BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PT. 1 review

Warner Home Video
Format: Blu-ray/DVD/UV combo pack
Release date: September 25, 2012
MSRP: $24.98
Starring the voices of Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, David Selby, Wade Williams.|
Written by Bob Goodman, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson

Ten years after the last Robin’s death drove him to retire as Batman, 55-year-old Bruce Wayne remains haunted by his parents’ murder until it drives him back into action. Fans of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns have long asked for an animated adaptation. And, as they have many times before, Warner Bros. Animation delivers a product that brings the comics’ tone and scope to life.

Much of the movie’s success is on the shoulders of Peter Weller, who comes after Kevin Conroy’s portrayal of an 85-year-old Bruce Wayne in the 1999 animated series, Batman Beyond. Weller carries the cachet of having played futuristic, resurrected crimefighter RoboCop. Along with Weller, David Selby plays a close-to-retirement Commissioner Gordon, who has maintained his friendship with Bruce while not giving up the good fight himself. Ariel Winter provides sharp contrast, playing the feisty Carrie Kelley, inspired to become Robin after being saved by Batman.

I had not read The Dark Knight Returns beforehand, so a lot of the action naturally surprised me. I did know this was Part 1 of 2, and was concerned where the story would break. Having watched a sneak peek of Part 2 included on the disc, it seems the greatest threats are yet to come, but I appreciate Part 1 for striking the right tone. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be on board for Part 2. Miller’s Gotham is a place of realistic cynicism. There are few victories, and none are easy. That makes Batman’s decision to fight on all the more compelling.

Along with the aforementioned sneak peek of Part 2 (which is due out in Winter 2013), the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is highlighted by featurettes on Carrie Kelley and Bob Kane.

Gerald So