Thursday, April 2, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Batman - The Dark Knight Returns (2013)

Comics are all the rage these days and that certainly pleases geeks like me.  I'm more of a Marvel guy personally, and while they've owned DC at the box office, the animated movies that each publisher produces have been a different story.  The animated version of Frank Miller's epic The Dark Knight Returns may be the highlight of DC's animated glory and I'm eager to recommend it to you guys.  First off, Batman typically wins people over because he's gritty and determined, not because he has cool superpowers or wears a colorful costume.  Rest assured, he's never been grittier.  This tale concerns an aging yet formidable Bruce Wayne, who has actually spent a decade as a normal reclusive billionaire, having put his crime-fighting efforts on hold.  Those ten years haven't been kind to Gotham, and while Bruce becomes Batman once more to battle a ruthless gang known as the Mutants, he soon finds himself waging war against a couple of his biggest enemies--and his most powerful ally.  Of course he'll catch up with Jim Gordon, who is also nearing his end as a protector of the innocent, and there's a surprising new Robin in the mix to spice things up.  The action is vicious, the voice-acting is sublime (Peter Weller is a perfect choice for the caped crusader), and the animation is crisp and exciting.  There are some deviations from Miller's work, but the animated film that emerges is still a fine representation of his groundbreaking tale.  Originally, this was released in two parts, but I watched the deluxe edition that combines the two into a seamless but massive 148 minute extravaganza.  Batman - The Dark Knight Returns is incredibly violent and I'm honestly a bit surprised that they managed to score a PG-13 rating for this release.  Shocking though it may be in many aspects, it's also a fun ride.  It's fast-paced, it's satirical, it's laced with black humor, and it offers fans a chance to witness gruesome and conclusive confrontations with Two-Face and the Joker, as well as a bone-jarring showdown with Bats squaring off against Superman.  This is an easy title to recommend to mature viewers who enjoy stellar animation, comic book superheroes, or Batman in particular.

Final Grade: A
The Batman/Superman throwdown is the main attraction and it doesn't disappoint.

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