I don’t like Harley Quinn.
i just started cracking up at work and now i look like a weirdo
Actual Batman Villains:
The most pathetic assemblage of Batman villains to ever exist.
The Dark Knight Returns: Part Two (2013)
When the first part of animated adaption of Frank Miller’s masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns, was released in late-2012, I was initially skeptical in regards to overall quality of the film due to being severely disappointed with the Batman: Year One release. After having watched it, I can safely say that The Dark Knight Returns: Part One is the best Batman film ever made. Needless to say, it’s follow up, Part Two, had some big shoes to fill.
All the principle voice actors have returned for this sequel, with the addition of Mark Valley as Superman/Clark Kent, Michael Emerson as The Joker, and Conan O’Brien as David Endocrine. Each of these men give stellar performances, especially Emerson as The Joker. He delivers an A+ performance as the clown prince of crime and comes across truly menacing. Conan’s role is minor, yet significant, and in his small part he’s great. Mark Valley is a natural fit for the role of Superman. After this, he may just be my favorite voice actor to don the part.
The story in this film, unfortunately, is weaker than that of the first half - but due to no fault of it’s own. Frank Miller’s seminal tale is a one-two punch; you cannot watch this movie without having seen the one before it, otherwise the entire plot will be completely out of reference and you’ll just be left scratching your head. Whereas Part One was purely story-driven, Part Two is really the meat of the story. All the excitement lies here.
Emerson’s Joker steals the show. Every minute his character is on screen, you’re glued. As stated before, Emerson gives one hell of a performance here and he truly shines during The Joker’s final encounter with Batman. Every other animated adaption, whether it be Under the Red Hood or even the coveted, Batman: The Animated Series, we’ve been dealt a friendly, cartoonish interpretation of the character. Not here. The Joker is subtly flamboyant, almost similar to an aged David Bowie, while maintaining a completely sociopathic demeanor.
The amount of violence in this film is astounding. I found myself shocked by the fact that so much of Miller’s gritty graphic novel was left untouched and unaltered. Including the shirtless nazi, Bruno! Make no mistake, this is not a film for children. I’m stunned that this wasn’t rated R. The best part of all is that they don’t shy away from showing the violence. Many animated shows and films, when depicting violence, usually cut away to a reaction shot of another character watching the act unfold. In this, you see The Joker’s neck being broken, you see his eye being punctured with a batarang, you watch The Joker blatantly shoot at people and murder them gleefully. This is the darkest Batman film, period. The Dark Knight Returns: Part Two makes Burton and Nolan’s Batman films look like a night out at Chuck E. Cheese.
The soundtrack is truly something to behold. Christopher Drake, once again, kills it and provides a very unique and purposely dated atmosphere for the piece using his very Zimmer-esque score. The music is superb.
Now, there are flaws in the movie. The first quarter of the movie takes some adjusting to and ultimately seems a little pointless in the context of the film. Also, having The Joker’s demise as The Second Act of the film feels a bit weird given their seventy-year rivalry. The fight scene is just so momentous, it’s hard to carry on and jump into another final battle, this time between Superman and Batman. This would’ve been a more fitting ending to the first film, rather than a second act to the follow up. But due to budget constraints, they could only fit in seventy minutes, yadda, yadda, yadda, I know.
Overall, this sequel is totally enjoyable and the second best animated Batman film - trailing just behind it’s opening act. This is the kind of animated feature I’ve been dreaming of. It’s literally two notes away from hitting the same darkness that HBO’s Spawn achieved fifteen years ago. I cannot recommend this film and it’s predecessor enough. Fantastic. These two films are absolute gems.
Also: look for a cameo by the 1989 Batman batmobile near the end.
“My father was…a drinker, and a fiend…
And one night he goes off crazier than usual…
Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself…
He doesn’t like that. Not one bit…
So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it…
Turns and says, ‘Why so serious?’”
Batman Reboot: Fan-Casting
Ryan Gosling as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Idris Elba as Commissioner James Gordon
Ezra Miller as The Joker
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn