Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/29/13
Director: Jay Oliva
Music: Christopher Drake
Cast: Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, David Selby

After the amazing experience of part 1, the conclusion of Frank Miller's groundbreaking tale seems to come up a bit short. The film opens with the "reformed" Joker going on a massive killing spree, forcing Batman to lose his cool and face him in one final confrontation. From there, Superman stumbles onto the scene as a military puppet of the government, ordered by a Ronald Reagan-esque president to squash the Batman. Bruce pulls all of his resources together to go one-on-one against the man of steel, knowing full well the awful price of doing so.

Unfortunately, the whole thing seems jumbled and aimless, but I suppose the graphic novel got that way towards the end as well. It maintains the visual style of the first installment, but the voice acting is even more emotionally flat and uninspired. That's what killed the movie for me. Batman's rallying cry to the people of Gotham is so weak and lackluster that I wanted to weep in anguish. Sadly, Jim Gordon's call to arms isn't any better, and Andrea Romano's direction makes the production feel like it came out in the mid 70's. This installment really needed a strong emotional punch, and it's just not there. Even Christopher Drake's music score is a bit soft. However, I'm still super excited that the movie got made, and I deeply appreciate that it honors the source material so well. Despite its flaws, comic book fans everywhere should rejoice at its accomplishments, and applaud Warner Brothers for having the courage to give it such an adult treatment.