Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Video 2012) Poster

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10/10
You don't get it son. This is an Operating table and I am the surgeon...
DJayXIII12 September 2012
A wonderful translation of the Frank Miller Novel brought to life on the Screen. Animation was excellent, the Tone was perfect and when watching this Animated Movie, I felt completely drawn in to the world that Frank Miller had created back in 1986. The movie was amazing and I cannot wait until Part two comes out. The second half of part 1 really set the tone for part two and it really leaves the viewer in anticipation - with a big smile...

At first, I was a little disappointing when I didn't hear Kevin Convoy's voice as Batman. But it didn't take long for me to get used to the choice they made to play Batman (Peter Weller). With an aging Bruce Wayne/Batman; he set just the right tone to the character. You can hear the struggle he goes through before finally deciding to don the cowl of the caped crusader once more - and when he does - he is back with a vengeance. A seasoned veteran with the knowledge and courage to take on crime... I loved it!

Congratulations to the team that brought us this great adaptation and I hope that this is just the first of many that can be brought to the screen...
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9/10
The fan-favorite classic: Expanded, elaborated and faithfully replicated
xamtaro19 October 2012
One of the most beloved Batman tales finally gets the animation treatment. So influential was Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" that it inspired Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan when they were crafting their live action Batman movies, as well as the 1990s Batman animated series (which gave birth to an entire universe of DC animated shows). Warner decided to split the tale, originally spread over 4 issues, into 2 movies. Turns out that it was an excellent decision which not only successfully adapted the first half of Frank Miller's epic, but added layers to the story and characters that the limited page count of the graphic novel could not leave in.

Rarely does an adaptation surpass the original source material. But Dark Knight Returns part 1 is just such an example of an animated movie that is not only true to its source material, but expands upon it. The original was great; the animated adaptation makes it better. The story will sound familiar to anyone who watched Christopher Nolan's "The dark Knight Rises". It has been years since Batman went into retirement. Billionaire Bruce Wayne now drifts from day to day hoping that the people of Gotham can take care of themselves. But now, a new threat emerges: The Mutants. A vast gang of street thugs led by their grotesque but incredibly strong and savage leader. Despite his age, Bruce is forced to become Batman once again to save his city. But can the aging crime fighter stand up to a threat that is faster, stronger and more powerful than he has ever been? And what happens when Batman comes face to face with his old nemesis Two-Face? Beyond the narrative lies a thorough deconstruction of the Batman character, especially when played opposite the two main villains, Two Face and the Mutant Leader. Both villains serve as a dark reflection of Batman himself. Like Two Face, Bruce Wayne and Batman are presented as two separate personalities fighting for control. But is Batman truly just a mask Bruce wears? Or is it the other way around? And as for the mutant leader, both he and Batman operate as a symbol to inspire others to action. One a symbol of chaos and crime, the other a symbol of hope and justice. But if the mutant leader's extreme acts can rouse Batman to return to vigilantism, so too can Batman's actions rouse criminals to return to their old ways (as one character claims in the story).

The characters are brought to life by a fine voice cast who nail their roles perfectly. Peter Weller of Robocop fame takes the role of Batman; a role that may comes across as a monotone baritone at first. But Weller infuses Batman's voice with nuance and subtlety which fits the character well. The only downside is that despite wanting to show a dichotomy between Batman and Bruce Wayne, Weller uses the same tone of voice throughout the whole movie; Compared to previous voice actors, like Kevin Conroy, who used different speech patterns and tones for Wayne and Batman.

A lot of deep themes about the nature of heroism vs vigilantism abound in this tale, all of which were in the original comic but just expanded upon in the animation medium. On that note, the animation presented here is the perfect balance of fluidity and art detail. Iconic frames, memorable battles and atmospheric scenes are replicated faithfully. Movie goers will be able to see many scenes that Nolan's Batman trilogy lifted from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, including a fight scene illuminated intermittently by a gun's muzzle flash. Its only downside is that Warner decided to use its generic color palate rather than replicate the muted tones and heavy grays colored by Lynn Varley in the original artwork.

Fans would be pleased at how true to the original this is and how it expands on the original, smoothening out the rough edges while adding a whole new dimension to the characters. The action is intense and beautifully animated, accompanied by an epic score by Christopher Drake. This is a true ADAPTATION that does not translate the comic wholesale but translates the comic while making full use of the animated movie medium.
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10/10
Amazing! (spoiler free)
behy700013 September 2012
I'll be short. I'm an 90-ties kid (now 21) and I watched a lot of batman cartoons and movies, and even read the comic on which this movie is based on. The movie shocked me how good it was made, the animation, the acting (even though batman isn't voiced by Kevin Conroy), even the sound is simply great.

If you are a batman fan, and watched the cartoon series, and movies, and even better if you read the comics you are absolutely going to LOVE this movie.

It's definitely worth watching it in theaters / or blue ray.

A+
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8/10
Excellent adaptation of the graphic novel!
DarthPaul8526 September 2012
After seeing Batman Year One, I was nervous about this one, but I was pleasantly surprised! The story is faithfully recreated here, with very little censorship of the violence, and most of the (included) dialogue straight from the pages of the comic, albeit with some forgivable changes. The pacing is excellent, and really captures that sense of "awesome" that the graphic novel had. The visual style is "close enough" to Millar's work to give you flashbacks, but of course it lacks the detailed nuances of the comic. And lastly, the music fits everything perfectly.

Some complaints, though. First and foremost, the acting lacks passion. Virtually all the main characters play "middle of the road" emotions well, but any extreme was unconvincing to me. It's almost like there was a "no shouting!" rule for the actors. Nobody gets really angry, or forceful, or upset. Even so, it's nowhere near as disappointing as the acting in Batman Year One.

Also missing is Batman's inner monologue- which I guess can be forgiven since movies are a visual medium, but ultimately we lose some of the comic's best lines because of it. Though they do try to force some of batman's narration into the movie as dialogue, it doesn't work that well at all.

One change I'm not sure about is the PG-13 censorship to the script. They maintain the political dichotomy that existed in the comics, but it's way toned down. They seem to want to avoid alienating people on either side of the political spectrum (perhaps wisely). Some of the humor is still there, but again, it's got kid gloves on.

In the end, though, this is a wonderful execution of a great story. I eagerly look forward to Part 2!!
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10/10
a slice of brilliance
GeorgeMaxTrummler15 September 2012
There has been a few really good straight to DVD Batman animations, but this one takes the cake. Having watched the last installment of Christpher Nolans Batman on the big screen, this little piece just keeps the fire burning. Im so impressed by the attention to detail and story line that i wont even begin to give you the low-down/plot, you just need to see it for yourself. Any fans out there will be glad to know this is part one of a series and when you watch it, you'll see how the story drives you straight into the cliff hanger , all the elements are there ,even as we get to understand that Batman/Bruce Wayne has aged significantly it doesn't slow down the action, after all "Old Heroes never die , they just get Darker". i cant wait for part II . Well done and Respect to the Director and his crew for putting this together so well.
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8/10
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain15 September 2012
The Dark Knight Returns, is for me, the best Batman film of the year. The animation is superb, especially when the action kicks off. It sees Bruce Wayne return to crime fighting after a 10 year absence. Unlike his Nolan counterpart however, he was Batman for a damn sight longer than just a year. His return is depicted as an obsession that finally grabs control and pulls him in. He barely even notices it when he shaves off his mustache as it just becomes a natural part of the process. A new threat, called The Mutants, rises in Gotham, and Batman has to sort them out. His age becomes his weakness as he must go up against the leader of The Mutants. he film is littered with cuts to TV shows and newscasts discussing whether or not Batman is a help or a hindrance. Peter Weller does a great job as the voice of Batman, and it's nice to see a Batman with a dark and dangerous sense of humour. As an adaptation it remains fairly close to the source material, but manages to capture the ferocity of the violence without being too graphic. Gotham looked and felt exactly how I remember it when I was growing up. This is great stuff, and is a huge tease for Part 2, where we will see The Joker once again.
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10/10
Why This Is The True Batman Film
I_Need_More_Cowbell19695 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are some reviews panning the storyline and animation style. Understandable if the only Batman you really knew was the 90's Kevin Conroy version (which is excellent btw). While I know I'm not unique regarding this, my perspective of this film comes from growing up in the 80's on the Batman comic books. Batman in the mid 80's was still trying to shed the Adam West live action & the Superfriends animated image people had of the character. Then came the Crisis On Infinite Earths epic. It really made bad things possible to DC characters. Characters didn't always get a noble end. Then Frank Miller looked at the Batman character blowing in the wind without substance and said "No. THIS is what he is." and hence Batman: The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel.

WOW. The collective thud heard in 1986 were jaws dropping all over the world. The animation was dark, gritty, even depressing (a sharp contrast to the DC comics and animated cartoons of the day). It gave Batman his identity of the obsessive/borderline sociopath & force of nature whose self control of his violent tendencies hung by a thread. Batman may have debuted in 1939, but he was born in 1986. Yes, Batman is slower, meaner, and sometimes uses a gun. That's the beauty of it. Miller showed the high price his body had paid and the compromises he had to make since he was in his fifties. (The rifle - The fight with the Mutant leader in the mud pit to even the odds). That's why Batman at this age was so dangerous, he wasn't trying to be like he was before. He compensated for his age and injuries.

There are strange goings on in the film that couldn't be explained the way they were in the graphic novel:

Superman as a government agent? Yes, because in his inner monologue Superman discusses how he gave his silence and obedience to the government to avoid the slaughter of his comrades. That's why he has no choice but to come after Bruce!

Superman survives a nuclear blast by touching a flower??? Yes, because he tapped into the energy that all plants store from the sunlight to save himself.

Joker seemed off? Yes, because he had been catatonic, literally, for ten years since he had no Batman to focus on.

Green Arrow wants to kill Superman? Yes, because the book directly alludes to Superman being the one who tore his arm off.

The bottom line for me is that everything works here, especially with the retrospect of having read the graphic novel in the 80's. The animation looks like a literal page by page shot of what I saw 27 years ago. The 80's theme is kept alive too. Look at the sunglasses, the ladies' hair styles, even the car on the road that encounters the Batmobile. Even the music has a touch of 80's synthesizer with the powerful orchestral sounds so popular in the Dark Knight movie trilogy. The Reagan character was spot on how Miller portrayed him as well!

As for Peter Weller, yes, I was skeptical. But then I heard the line "These men are mine!" and the deadpanned response after he saved the two year old "I believe you." Sold! It was pitch perfect.

Whether you liked or panned this film, read the original graphic novel then watch the film again. I promise it will add a whole new perspective on a job well done!
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8/10
You're Never Finished With Me
rhiron17 December 2013
Before I watched this animated feature and its second part, 'The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2', I had considered animated features based on the 'Batman' mythos to be quite a cosy way of filling an otherwise empty evening. They had their own level of violence that, at times, could be a little too graphic, but they were still a guilty pleasure of mine.

'The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1' changed quite a bit of that. As a 'Batman' feature, it is quite intense, in a similar vein to the 2011 adaptation of Frank Miller's 'Batman: Year One' -- only more so.

From the beginning, it is clear that we are in a different time, sat in with a Bruce Wayne and a Gotham City that are not quite right. Make no mistake, they are still the characters made familiar to us over time but, as they say, 'this is not your father's Batman'.

Parents should be warned that most of the DC Animated Original Films are not aimed at young children (even adults may find them a little distasteful in parts), and this one is no exception. Blood, gore, suicide pacts and 'surgery' in a mud pool ensue. This is a very violent, post-modern Gotham, not too unlike Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Trilogy', and younger children are better directed towards either Adam West or, if animated, then 'Batman: The Animated Series' and its successors.

With that aside, this is a very engaging animated film that shares a lot in common with Frank Miller's original source illustrated novel. Some scenes are switched around, redacted or, in some cases, even enhanced, making this quite an interesting watch for general Batman fans and fans of this specific comic book. As an aside, the comic book behind this feature was part of the inspiration behind Tim Burton's original 'Batman' film in 1989.

Peter 'Robocop' Weller provides the voice of a very beleaguered Batman/Bruce Wayne, whilst Michael Jackson (not to be confused with the late Prince of Pop) provides the voice of his faithful, yet ageing valet, Alfred Pennyworth. Screen stalwart, David Selby also lends his voice to the similarly past-his-prime Commissioner Gordon, whilst Wade Williams (who previously voiced Black Mask in the 2010 feature, 'Batman: Under The Red Hood') provides a fresh and surprising look at Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent. But the major scene-stealing performances here are from Ariel Winter as Carrie Kelley, who those unfamiliar with the story may be shocked to find allying herself with Batman, and from Gary Anthony Williams as The Mutant Leader - a more dangerous Killer Croc-style villain who is the mastermind behind many of the events at this stage of the story.

Christopher Drake who, by this time, had provided the musical score (either in whole or in part) to several Batman features since the 2008 release of 'Batman: Gotham Knight', infuses the proceedings with an incredibly edge-of-the-seat and sometimes moving and haunting series of compositions. A word to the wise, however: even though some commentators have accused Drake of lifting some of Hans Zimmer's ideas for his score to 'The Dark Knight Rises' (2012), this is, in fact, 1980s-style music. It holds a retrospective quality that, perhaps, Mr. Zimmer also wanted to infuse in his score owing to the fact that that film's inspiration was drawn heavily from Frank Miller's comic book 'The Dark Knight Returns'. At the end of the day, Batman is not exactly synonymous with 1980s-style music, so both composers reached a satisfactory quality in their respective scores without allowing their work to sound like a who's-who of artists of the 1980s.

Many of the same creative talents behind 'Batman: The Animated Series', such as Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano, return to adapt a tale that helps to put the 'dark' in 'Dark Knight', making The Batman an incredibly scary and disturbing character once again!
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10/10
Forget animation,one of the greatest films of all time PERIOD
A_Different_Drummer22 March 2016
1. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Hollywood picked this story for a major live action release. Message received.

2. Lots of talk about the best Batman voice. Weller nailed it. Oscar worthy and yes Virginia they do give Oscars for voice actors.

3. Omigawd. Whatta script. Seen this 2-parter three times, each time I find new social commentary in the dialog. After the Joker segment you think to yourself, this can't get any better. And then you get the "schoolboy" segment. And it does.

4. I am running out of adjectives. If you have not seen it already, see it now.

5. Finally a note for the IMDb archive. Hollywood loves to do films about getting old. Hundreds at least. Comedies, dramas, everything in-between. I believe that over the years to come, this gem will be recognized as the greatest film about getting old ever done. They took the iconic characters that an entire generation grew up with and then imagined what things would be like at the end of life's run. Watch it with that in mind and you will see things you did not see first time around.
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8/10
The bad guys better skip town when the bat is around...
lagudafuad12 October 2012
No one does it better than the Bat at any age he is still the same, too smart for those who what to get on his bad side.

This part1 is so good I can't wait to see the rest; I hope veterans like the joker will be there to make it all crazy like.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a two-part animated superhero film, an adaptation of the four-issue story arc The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, printed in 1986.

This animation is nowhere near the movies (i.e. story wise), and it focuses on the future, wrong choice of words it is about the future, Bruce Wayne is 55 and the bat has not been seen for 10 years.

The story arc curved around the bat after retirement. Gotham now seemed to be overrun by a group called Mutants. The Mutants weren't just any gang they were absolutely ruthless and in a way useless.

Also in this flick we get to see Harvey Dent/Two face after he has undergone plastic surgery to fix his face. Harvey now looked normal but he was so paranoid and out of it that he went back to his old ways.

Things weren't changing in Gotham and with the ongoing nightmares and Bruce sleep walking and sleep doing things in the night; it was obvious he could no longer cage the bat any more.

Bruce carved to the urges. In the dark is the "billionairelly" in sane Batman, is seen jumping over roof tops and doing things other billionaires could only dream that their bodyguards could do (because no sane billionaire jumps around in the dark. Imagine one day you look out the window only to see Bill Gates in his underwear and a cape on your roof…would you say Bill still got all his screws nicely tight?) I don't know what I liked better is it watching Bat being Bat again in his old age, or the bad guys not knowing in time to skip town when they found out he was out of retirement (you can't blame them though, some didn't know who he was).

Well, the directing of this wonderful flick was done by Jay Oliva, who worked as a storyboard artist on Man of Steel, Batman: Year One and Batman: Under the Red Hood.

The animation was well drawn, far better… sorry, far far far better than what we saw in Superman vs. the Elite.

The only downside to this wonderful movie is the news casting; it was boring and looked too much like child's play I hope you are not still reading this, because I expect by now that you have hit the stores to go grab your copy of The Dark Knight Returns Part 1.

www.lagsreviews.com
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10/10
"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is simply amazing, I give it a 10 out of 10.
LiquidLuke9330 September 2012
"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is by far the best DC animated film since "Batman: Under the Red Hood", the storyline stays true to the Frank Miller comic book limited series. It follows a dark & gritty telling of a 55 year old Bruce Wayne coming out of a 10 year retirement from being Batman, because Gotham City's crime rate is worse than ever, criminals now run free & the city is constantly under attack by a massive gang known as the mutants. You get to view an older Bruce Wayne who is way past his prime & struggling to see if he still has what it takes to be the Batman. The voice acting in this film is top notch, the animation is very detailed & the action scenes are superb. This film was very well done & I highly recommend it to any fan of Batman.
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9/10
The thrilling return of the Dark Knight
TheLittleSongbird11 April 2013
The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is not the best of the animated Batman films (Mask of the Phantasm overall and Under the Red Hood in recent years), but I still found it terrific and see no problem with any Batman or superhero fans enjoying it. For me it wasn't entirely perfect, the ending did seem rather abrupt, if even more of the characters' inner thoughts had been written in the writing could have had even more depth than it did and David Selby's Gordon seemed rather monotonous for my tastes(Bryan Cranston would have been a better choice maybe). However, there is much to love about The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1. The animation is great, there is a lot of crisp detail and atmosphere and everything is drawn beautifully. The music score is haunting and adds so much to the atmosphere, while the sound is so authentic that you feel that you are actually there in the story and action. The writing is very intelligent and thought-provoking, the action scenes are beautifully edited and exciting and the story is very compelling, managing to expand on the source material while also being faithful to it, with the right grittiness. The voice acting is fine generally, Selby was my only real reservation. Peter Weller had a intense subtlety for Batman that was just right for the tone of the film and Ariel Winter was the epitome of the spunky teenager, as stereotypical as that sounds she and the writing find a way around it that doesn't make it seem that way. Joker's part was pretty much only a cameo consisting of two lines, so he and his voice weren't an issue in the way that he was for others. All in all, a thrilling and excellent return without being the best of Batman. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
Excellent Adaptation That Falls Just Short of Epic
drqshadow-60-37988627 September 2012
An impressively loyal adaptation of one of comics' most important stories, complete with social commentary, nods at dark chapters of the character's history and a glut of wanton brutality. Despite being ripped violently into two pieces, the story still functions very well and reaches a natural climax in time for the credits to roll after a drawn-out 75 minutes. I fear the end result may be a less-dense arching plot line, especially as most of the political commentary was removed from this chapter (presumably as it won't be relevant until the second) but there's still more than enough pulp to go around. While the storyline is doggedly faithful (indeed, most of the dialog is copied verbatim from the source), the artwork is both influenced by and notably distanced from Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's amazing work on the printed page. And, while that does rob the story of some of its character, the result is suitable enough; fresh but also familiar. Peter Weller turns in some decent work as the voice of Bruce Wayne, but I couldn't help but daydream about how Kevin Conroy would have approached the material. Very good, if not perfect.
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7/10
Good..but lacking
yaktheripper12 September 2012
Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" comic book revolutionized not only Batman but comic books in general. The cartoon attempts to capture Frank Miller's classic but while watching it I found it curious that after all the money and talent attached to this project...it feels a little empty. I'm not saying it's not a good animation, because it is. It excels at capturing the brutal fight sequences that an older Batman faced in his return to the mean streets of Gotham, especially well. Many scenes are captured straight from the comic and animated as Miller had drawn them. However, in the end I felt this just isn't the treatment that the classic deserves. The animation, outside the action scenes is sometimes dull. Frank Miller kept the non action scenes in the comic visually dynamic by breaking up panels and using interesting page designs to keep us involved and turning the pages. In short, this movie just wasn't gritty enough. The animation is too clean. Yes there's blood, and mud, and broken limbs...but this sort of treatment needed layers of filth and sweat. We needed internal dialogue of a senior citizen Batman going through motions he hasn't committed in a decade. The voice work, lead by Peter Weller as Batman, also lacked the grit to convince us this is Frank Miller's original vision of a Batman who is old, in pain, fed up, and a Gotham City moving in to a new violent direction sans the old crowd. If you read the original and love it...you'll probably like this. If you never read the original, you'll most likely love it.
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7/10
"Chicken legs, lickin' legs. Slice and dice!"
utgard143 September 2016
First part of the animated adaptation of Frank Miller's classic comic book miniseries, The Dark Knight Returns. The comic was highly influential on the direction of superhero comics over the last 30 years. It tells the story of how Bruce Wayne returning to being Batman after a ten year absence and how the world has changed without him. This first part deals with Batman return to battle a gang known as the Mutants that is terrorizing Gotham, as well as the release of Harvey Dent (aka Two Face) from Arkham Asylum.

For the most part, it's faithful to the comic so no complaints there. The animation is decent but I can't help being disappointed it isn't more stylized. There was an episode of the 1990s Batman cartoon that featured different stories told by kids about Batman. One of them was an homage to The Dark Knight Returns. The animation in that tried, despite its television limitations, to match the style of the Frank Miller/Klaus Janson artwork from the comic. I think this would have been better served had it also tried to match that art. Instead it's fine for what it is but it isn't particularly impressive or stylish. Christopher Drake's music is very nice and at times evokes a John Carpenter vibe that I liked. The voice work is solid but I miss Kevin Conroy's Batman.

It's hard to capture what made the comic work, particularly because so much of what worked was due to the time in which it came out. Translating it faithfully word for word or picture for picture doesn't necessarily mean you can make it click the same way it did in another medium made at another time. The sad reality is this story has been copied and ripped off in various mediums since its release. Batman as a character is now firmly established in the public consciousness as the grim & gritty Dark Knight, whereas at the time the source story was first released it was cutting edge stuff. So the impact is lessened is what I'm saying. That's not the fault of the people who worked hard on this; it's just that too much time has passed and this just can't have the same impact it would have had it been made 25 or 30 years ago. It's still a fun watch, particularly for comic fans, but it will likely leave some viewers wondering what the fuss is all about. Best seen as a whole with part 2.
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8/10
Blood, sweat and mutant tears
SongOfFall25 May 2015
It's definitely one of the best Batman features I've watched in a while (not a big fan of Christopher Nolan's "Gotham's Jesus"). It's a different Batman, faithful to the character tailored by Frank Miller. This Batman is old, angry and not a bit soft. He knows what he needs to do and he does it.

The animation is dynamic and nicely drawn (not in the anime- influenced style of Flashpoint: Paradox). This is exactly how comic book adaptations should be made.

Sad thing is, best DC adaptations come in direct-to-video format. Recently I tried watching Flash and Arrow, huge letdowns, if you ask me. But "The Dark Knigh Returns" is the real deal. It isn't fake, it has the spirit and the atmosphere.

Now I'm off to my Batcave to watch the second part.
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9/10
"Surgeon... operating table" you know the drill
MisterWhiplash30 August 2014
This animated movie - the first part that adapts the first volume of the Dark Knight Returns (or, I guess it was four parts, so the first two parts) - is about as good as this comic can get. It's an animated movie, but it is able to bring the comic to life with just enough of that Frank Miller grit and action while still being somewhat, kinda, sorta, appealing for younger audiences (the original series was probably more for adults than kids despite it being Bats).

It's still got a lot of that meat-headed Frank Miller action, but the animation is fantastic, the voice-work is spot-on, and it actually kinda benefits from taking away the narration that is what Batman has in the comic book (some of that was classic, a few points that got a bit much). A lot of the satire is still intact as well with the news anchors, and you can get all of the hair-raising moments as Batman puts back on the cowl and gets in his giant tank. The mutants are still weird and scary, and despite some logical gaps I enjoyed it all very much, including the whole introduction of Carrie (the new Robin) and especially the eerie presence of the Joker as a talk-show guest (!)
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8/10
Faithful Adaptation of One of the Most Influential Comics!
mitchell59542 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and its sequel the Dark Knight Returns Part 2, are both animated movies of the DC animated line-up produced by Bruce Tim and his crew. Dark Knight Returns part one and two are based Frank Miller's famous comic of the same name. The Dark Knight Returns along with Watchmen is hailed as one of the best comics ever written. I can see why people think that way. Dark Knight Returns is not my favorite Batman but I do respect it and Watchmen. They both dealt with many heavy themes that not to many comics at the time would touch, and they were very dark as well.

This review will be on The Dark Knight Returns Part 1. The film revolves around this gang known as the mutants. This gang is wreaking havoc in Gotham, and the police are powerless. At the same time you have an aging Bruce Wayne, who has retired, observing these terrible acts of crime. Ultimately he forces himself back into the game. The story revolves around Batman and his new sidekick, Carrie Kelly a.k.a. Robin, taking back Gotham from the mutants.

I really enjoy this film. I do not like these films as much as the animated series or Nolan's Batman films, but I still highly enjoy them. Batman is awesome and more brutal than ever. Despite being old Batman kicks a lot of ass and is very brutal as well. Like Bruce Greenwood in Under the Red Hood, Peter Weller's voice took some getting used to, but it grew on me.

The character Carries Kelly surprised me a bit. I've never been that big a fan of Robin. In most incarnations I find him annoying like in Batman and Robin. However, this Robin was not annoying, and can be useful. Although she does not get a whole lot to do in this film, she does have her moments. Ariel Winter did a nice job voicing Carrie.

The rest of the voice cast did a good job as well. The art took some getting used to. It is not as appealing to the eyes as other DC animated works. At least they did not use the art from the comic. However, the art grew on me over time. The animation is very smooth which made for some good action. The action is awesome and very well animated. The score was also decent.

Overall this and Part 2 is a faithful adaptation to a great comic. Any fans of the Dark Knight returns comic should not be disappointed.
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10/10
And The Batman is back
chandlerjoey_20043 February 2013
I loved Gotham Knight. I thought it was very unique and equally well-written. They made Batman mythical again. Which needed to be done frankly; after the Nolan movies (Which I also enjoyed.) I liked Batman: Under the Red Hood because it was more traditionally produced but it also had just the right amount of darkness to make it accessible for Adults and children to enjoy it and get fulfillment from it. It was a little difficult to get over the absence of Kevin Conroy, but I was quickly convinced and accepting of a new voice for Batman. It was great. I thought Batman: Year One was beautiful for its rawness and it's ability to completely rebuild not only Commissioner Gordon's and Batman's relationship as a crime-fighting network but also the characters individually while making both sides evenly poignant.

Then this animated mini-series is released. I love the Frank Miller graphic novels of which it was based; and I've been very intrigued and enthusiastic about Batman's now-progressive plunge into his darker topics and more adult themes. Sometimes Batman has to grow up into well Batman. I was a little apprehensive, because although the animated movies were heading into Batman's dark side, they still hadn't reached the adult level of Batman lore that I had been waiting for.

I quickly reveled in it's glorious success in executing not only a darkness that has not been so openly demonstrated through The Bat's many mediums of late. Frankly, unless you frequent the comic book land of Batman (which isn't nearly everyone), you're not going to witness how dark and psychologically thrilling Batman myth can be. But this landed Batman right on the middle of edgy. Miller's creation which was brilliant in it's original form is now intriguingly and wonderfully executed. They not only produced an achievement in being just a well constructed Batman animated movie but they also managed to completely live up to Miller's edgy, dry, darkness and creating the particularly specific creation of Miller's Gotham. The style was perfect. The tone was spot on. The animation was very representative of the graphic novel. By this point, I'm very well used to the idea of Kevin Conroy not being the only voice talent that can successfully dawn the voice of Batman so the casting was easy to receive as Miller's 80's-style. Batman's struggle with his very-aged body and the evermore youthful villains that he now faces is brilliantly presented. The combat isn't

just a few shots in this anymore. It is brutal and relentless and delightful to witness. The music was well crafted to bring the specific emotional level of a Miller novel surrounding such a profound accomplishment in Batman's animated cinema. to be continued....
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8/10
What Batman: Gotham Knight should have been
oli-reed12 January 2013
The first part to The Dark Knight returns feels a lot more complete than the second half. It thrusts Frank Miller's adaptation of the Caped Crusader in both a loyal and fresh way, displaying a lot more of a flawed character who turns back to the cowl through compulsion more than why he started it.

What massively works in this productions favour is the bold and varied art direction the story is presented in, displaying a grittier and bloodier batman we are used to, and parallels the mood and tone of the character. This may seem obvious considering the post-modernist violent setting, however the violence did go further than I thought they were going to take it (BUT THIS IS NOT A BAD THING)!

Dynamics between characters are also very well written for animation and you can appreciate the subtle nuances between relationships as well as hear dialogue that reflects a character arch throughout the story.

The voice acting may feel just a little bit stiff here and there, and some of the features in the comics appear to be somewhat left out or brushed over quickly, however this is a different format to a comic so the artist should be allowed to trim some of the fat off in order to make the film feel like a cohesive narrative.

Overall, this piece feels like a lot of effort from DC has been put in to both reward the fans and pay homage to Frank Millers contribution to their wonderful icon. For animation work and superhero stories, this is one of if not the best piece of art made and is on par with the very well made Nolan films as well.
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3/10
Not a good adaptation, regrettably
amerelium24 July 2013
This goes for both part 1 and 2: Quite disappointing.

I really wanted to love this, but alas; they have changed too many of the epic moments, for no apparent reason - changing the dialogue, adding a lot of action that kind of goes against the story itself. This is most apparent in the two major showdowns that each episode end with, but also in the setup.

I also do not like Peter Weller's work here - he sounds like he is reading of a page, not talking.

The novel is epic in its setup and execution - this adaptation is anything but. I would hate for it to be anyone's introduction to this story...

I have given this a score of 3 - my standalone score would be 5, but when compared to the source material, the rating has to be lower.
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10/10
Must see for Batman Fans
reallyevilboy20 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, I'm a Batman Fan, I admit it, I'm not a Huge Batman fan but I am a Batman fan.

The Beauty behind The Dark Knight Returns part 1 and 2 is that the original comic is brilliant and this is basically the original comic in cartoon form.

The artistic style, story line, I cannot say it is exact because I'd need to go out and buy the comic and then spend the time comparing and I am not going to do that.

Basically, It's Batman as an old man with a whole lot more angst. What's not to like?
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8/10
"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" succeeds at being the best of the straight-to-DVD animated features released
ersinkdotcom29 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Warner Premiere and DC Comics have topped themselves with the Blu-ray / DVD release of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1." After the release of "Batman: Year One," the only logical choice for the Caped Crusader's next solo animated feature was evident. It was time for Frank Miller's other beloved and critically acclaimed graphic novel to be adapted for the screen.

Frank Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" not only had an effect on the entire comic book industry, it influenced director Tim Burton to make a serious film adaptation based on the super hero that turned into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Many fans and historians would say it is responsible for the popularity of comic book movies today.

It's been ten years since Batman's last appearance in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has retired the cape and cowl for a life of tedium and drinking. He meets occasionally with Commissioner Gordon for drinks and to talk about the state of the world. Gordon knows Wayne's secret and is one of his only confidants.

Bruce begins having horrible nightmares about his parents' deaths and witnesses Gotham City digress even further into the depths of depravity at the hands of a new criminal syndicate calling themselves the Mutants. He's driven to suit up once again to take on the homicidal maniacs and show the citizens of Gotham City that they need not live in fear any longer.

"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is the best animated feature film DC and Warner Premiere have released. There's no other way of putting it. It feels epic and holds a cinematic flare that the other entries in the DC animated super hero movie franchise haven't accomplished. That's not to say they aren't good or worthy of praise. However, this takes the medium to a whole new level.

The animation is top notch and, although it doesn't mimic Frank Millers artwork for the book, there's a certain respect towards the unique style of the illustrations reflected in the film. Batman is larger than life and as bulky as the Hulk, but isn't quite as "abstract" as Miller's interpretation of him in the graphic novel. This is as close to a perfect representation of the book as I can imagine.

My only complaint is that there are a few spots where the plot jumps around a bit and gets a little hard to follow. They jump from one thing to the next so quickly with brief or no explanation. The viewer is left to just keep up and embrace the fast pacing once the movie gets rolling.

Peter Weller does a wonderful job bringing an older and weary Bruce Wayne to life. When he hits the streets for the first time in ten years, you can hear the satisfaction in his voice at re-embracing his long- forgotten mission of ridding the streets of Gotham City of the filth and crime that overtakes it.

"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" will be the animated feature all future entries into the DC franchise will be measured by. They've set the bar high with this one. With a spectacular looking and sounding high-definition movie experience and some satisfying special features, this is a recommended purchase for all super hero fans.
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9/10
A Stunning and Powerful Work - True to it's Source
featheredsun1 September 2014
This is one hell of a Batman movie.

Whether or not you've read the original work by Frank Miller, which it faithfully brings to life, this film keeps you enthralled. It is a thrilling, dark flight through the the final days of the most iconic hero of our time, brought to the screen with stunning, sharp animation, wonderful pacing, and great acting throughout.

For those of you who HAVE read the original books, have no fear - I can't imagine a more thorough and faithful reproduction of Frank Miller's classic tale. It's all there - the mutants, Harvey, Gordon's retirement, the Joker's haunting laughter, ...and the schoolboy. Even the finest nuances, like mutant-slang, are well-handled and actually seem much crisper when brought to life like this. And those brilliant visual moments that were so memorable in the books - the key images we remember are all there, and they're g-ddamn gorgeous!

Even folks who haven't read the comics (sad, but oh well) will find a Batman movie with as much action as any in the franchise, and a hell of a lot darker. Don't be misled - this is not just some cartoon. For god's sake, don't let your young kids watch this, unless you like them seeing brutal murder and violence.

Finally, the voice acting is great. Weller is almost perfect for 50-yr old Bruce Wayne, and he isn't afraid to bring things down into the gritty dark pathos which drives the bat, unrelenting. Ariel Winter's plucky-sly delivery is spot on for Robin. David Selby's Gordon - salty yet compassionate. Gary Anthony Williams' brutal dominance as the Mutant leader, and Michael Emerson (freaking Ben from Lost!) just drips evil with every phrase as Joker. Honorable mention to Jim Meskimen for a perfectly done "President", and Conan O'Bryan as David Endocrine. Almost everyone brings their A-game here.

So, if you enjoy dark action movies, or Batman, you really want to get this movie right now. 9 out of 10 stars...easily.
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8/10
Brilliant ,faithfull and ultra violent,the triple word score
dregj12 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A little hard to review one half of a story but I'll try.The film is dark ,moody and has a sad and lost bruce ,that realises he must return to crime fighting before his city is destroyed and he withers up and dies of atrophy.But bruce is old,out of practice and out of shape and things are not the same in this new gotham.The city is over run by a utterly ruthless street gang called the mutants and old brucey may be outmatched. While he gets to grips with being a crime fighter again,it seems no one is happy to see batman return,news reporters and their vox pops segments decry the vigilante as a mad man who should have stayed gone.Batman however is as stubborn and single minded as ever despite the public outcry over his methods and the old fellas' mounting injuries . There has been some public outcry over the fact that kevin conroy does not voice batman,frankly im glad they went in a different direction(just this once ,mind).This is a very different batman and peter weller is a classic actor who fits the role like a glove(but i was expecting him to start quoting robocop lines any second,oh well) In conclusion I loved this film and cant wait for part two

"dead or alive your coming with me"
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