5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Batman for a new generation
Andrew Pelechaty from Brisbane, Australia
15 October 2006
Batman has undergone many changes during his time, especially in the
medium of animation. While 'The Batman Strikes' is the latest incarnate
for the Dark Knight, a few years ago, 'Batman Beyond;' updated Batman
for the new millennium. The animated series, made in 1999, was
transformed into the feature film 'Batman of the Future: Return of the
Joker'. Set fifty years in the future, Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle)
has inherited the identity from Wayne (Kevin Conroy, who provided
Batman's voice in 'Batman: the Animated Adventures'), who was forced to
retire due to heart problems. Rather than fill his days with gardening
and easy listening radio, Bruce, accompanied by his faithful dog Ace,
keeps vigil in the Batcave.
Terry's costume is dramatically changed as the new Batman: gone is the
familiar black cape and cowl, replaced by a sleeker, technologically-
advanced black-and-red costume. Originally built to assist an advancing
Wayne, the costume jettisons the cape in favour of wings, which allow
Batman to glide. The suit is imperious to small arms fire, and can
withstand extreme temperatures. Built-in listening devices allow Terry
to communicate with Bruce in the Batcave, and finger microphones pick
up sound through walls and windows.
Terry first met Bruce while trying to investigate his father's death.
After figuring out Bruce's dual-identity, Terry "borrows" the new
batsuit and becomes Batman (after Bruce forbade him to do so). Part of
Terry's reason is to atone for his wayward childhood, which keeps him
in the suit after his father's death is solved.
'Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker' deals with the return of
the Dark Knight's greatest foe. The old Joker died years ago, as shown
in a vital flashback, and his reappearance has everyone baffled. Terry,
with Bruce's help, must discover the new Joker's identity among the
handful of suspects (including Bruce's Wayne Enterprise rival Johnathan
Pryce and a bitter Tim Drake, one of the former Robins). Terry's quest
is intensified when the Joker breaks into the Batcave and nearly kills
Bruce, before later revealing his new master plan for the destruction
of Gotham City. As the film progresses, Terry learns to separate
himself from being little more than an "updated" Batman, and strives to
make the costume his own.
While some animated superhero movies can be clichéd, BOTF:ROTJ is,
thankfully, in a different league. Backed by an electronic/metal
soundtrack, BOTF is an enjoyable ride, with enough plot development to
keep you interested (while the eventual identity of the Joker isn't
that surprising, the reasoning behind it is), and with a few ties to
the past to avoid alienating old school Batman fans. The action scenes
are superb as the film kicks off with a big fight between Batman and
"the Jokerz", the Joker's gang of thugs.
If you enjoy Batman, regardless of the era, than you'll love 'Batman of
the Future: Return of the Joker'.
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