Batman fans were treated to a fantastic rendition of half of the classic comic "The Dark Knight Returns" when The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 was released to some fairly good reviews last year. The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 ends the animated take on Frank Miller's classic Batman yarn, leaving us with one of the best cartoons based on the character in some time, and shows everyone that there's still a world full of Batman stories to be explored and adapted.
Following the aged Caped Crusader, and beginning right where TDKR Part 1 left us hanging, there's a lot to like in this surprisingly faithful adaptation. Seeing older Bruce Wayne (Peter Weller) continue his fight against corruption and evil is incredibly fun, keeping the great action sequences without sacrificing any of the brilliant character moments that Frank Miller filled the comic with. Speaking of the action, it is about as hard-hitting as an animated movie can get. You can feel every punch that Batman gives, as well as those he takes, and the way the fight scenes are shot feels like you're watching a Hollywood blockbuster. The final battle between Superman and Batman is especially entertaining, giving many fans a lifelong dream-come-true by actually seeing the battle in motion.
One of the best sequences in the film is the escape of the "reformed" Joker (Michael Emerson), leaving a trail of bodies and smiles in his wake, and truly capturing the psychotic, crazy love the villain has for Batman. The entire sequence is magical, making it painfully obvious how closely connected the evil in Gotham and Batman really are. The final showdown between hero and villain is wonderfully crafted, making it an impactful moment that will send shivers down your spine. The Joker's final moments are chilling in a way that only he could pull off.
The movie does have its flaws in parts, including Superman fighting the Russians and the television newscasts that are littered throughout the film, and the dialogue sometimes feels a little forced from a couple of the actors, but the gripes are far outweighed by the pluses. The way the story ends is both poignant and inspiring, showing what the Batman brings to the people of Gotham, and how he effects everything and everyone around him.
Tight animation, intense action and great character moments make The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 better than the fantastic TDKR Part 1, giving hope that there may be some more Batman animated adaptations in the near future. If they continue down this path of quality, they will be welcome additions for any fan of the character. Definitely worth a purchase!
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 hits stores on 1/29/2013!