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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Blu-ray Review

Frank Miller’s classic comic book mini-series partially comes to life in “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1.”

Based on Frank Miller’s groundbreaking comic book series, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is set in a not too distant future in which Bruce Wayne has hung up the cape and cowl. With violence at an all time high due to the Mutants, however, Bruce Wayne must once again don the Batman costume to combat them and make Gotham City a safer place. While all of this is going on, there are also several key subplots involving Harvey Dent (who has had a recent facial reconstruction), Jim Gordon (who is nearing retirement), political/news debates about Batman, the rise of a new Robin (Carrie Kelley to be exact), and a certain Batman foe/Arkham Asylum mental patient.

When Frank Miller unleashed “The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986, he received acclaim from fans and critics alike. Instead of having an Adam West esque “Batman,” Miller opted to focus on a darker version of “Batman” that was political, layered, complex, and psychological. While there is much to admire about the tone and concepts of ‘Returns,’ I never drooled over the story like others did. In fact, I thought Miller put out an even stronger story a year later with “Batman: Year One.”

The real problem with ‘Returns,’ especially in part 1, is the mutant storyline. Not only is it vague and silly, but it feels like a forced idea for Batman to come out of retirement. While the idea of Batman retiring is out of character to begin with, the idea of Batman being tortured by his retirement was an interesting concept to explore. Still, there are plenty of other ideas to lure Batman out of retirement that would have been more suitable (and less absurd).

Mutants and retirement aside, however, the rest of the first part of the animated film has a lot to enjoy. The psychotic Harvey Dent subplot, Carrie Kelley being inspired to become Robin, Batman outwitting his opponents, any scene with Jim Gordon- all rich material. But, let’s face it, the best is yet to come here as the real meat of the story lies in the upcoming part 2…

Summary: “The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1” is a good start and is a much more satisfying Batman adventure than the lackluster “The Dark Knight Rises.” Now, bring on the Joker centric “The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2.”


The film, which is presented in 1.78:1 1080p, is not an exact replica of Frank Miller’s comics, but it does capture the mood, atmosphere and general designs of characters. Watching the film in hi-def is definitely the way to go here as the animation really shines in 1080p.

The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track is nice and loud. The action in particular is noticeably impressive.

* Trailers for “H+,” 5 DC animated series DVD titles, DCU app, “Thundercats,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Before Watchmen.”
* Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” digital comic book.
* A sneak peek of “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.”
* “Her Name Is Carrie…Her Role Is Robin”- A featurette on the female Robin character and Miller’s Batman.
* Ultraviolet Digital Copy and a DVD Copy.
* The great “Two-Face” two-parter from the “Batman: The Animated Series.” Then again, just about everything is great from TAS.
* “Batman And Me: The Bob Kane Story”- An interesting featurette on “Batman” creator Bob Kane that features archival footage of him on shows, photographs, interviews with friends/family, and loads of stories about his life.
* “A Sneak Peek At Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Part 2” that features storyboards, interviews, voice acting clips, etc.

October 5, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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