The Dark Knight Returns: Part II: God V Man

As far as sequels go, this is pretty damn good. I enjoyed it more than part one. It picks up few months after the events of its predecessor. There’s more action, and more interesting storylines in my opinion. One thing is obvious from the get go. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Peter Weller) and his trusted sidekick, Carrie Kelley/Robin (Ariel Winters) have a more trusted and intimate working relationship. He treats her like his own daughter and tries his utmost to keep her from harm. Alfred mentions that what he’s doing with her is reckless and reminds him about what happened to Jason.

Jason Todd was one of many previous Robins who worked with The Batman. He became Robin when Dick Grayson/Nightwing became a hero in his own right. Jason was killed by The Joker in Death Of Family. He wasn’t favoured by fans so DC comics put it to a vote whether to kill him or not, and the fans wanted him dead so they killed him off. But he was resurrected in the ‘Under The Red Hood’ storyline as The Red Hood who is an anti-hero and similar to Batman in many ways, most notably in his use of lethal weapons, lots of force and doing what’s necessary to get the job done.

Does this look familiar? Bruce living with the guilt of Jason? And contemplating whether to risk it with Carrie as well

Does this look at all familiar? Bruce living with the guilt of Jason? And contemplating whether to risk it with Carrie as well. I think Jena Malone could quite possibly be Carrie Kelley/Robin in Dawn Of Justice

As I mentioned, the story resumes months after the defeat of the Mutant Leader at the hands of The Batman. This movie is based on the other half of the Frank Miller comic book. Out of this defeat, the mutants are now calling themselves the ‘Sons Of Batman’. Meanwhile at the GCPD, Gordon has retired and the new police commissioner Ellen Yindel (Maria Canals-Barrera) has taken charge of Gotham City Police Department. As her first act in this position of power, she has acquired a warrant for the arrest of The Batman, and her manhunt is relentless. Then she sees that he’s too big. Even if she arrested him, Batman is a legend of Gotham.

Batman has put some very bad people away. If he’s gone, Gotham’s criminals will see it as a oppurtunity to run riot again. Gotham needs Batman. Sometimes, you need the bad people to get rid of the badder people. Meanwhile, tensions are high between the USA and the Soviet Union in Corto Maltese in the midst of a Cold War crisis. The American president hears that Batman has come out retirement and he’s not a fan of his methods. It seems it’s okay to send troops to war but not okay for one guy to apprehend criminals in his city by doing what’s necessary. It’s okay for the government to send troops to kill people but it’s not okay for one man in a bat costume to enact his own brand of justice. This all seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me. The President sends Batman’s former-best friend and founding member of the Justice League, Clarke Kent/Superman to confront Batman and put him down if he has to.

Morally superior to everyone; truth, justice and freedom. Everything America claims to be

Morally superior to everyone; truth, justice and freedom. Everything America claims to be. There’s good use of symbolism with the eagle too.

There are separate plot arcs within the story. In part one, we had the Mutants and the plot with Harvey Dent as well as the consistent media broadcasts adding to the overall aura of the movie. In part two, we have the Joker’s return (up to his old games again), Superman’s involvement with Bats and the war in Corto Maltese. I also think the script for part two is better than part one. I enjoyed the political storyline a lot more than the mutant’s tyranny in Gotham. I found the politics of this story relatable to our own world. Also, I liked how the conflict in Corto Maltese directly affects Batman’s doings in Gotham. Furthermore, there are fewer uses of media coverage and more dialogue from different characters. There is a cameo from a badly aged Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Tress MacNeille), looking a bit worse for wear.

I did like the media coverage in part one, but as with all news reporters, their voices become dried up. Newsreaders talk with same voices despite the topic area. Somebody could have been brutally killed and you’d still hear the same emotions in their voice as if they were reporting on the a new president’s inauguration. The voice of newsreader gets boring and tiresome so I was glad that it was lacking this time around. The rapport between Bats and the Joker makes for an interesting movie. The conflict is constantly changing between the mind and the body. This a more agile Joker. In the movies, the Joker has always been weak, fragile and skinny but with a sound mind and numerous henchmen to pull of his schemes. This time, he works mostly alone and gives Bats a lot of grief. The notion that they need each other is a fiction in this. In the movies, The Joker claims he couldn’t kill Batman because he’s too much fun but they’ve been at it for decades and I think they’ve both had enough.

This is the worst I've seen The Joker. He wants to go out with a bang and he doesn't disappoint

This is the worst I’ve seen The Joker. He wants to go out with a bang and he doesn’t disappoint

The film doesn’t dabble in the duo’s origins. They expect the viewer to know the back-stories of both characters and I don’t blame them. I would have done the same. Batman’s relationship with Robin is uncanny to the relationship a father should have with his daughter, quite similar to that between Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) in the Kick-Ass movies. The rapport between the two characters is highly amusing and comical like when she keeps asking if she’s fired when she does something untoward. The final battle between the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime is savage, brutal and extremely violent thus the R-Rating accompanied by the epic score by Christopher Drake.

On March 25, the eagerly anticipated Zack Snyder movie, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice will drop in cinemas. This is where it takes some of its inspiration, alas we have the Batman V Superman fight at the end of this animated feature. Superman is represented as a government lapdog. He goes where the President tells him to go without question. He’s the government’s hired muscle to remove anything that hinders the US government from reaching their goals. The Batman V Superman battle in Crime Alley is truly excellent and it elevated my enjoyment of the comic even more. Anyone who is watching this for the first time will be confused why they’re fighting. It’d be good to have some backstory on these characters and how they because adversaries. I’d recommend watching Batman/Superman: Public Enemies to get a feel of the friendship they once had.

Batman V Superman

Batman V Superman

The Sons Of Batman subplot was very interesting. It shows Gotham that Batman does have a soul. He’s not this ruthless tyrant that the media and Yindel believe him to be. He gives a sensational speech whilst on horseback to ‘The Sons Of Batman’ about their doings. He changes these thugs into a movement that could help Gotham in the future. When Gotham’s power fails, anarchy ensues. When people gets scared, they resort to mass panic and that’s when the looting starts. He rallies the public to his side. He persuades them to settle their petty differences with one another to bring order to Gotham City. The police couldn’t do anything as they didn’t have the man power and that’s when Yindel saw Batman’s true colours. He’s bbigger than one man and could’t be destroyed. You can destory a man but you can’t destory a story, legend or an idea. The idea being that oridnary people were now standing up for their neighbourhoods and not being intimidated by thugs. They were defending themselves rather than relying on our masked vigilante to protect them from the dark corners of the city. They were taking back their city and I really got behind that community spirity, especially in place as savage, ruthless and corrupt as Gotham City.

The voice performances from Batman, Superman and The Joker were on point. Peter Weller is no Kevin Conroy but is still awesome. The Joker is voiced by Michael Emmerson. His craziness matched the dystopian Gotham this story is set in. It was truly terrifying but he’s no Mark Hamill. Hamill and Conroy are in their own league of voice acting. Mark Valley as Superman is great. You can really feel the passion in his voice, as if he truly believes what the government is doing is right. The government takes out anyone who gets in their way. Just like in part one, Winter’s plays an adorable Carrie Kelley. The blacks and blues in the animation style continue to excell but what got me is the scene in The Tunnel Of Love when Bats has is final confrontation with The Joker. I also enjoyed when Superman was made to look as mortal as a common ordinary human when Bats put him down a peg or two in their battle, no thanks to a kryptonite arrow from Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Robin Atkin Downes) as well as Alfred slowing Superman down with a few missiles.

Oliver Queen wanted in on Bats' plan against Supes. He wanted revenge on Superman. I'll give you hint why..."nothing attached."

Oliver Queen wanted in on Bats’ plan against Supes. He wanted revenge on Superman. I’ll give you hint why…”nothing attached.”

In conclusion, I loved this movie a lot more than part one and it happens to be my favorite comic book movie as well. I love the political arcs as well as the feel good spirit with the Sons Of Batman in Gotham. The Batman V Superman fight is a battle of ideologies. Right and wrong are relative and it’s obvious throughout the movie that it’s taken inspirtations from our own governements in the way that they can’t see how others look at situations. Their arrogance in thinking that they are always right. Plus the Joker’s story was incredibly well thought out and very dark and serious. Christopher Drake’s score has won me again and I can watch both of these movies over and over again without tyring.

The Dark Knight Returns is the closest thing DC will get to Civil War. 2016 is a year of gladiator matches. Daredevil: Season 2 is out in two weeks where he will face off against Frank Castle/Punisher. Batman V Superman is coming out on March 25 and Captain America: Civil War is out on April 29. These are all battles of ideologies thus they are sort of mimicing the Cold War all over again. DC have made some great animated features including: Son Of Batman, Justice League: War and Superman: Unbound to name a few. Their quality knows no limits and I’m glad to add this one to the growing list, with Batman: Bad Blood having just been released and Batman: Killing Joke arriving later on in 2016.