Part of me planned an actual review for this post. I had it all plotted beforehand.
I was going to talk about the similarities and difference between the adaptation and it’s source material. Or how the artwork in the animated feature was a fair representation of Frank Miller’s handiwork.
I was going to discuss the overarching themes of blind patriotism (whether it be in allegiance to country or ideals) or the fact people simply never change, regardless of the length of time they are allowed to sit quietly and rethink what they have done.
Hell, I was fully prepared to take notes so I could cover all of this.
Then, I turned it on, and my mind went blank. It was filled with the aching joy of a long-time Batman fan seeing what is generally regarded not only as one of the greatest Batman storylines ever, but as one of the greatest graphic novels ever published brought to life right before my eyes. My mind flashed back to the first time I saw Dark Knight Returns, Pt. 1 and I was flooded with the same sort of orgasmic joy that I felt that whole day.
Now, I watched the two under different conditions. Part one was watched in a dank, cold basement on a fussy little laptop. Two days before my 24th birthday, I was bundled up with a hot pizza on my lap and beautiful lady helping me dispose of the food, waiting to take the pizza’s place after the credits rolled. But all that’s gone now, and I’m relegated to this same dirty armchair in which I typically enjoy Doctor Who and Batman media of all sorts. Sitting quietly in my well-worn pajamas, completely alone in my parents’ near-desolate house, I picked up right where I left off, and it was as if the whole world was watching with me.
We saw Joker’s clever return to the limelight. We saw him trick the masses and the television audience, and watch him slaughter a room full of helpless people on live TV. Batman wasn’t able to stop him at that time, but we always knew that he could. So Batman followed close behind, arriving at the carnival in style and playing out every Batman fan’s greatest fantasy and worst nightmare: the final battle the Dark Knight and Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime.
They crashed through the Hall of Mirrors and took the fight to the Tunnel of Love, an oddly fitting scene for the duo that often blur the line between faithful lovers and most-hated enemies. Joker snapped, stabbing and stabbing at the guts of Batman. And Batman snapped, grabbing the Joker’s head with all his might.
And Joker’s neck… well, it followed suit and snapped just like the others.
The U.S. government began to take notice of Batman’s actions and sent their golden boy to clean up the mess. Seeing Batman don his powered armor suit in preparation for his fight with Superman sent chills up my spine.
The legendary fight between Batman and Superman, the one that everyone talks about in hypotheticals, finally takes place, and it is truly something to behold. While Bruce is well past his physical prime, he is so driven to win and show Superman exactly how vulnerable he is.
Plus, Batman smashes Superman with a wrecking ball, which ultimately doesn’t phase him, but it’s still amazingly bad-ass to watch regardless.
For those of you who haven’t watch the new film OR read the decades-old graphic (and if that’s the case, shame on you), I’ll refrain from telling you the ending. I will say this and nothing more… it’s quite a heart-stopper.
Whether you’ve been a fan of Frank Miller’s masterful work that helped reshape Batman as a tortured hero AND revolutionized the face of comics in the 1980’s, or you’ve just picked up your first Batman comic after enjoying Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Dark Knight Returns Pts. 1 and 2 are absolutely not to be missed. And with the two of them clocking in at almost 2 and a half hours combined, it’s well worth the money
Plus, where else are you going to find Batman fighting a butch neo-Nazi with only swastika pasties covering her nipples? NOWHERE ELSE, I tell you!