Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

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Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Batman has not been seen for ten years and new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era? 

With long time ally commissioner James Gordon retiring, the Gotham authorities want the returning Batman arrested.  Not to mention old foes wanting a reunion and the fact that the Feds want the Man of Tomorrow to put a stop to him once and for all.

With Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some old Superman and Batman films and graphic novels. I’ve already reviewed Man of Steel HERE if you want to check that out. However, today is all about Batman, kinda.

You see The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller actually features Batman verses Superman as one of it’s main plot lines. The movie is rumoured to be not too heavily influenced by this piece of work, but hopefully it at least learnt some lesson from it because it’s really good. I recently read the graphic novel itself however I’ve also watched the two part animated adaptions as well. I loved them both, though I think I actually prefer the animated versions a little bit more.

The thing to take note of in this storyline is Bruce Waynes age, he’s 55 years old now. His body isn’t what it use to be, he’s carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Guilt, frustrations etc. Sound familiar to the Batman V Superman sub plot? Good. It should.

This graphic novel is why I’m looking forward to this movie, because I’ve seen this clash done right. I know how well it can be done and I’m optimistic that Ben Affleck’s Batman will capture at least some of the spirit of this one. I’m also concerned that the movie is trying to do too much at once, so that it won’t have time to flesh out the characters enough. That remains to be seen, but currently it looks a lot like Spider-Man 3. Too much crammed into one movie.

The animated version is broken up into two separate films. The first half focuses on Harvey Dent and the Mutant Leader, while the second is all about The Joker and Superman. This decision allows for the movies to be paced correctly, slowly feeding you the plot rather than shoving it all down your throat so it can get to the conclusion.

In a way you could consider the plot line of The Dark Knight returns to be somewhat of a retirement tour. Four big enemies to best before his body calls time on his war against crime. The big difference between this plot and the up coming movie however is that in this universe, Batman and Superman are already friends having fought side by side and against each other in the past. In Batman V Superman, it’s the first time they lock up. So that will be very interesting to see.

I’m hopeful for Batman V Superman, but if it turns out to be a stinker. Watch or read these instead. I highly recommend indulging in either version of this story available to you. Check them out!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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