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Non-Review Review: The Dark Knight Returns, Part I

Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns might just be the most influential Batman comic ever written. It offers a glimpse an alternate future where Batman has retired as Gotham’s protector, and where a new wave of violence brings him back out of that retirement. It is also, and perhaps more notably, a study of the character’s psychology. It’s notable for suggesting that Bruce Wayne’s obsessions might be ultimately self-destructive and that there’s a primal conflict between the “Batman” part of his persona and Bruce Wayne. Like Watchmen, it’s generally recognised as one of the comics that represented a maturity in the medium.

Warner Brothers have produced an animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic, and I can’t help but admire it a great deal. While Alan Moore’s Watchmen was a novel that never really lent itself to film, Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns always had a cinematic quality that I think director Jay Oliva captures remarkably well.

A dark and stormy knight…

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Batman: The Animated Series – Perchance to Dream (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Given how much care Batman: The Animated Series put into crafting and caring for the Caped Crusader’s iconic selection of bad guys, it’s often easy to overlook just how skilfully the series handled its central character. Batman has frequently been accused of being far less interesting than his costumed adversaries – particularly in Batman and Batman Returns – so it’s reassuring to note that Bruce Tim and his stable of writers had a very firm grasp on the character of Gotham’s Dark Knight. Perchance to Dream is one of the stories that offers perhaps the greatest insight into who Bruce Wayne is and what he wants. And, perhaps, why he could never have it.

Sweet dreams…

Note: This review contains spoilers. Given the episode aired twenty years ago, I consider it fair game. If you haven’t seen it already, please feel free to come back when you have. It is very good.

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Animated Dark Knight Returns Trailer

This seems an appropriate note on which to close out a month of Batman coverage to celebrate The Dark Knight Rises.

Warner Brothers’ superb animated department are doing an animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, one of the truly iconic Batman stories. Really, it’s great. And they’ve assembled a pretty neat cast, including Peter Weller (Robocop) as the Dark Knight himself. They are, unfortunately, splitting the movie into two seventy-minute chunks (rather than one one-hundred-and-twenty-minute film), but it looks like they’ve done a good job capturing the look and feel.

The Batman themed adaptations have (generally) been the strongest entries in the series, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Non-Review Review: Batman – Year One

 

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

With the release of The Dark Knight Rises just around the corner, it makes sense for Warner Brothers to capitalise on one of the greatest influences on Nolan’s trilogy. Frank Miller’s take on Batman – as defined in Year One and The Dark Knight Returns – was bold, brash, clever and iconoclastic. So it’s only fair that both stories are receiving animated adaptations for Warner Brothers. While Batman: Year One might be little more than a shot-for-shot and line-by-line adaptation of Frank Miller’s origin for the Dark Knight, there’s absolutely no shame in that. Year One is perhaps my favourite Batman story, and I think it’s one certainly worth telling.

“I shall become a bat…”

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