blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013, Jay Oliva)

The strong parts of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 make the weak ones often easy to ignore. But nothing’s strong enough to overcome the weakest spots. First is the misogyny. I assume it’s straight from the comic. The filmmakers chose to embrace it (the fidelity to the source material is a lot of Part 2’s problem); it’s obvious–the new, female police commissioner ignores her smarter male elder juxtaposed against the new, female Robin who embraces hers–and tiring. Director Oliva really enjoys showing Batman punch out women too.

The second problem is Michael Emerson as the Joker. He’s awful and turns half of Part 2 into something of a waste of time. It has no emotional impact. Oliva’s action direction, Christopher Drake’s score and Christopher D. Lozinski’s editing are fantastic throughout. Part 2 is a great visual experience.

The second half has Mark Valley’s Superman and Valley does a fine job voicing him. Screenwriter Bob Goodman–and Miller–portray Superman as Reagan’s goon (the film keeps the eighties setting and Ronnie as the president), which doesn’t give Valley much to do, but he does well with what he’s got.

Peter Weller’s still good as Batman; but he too has little to do. He has maybe three real scenes in the entire runtime. Ariel Winter’s a little better as Robin than she was before, but maybe just because she’s in it less.

The filmmakers stick to the source material. They don’t improve it; it definitely needs improving.

One response to “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013, Jay Oliva)”

  1. Matthew Hurwitz

    This was really disappointing. Part 1 was merely adequate, Part 2 is just tedious. The action scenes were the weakest part of the original comic and Part 2 is little else. Losing Miller’s hard-boiled internal monologues just turns this into typical DCU anime. There’s shades of Zach Snyder’s “Watchmen” in how dumbed-down and spectacle-oriented everything becomes. Emerson’s Joker sounds like Charles Nelson Reilly. Peter Weller sounds bored. Points for Conan O’Brien as David Endochrine, but everything else felt totally uninspired.

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