It has been twenty-six year’s since Frank Miller‘s graphic novel, ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ hit store shelves to critical acclaim. It has been seven years since it was selected as one of the top ten best English language graphic novels ever written by Time magazine.
My first time reading this classic graphic novel was in 1990, the summer after I became a Batman fan for life after seeing the 1989 Batman summer block buster movie. I remember how amazed I was at the artwork of this novel. The story was one DC comic fan’s had never experienced…a futuristic Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne was retired and old…and bitter.
DC Universe Animated Original Movies has put together another masterpiece today with the Blu-ray/DVD release of Batman The Dark Knight Returns that literally brings the graphic novel to life in the comfort of your home.
Director Jay Oliva has really captured the essence of every single page from the classic novel.Many fans of the animated films Batman Year One, Batman Under The Red Hood, and The Man Of Steel will be thrilled to own this film in their personal collection.
For those who have not read the graphic novel are in for a real treat, although some of the 1980s humor (and in general the style of the time) may unfortunately not appreciate all the film’s nods to the 1986 graphic novel. For fans of the 80s in general and fans of the comic will no doubt love it. I chuckled a few time’s at the slang, fashion style’s and over all vibe of the film. Which is in no way a complaint, a compliment on the contrary.
This film is a modern work of art. The main aspect of the film that surprised and excited me the most was the film’s soundtrack. As a reader we usually tend to not imagine what music would be playing as we flip through the pages of a graphic novel, but as a viewer the music really brings certain scenes to life with amazing suspense. You find your self wanting to cheer for Batman as he come’s out of retirement to release hell on the underworld criminal’s of the dark, smokey, streets of Gotham City.
The film’s plot follows the original novel page for page. Bruce Wayne has been retired for over a decade. Commissioner Gordon is working the last day’s till his retirement as well. Harvey Dent is no longer a two faced crime boss due to plastic surgery, and a street gang known as the Mutants are on the brink of taking over the city with the help of Government military weapons being purchased from a crooked high-ranking military officer who is selling the guns on the black market. After coming out of retirement and with the help of a newly recruited Robin, our hero Batman begins his mission to restore order to gang ridden streets of Gotham City. Parents be forewarned, this film is dark. Lots of blood. Lots of killing. Even the Dark Knight himself is no stranger to starring in an epic Mutant massacre scene. There is also quite a bit of humor as well.From a out of shape Batman trying to climb a rope to the very well done Gotham TV commercial interludes.
This is really one great looking Blu-ray and DVD as well. The color’s and detail is striking. The voice actor’s are spot on. Especially Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai, Robocop) as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman. He simply just flat-out sound’s like what i imagined while reading the novel in 1990 what a 55-year-old out of retirement Batman would sound like.The special feature are hit and miss. For some weird reason we get a sneak peek at the 2009 Batman/Superman Public Enemies. What was really cool for bat fans was a nice semi-lengthy documentary called Batman and Me which goes into the story of Batman creator Bob Kane.
I give this film a very solid, 3½ out of 4 Throwing Stars.