DC Universe Animated Original Movies - BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

Matt Donabie wraps up our look back at the entire range of direct to DVD DC Comics animated movies. Today it's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is an excellent adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. Very wisely DC chose to split this story into two parts (and two DVD's) giving the time needed to properly give the tale justice.

Bruce Wayne is now 55 years old, and it has been 10 years since Batman retired. With the rise of a new nemesis called the Mutant Gang, Gotham City descends deep into chaos and the Dark Knight is forced to wear his cape again. Despite his age clearly showing, Batman still takes the fight to injustice with the help of a new Robin in the form a teenage girl named Carrie Kelly.

Commissioner Gordon, at the age of 70, is being replaced with an Anti-Batman minded Ellen Yindel, and things get worse as two of Batman's greatest villains, Two Face & the Joker (who have been keeping quiet thanks to plastic surgery and a catatonic state respectively), break out of Arkham Asylum and the public blame Batman for their return.

The government feels Batman has gotten out of hand with his do-whatever-to-do-what-is-right policy and sends Superman, his former ally and friend, to take him down once and for all. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns also features Selina Kyle (but no longer as Catwoman) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) who plays a short but vital part to tie up this Masterpiece.

Just as the source material depicted, this really is one of the darkest portrayals of the Batman universe we've ever seen, you can't help but wonder how it got away with a PG-13 rating. It's possibly the most thrilling animated movie I've seen yet, the whole story and many of the fight scenes are... well... just epic. There really is no other word for it.

Part 1 of the story gives us face-offs with Harvey Dent & the Mutant Leader which are both great, but it's really in Part 2 with battles against the Joker and Superman where the story is taken to a whole new level.

Before viewing I was surprised that Kevin Conroy did not provide the voice to the aging Batman, instead we have Peter Weller, and it became clear that it was absolutely the right choice. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is well paced, superbly written, beautifully animated and savagely action packed. There are many surprises and it goes a long way to reaffirm the fact that the Dark Knight will continue to amaze us in unprecedented ways for many, many years to come.

An absolute 10 out of 10.

Superman: Doomsday
Justice League: The New Frontier
Batman: Gotham Knight
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern: First Flight
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Batman: Under The Red Hood
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
All-Star Superman
Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Batman: Year One
Justice League: Doom
Superman vs The Elite
Superman: Unbound
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Justice League: War
Batman: Son of Batman
Batman: Assault on Arkham
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