Editor’s Note: This article is filled with spoilers!
Part of the long line of Direct-to-DVD DC Universe movies by Warner Bros, Animation and the graphic novel by famous comic book writer Frank Miller (300, Batman: Year One, Sin City), The Dark Knight Returns is a two part story, meaning they are two DVDs featuring an older Batman/Bruce Wayne where Gotham city has fallen after he has retired. A gang of teens called “The Mutants” have been terrorizing the city. This along with some weird dreams and being stubborn, Bruce forces Batman out of retirement to reclaim Gotham City.
This is not well received by the media, local officials and others who feel that the Batman’s way of justice is not good for the city while others such as spokeswoman Lana Lang agrees with the Batman’s tactics. Along the way, Batman is joined by a new Robin after the second Robin, Jason Todd, died (which tells you exactly where this story takes place). Meet Carrie Kelly, the first female robin. For those who have never read the Batman comics, Carrie Kelly was not the only female Robin. Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake’s (the third male Robin) former girlfriend also served as Robin for a short period of time. A confrontation is held between the Batman and the leader of the Mutants. Batman reclaims the city while the mutant gang of teens follow Batman and start calling themselves “The Sons of Batman.”
At the beginning of the second DVD, the actions of Batman awakens one of his greatest foes, The Joker. He brings chaos all over Gotham with a record death count. Meanwhile the new police commissioner has issued a warrant for Batman’s arrest and the government is also in fear of the Batman’s actions, sending the Man of Steel to take down Batman through any means necessary.
This animated adaption stays very faithful to the graphic novel and the animation quality once again proves why DC Comics dominates the animation scene over Marvel Comics along with the brilliant idea to base animated movies on the greatest comic book stories ever written. I highly recommend giving The Dark Knight Returns a watch.