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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 1

Cover of Batman The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Cover

'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns' is a two part animated movie centered around the superhero's return to crime fighting. It is an adaptation of a comic book plot arc from 1986, Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns' and is part of the DC Universe's Animated Original Movie series. There are two parts to the film, the first of which was released on September 25th in 2012.

Part 1 of the film concerns Bruce Wayne picking up the Batman mask after a decade-long absence. He had retired ten years previously after the death of Jason Todd, his protégé and on his return he struggles with the limitations imposed by his age as he fights to defeat a new breed of crime in Gotham.

Bruce Wayne is now 55 years old and Gotham is being terrorized by a gang known as the Mutants. The Joker, Batman's long-time nemesis, is locked up in Arkham insane asylum. Harvey Dent has been released from Arkham, but has disappeared. These factors combine to motivate Bruce Wayne to again become the hero that Gotham needs. His return is not met favorably by everyone, though an elderly Commissioner James Gordon is glad to see Batman is back. The Mayor of Gotham is not so pleased as he claims Batman is a fascist. One of Batman's first accomplishments once he returns from retirement is saving a young girl, Carrie Kelley.

Harvey Dent has suffered, as the plastic surgery that has restored his face and allowed him to supposedly regain his sanity has in fact not achieved this. Having been released from Arkham asylum after receiving reconstructive surgery and being declared sane, Dent disappears. He re-emerges a criminal. Dent still thinks of himself as the villain Two-Face and this leads him threaten to bomb a building unless he is paid a ransom. Batman eventually realizes, after defeating Dent's henchmen, that what Harvey actually wants is to commit suicide because he has lost the side of himself that was good. Batman defeats Dent and stops him from doing any harm to the people of Gotham.

Following on from this event, Carrie Kelley, the young girl that Batman rescued, dresses up as Robin and goes looking for Batman because she wants to help him. She finds him in the middle of battling the Mutants at the city dump, where he defeats most of them with the assistance of the Batmobile. Batman then faces the gang leader, who goads him into a one-on-one fight. Batman, no longer the young man he once was, is almost killed in the fight but Carrie manages to distract the Mutant Leader so that Batman has the chance to overpower him and the gang leader is sent to jail. The middle-aged Bruce Wayne is horribly injured, and they return to the Batcave where Kelley tends to his injuries. She then becomes the new Robin, allowing Batman to once again have a protégé.

Bruce and Carrie hatch a plan to defeat the Mutants. Carrie dresses up as a member of the gang and lures the others out to a sewer outlet. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Gotham tries to negotiate with the Mutant Leader in his jail cell but is brutally murdered. At this point Commissioner James Gordon releases the Leader, making it look like he escaped through the sewer outlet. The Leader emerges in a mud pit, which decreases his physical abilities making it possible for Batman to fight and defeat him, in front of his gang. Batman dramatically breaks the Leader's bones, making it obvious who is in charge. Their Leader's defeat causes the Mutants to break up into smaller groups, with one faction in particular becoming a vigilante group with the name 'Sons of Batman'.

The public learns of Batman's victory and is inspired to stand up against crime once again. A new Mayor is sworn in and the Commissioner retires, with his successor Ellen Yindel voicing her concerns about Batman. Finally, in Arkham asylum, where the Joker has been in a catatonic state, a news report on Batman's defeat of the Mutant plays and rouses the villain.

Release Date: 
September 25, 2012

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