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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animated > Graphic Novel > Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012/Warner Premiere/DC Comics Blu-ray)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012/Warner Premiere/DC Comics Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: C+     Film: B



This new to Blu-ray animated film follows The Dark Knight as he comes out of retirement at the age of 55 to combat a growing problem gang in Gotham known as The Mutants.  This animated film is based on the 1986 Frank Miller Graphic Novel and does NOT connect with the 2012 Christopher Nolan (Batman: The Dark Knight Rises) film.


The film is quite good and does the source material justice.  I have always been a Frank Miller (Sin City) fan and his work is timeless.  Peter Weller (Robocop) does an excellent job voicing Batman, bringing depth to an already excellent story.  Dark Knight Returns was originally released as a four comic series before being a single bound graphic novel (and subsequently getting a 2001 sequel); here on Blu-ray we get nearly a frame by frame animated translation of that series.  Granted the film does not use the internal monologue for Bruce/Batman like the comic utilized, which is disappointing and changes the feel to a degree, but still nice.  What the original ‘internal monologue’ did was hash out Batman’s struggle with this ‘new world’ and himself (mainly his age handicapping his abilities).  Dark Knight Returns is a 1.5-hour translation of a masterpiece.


Frank Miller’s work was undoubtedly hard to bring to the small screen, but it does fine enough here.  We get to see an aged/bitter batman take on a new world that has learned to live without him and for all intents and purposes doesn’t want him anymore.  Batman feels the world needs his presence again.  The film introduces many new faces, but also goes down memory lane to show the world has changed.  Some are as they were, but others have moved on; only shells of their former selves.  The Dark Knight Returns is one of the better animated films to go straight to Blu-ray for WB/DC and shows promise for Part 2 to be even better.


The picture on this animated film is a 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC Encoded Widescreen that does it right.  Animation is crisp and clean with dark inky blacks, stunning shadows, and colors splashing the screen here and there.  The sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD lossless Master Audio that is nicely done, but doesn’t always utilize the whole soundscape; though dialogue comes through clean and clear.  Music is booming (adding atmosphere) and directionality is adequate.  No blaring flaws here.


Extras include:

·         Digital Comic

·         Her Name is Carrie…Her role is Robin

·         Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story

·         Two Classic Batman cartoons from WB vault

·         Preview of The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2


The extras weren’t fantastic as the featurettes are a tad short and can be dry.  It was nice, however, to look at some classic Batman animation (released on DVD previously).



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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