Batman films don’t get any better than this.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name by acclaimed comic creator Frank Miller, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns tells the story of Batman in his twilight years after having retired from the superhero business.
Peter Weller takes on the roll of the aging crime fighter, and captures the gritty character perfectly. In the film Batman is well into his 60s and he is a giant of a man. His body is stiff and damaged from years of abuse. He has lost some of the compassion detected in other incarnations. While he isn’t out to kill, he has no problem crushing a few bad guys, possibly crippling them for life.
This is not the 1950′s version of Batman. You really get the idea he has some serious mental health issues.
Joined by a new Robin played by Ariel Winter, (a girl Robin by the way) The Dark Knight must stop Two Face and end the siege of terror created by a gang called The Mutants. These guys make many of the past villains seem tame. The Mutants are only interested in violence for the sake of violence, and they kill without compunction, anyone is fair game including young children.
I found myself rooting for Batman in a way I never have before. He’s always been a man outnumbered, but in this film he is not impervious. Miller plays upon the fact that he is really just a man. His suite is not armored, it is just cloth, and when he is hit with a steel pipe, he bleeds.
I won’t give the whole movie away nor will I print a bunch of spoilers, but I will say this, Batman can take a beating.
This summer most of us went to see The Dark Knight Rises. I for one was disappointed in the film. It just didn’t do it for me. The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 is everything I wanted “Rises” to be. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a better Batman movie.
I can’t wait for Part 2 and the full on battle between Batman and Superman, which was awesome to read, but will be incredible to watch.
So here’s my recommendation, if you only watch one Batman movie this year, make it Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1.