To keep it straight and to the point, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 is perhaps the best animated film produced by DC Universe. The voice acting, plot, and grim tone of the film is on par to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise.
To start off, last fall’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, was another good animated feature from Warner Bros. It performed just as well as all of the other direct-to-video animated features from DC Comics. However, Part 2 raised the bar in delivering a feature adaptation of a popular comic book story. The two movies together signify that animated movies can be just as entertaining, if not more, than a live-action movie.
A major highlight to point out in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 would be Person of Interest’s Michael Emerson’s superb performance as the Joker. Emerson’s portray as the Clown Prince of Crime is so dark and twisted that it could be compared to Heath Ledger’s performance in the Dark Knight. There are many Joker scenes in movie that made me think, “How is this PG-13, there’s more blood and gruesome violence in this animated movie compared to any live-action Batman film.”
SPOILER ALERT: Joker goes on two mass killing sprees. The Carnival scenes were the most disturbing and clearly not meant for children.
Another highlight worth mentioning is the latter half of the film’s plot. Batman emerges from the shadows and rallies an army of followers devoted to keeping Gotham City safe after the United States is hit with a nuclear electro-magnetic pulse that plunges the whole nation into chaos. The irony towards the end of the film is Batman, who is considered an outlawed vigilante, is able to restore order in his city more effectively than the government. This part of the film resembles the Dark Knight Rises plot.
The last element worth mentioning, which is open to interpretation is Superman’s confrontational involvement in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. From the narrative point of view Superman is the final antagonist in the story. He is portrayed as military enforcer who does what he is told. The Blu-Ray commentary remarks that Superman is not the hero of the people, but is somewhat responsible for all problems Batman eventually resolves.
After watching this movie, I highly recommend watching Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1&2. They are a must see for any moviegoer. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy will be impressed.