artistic mystique there is much more light in the film version. The tone is there but for time I think they pulled much of the social commentary and real depth of the original work. Obviously this was dropped for time but it is still missing. And some of that still was probably more prominent in the 1980′s.

I have to give them credit though if I imagined that work in animated form it would be this. But for this critic something is still missing.

4 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

The movie releases September 25th on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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