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Blu-ray Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two

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Our friends out at Warner Brothers sent over something very special for us, folks, because today we’ve got a copy of “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two” to cover. For those of you who might be concerned because this is of the animated variety, don’t be, because there will be action and twists enough in here to be more than worthy of the more live-action Dark Knight runs. This one hits stores on Tuesday, so for those interested, you’ll want in on this one.

“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two” picks up where the previous one left off. With Commissioner Gordon out and Commissioner Yindel in, with the Mutants street gang now the Sons of Batman, and Batman back in the field complete with a new Robin, things might just be turning around once and for all in Gotham City. At least, they were before a major catastrophe was about to slam into Gotham, one so bad that even Metropolis’ savior, Superman, gets called in to attempt to turn the tide. But it’s not just natural disasters about to hit Gotham, there’s something worse–if you can believe that–waiting. One of Batman’s oldest foes has emerged from the depths of the Arkham Asylum…and the mood is looking a little too grim for his tastes. He’s going to bring a smile to Gotham’s face, catastrophe or no…even if it kills everyone in town.

Fair warning: this isn’t one for the kids. There will be quite a bit of blood, a few profanities, and plenty of violence. This may be a cartoon, but this is no Saturday morning affair. This is surprisingly intense stuff, and the kind of thing that DC has been doing quite a bit of of late. It’s not entirely too objectionable, you understand–it’s PG-13–but it’s still worth noting for those who see cartoon and think kids.

This may not be quite as twisty as the Nolan-grade Dark Knights have given us, but then, it’s meant to be slightly more accessible.  But then, they did a great job with this.  There will be more than a few “Hey, was that…?” moments in there as some fairly big name voice talents got involved in this. Peter Weller, for example–the original Robocop–is now serving as the voice of Batman, and there’s plenty more where that came from. The plot itself is a wonderful amalgam of several other plots before it. There are bits of the comic series “No Man’s Land” in here, as well as some parts of the earlier “Batman & Superman: Public Enemies”. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all surprisingly well-done.

For those who like their special features, don’t worry, because you’re going to be crammed full of them. There’s an excerpt from “The Dark Knight Falls” digital comic, a collection of featurettes about the characters in the movie, a collection of three cartoons from the DC Vault (specifically, two from “Batman: The Animated Series” and one from the newer “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”), and trailers for “Superman: Unbound”, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part One”, “The Hobbit: Part One”, “Before Watchmen”, as well as other titles from DC and the DCU app for iOS devices, Sony PSP and online. There are also a set of audio options as well as your choice of English, French, German, and Spanish subtitles.

“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two” can best be described as “worthy”. In a lot of ways, really; it’s a well-built story that has just about the best of everything put into it. It may not be on par with the bigger releases, but it’s still going to be a magnificently assembled and magnificently realized package that hits plenty of high notes and brings a bundle of surprises along.

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