Batman: The Dark Knight Returns—Part 2 (2013)

batman the dark knight returns part 2 dvd cover
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Strong adaptation of Frank Miller's Dark Knight

Younger viewers won't understand some of the political aspects of the story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 2

Studio:  Warner Bros. Animation

Genre(s):  Animated/Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  January 29, 2013

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


There’s something in my eye…

Batman has defeated the Mutants and taken control of Gotham City.  Through his actions, he’s attracted the attention of the authorities, the Joker, and the world…and the President of the United States cannot have himself made a fool.  As Batman battles an escaped Joker and Commissioner Jim Gordon’s replacement Ellen Yindel works to bring in Batman, Superman has been dealing with a potentially nuclear situation involving the Soviet Union.  When events come to a head and Superman is dispatched to stop Batman, Batman must call upon Alfred, Robin, and Green Arrow to end the conflict once and for all.


Nuclear suntan not working for you, Clark?

Directed by Jay Oliva, Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 2 is the second and final part of the adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic and critically acclaimed 1986 comic.  The movie follows Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 1 which was released on September 25, 2012 and both films were released separately as well as a complete version released later in 2013.

This is the meat of Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns.  Though Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 1 was a strong movie on its own, this is the one that fans and viewers have been waiting for.  Not only does it provide a strong adaptation of the original work, but it provides a preview of what could be in the future of DC films by providing the ultimate throwdown between Batman and Superman.


I always found these “Sugar & Spike” wannabes creepy

Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 2 does face a bigger problem than Part 1 however.  It can really alienate the younger viewers.  Growing up (and a kid) in 1986, the threat of nuclear war was terrifying.  Ronald Reagan was the good guy and the Soviets were the bad guys.  Miller used Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns to cast a suspicious eye on Reagan’s motives and now it has been a long time that much of this subplot of cold war politics might be lost on younger viewers.  In a lot of ways, I think the movie manages to simplify the bulky dialogue filled story and make it much more manageable to digest.  The revolutionary news stuff done by Miller doesn’t translate to film well and fortunately has been trimmed down in this volume.


Green Arrow…you’re such a backseat driver!

The film also contains some great sequences.  Not only do you have the fun battle between Joker and Batman at the amusement park (where you finally get to see what would happen if Batman DID kill Joker), but you also have the ultimate battle between Batman and Superman.  It has always been proposed in comic book lore, but Frank Miller did a good job of making it a fair fight…and letting the little guy win.  It is a smart ending to the story (though I did always feel bad that Bruce made no mention of Alfred).


You can stop saying “I’m Batman”, Bruce…I know you’re Batman…

I really enjoy how the film looks and sounds as well.  The animation is smooth, slick, and stylish and translates Miller’s vision well and even more vibrant and colorful (the comic was more intentionally washed out).  The movie also employed some great voice actors with Peter Weller as Batman, Tress MacNeille, Conan O’Brien, Michael McKean, and Michael Jackson as Alfred…ok, not that Michael Jackson, but it is always kind of funny when you see it pop-up in the credits.

Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 2 is a fun ride and one of the best Batman movies (at least animated).  It is an “Elseworlds” story in that it doesn’t fit in with DC’s major animated plans which smartly do incorporate many of their animated films, but it is a strong adaptation of one of the most acclaimed comic works of all time.  DC Universe Animated Movies followed Batman:  The Dark Knight with Superman:  Unbound which was also released in 2013.

Related Links:

Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns

Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns—Part 1 (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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