Saturday, April 9, 2016

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2

Year 8, Day 100 - 4/9/16 - Movie #2,300

BEFORE: Nearly the whole cast of Part 1 carries over into Part 2, as one would expect.  I'm now 1/3 through the year, with 200 slots left, but with 140 movies still on the list to fill them.  At this point, I'm not sure if I can finish the project this year, considering how slowly my list is decreasing, which at this point is not at all.  

THE PLOT:  The Batman has returned after a 10-year absence. The Gotham authorities want to arrest him. An old foe wants a reunion. The Feds want the Man of Tomorrow to put a stop to him.

AFTER: They really upped the stakes in the 2nd part of this story - I guess that would be issues 3 + 4 of the original comic.  Once the book stopped showcasing those weird mutant gang-bangers and their "future-speak" (sample: "Slice and dice" and "chick-chick-chicken legs...") there was room for a lot more, like an older Catwoman who seems to be back in the prostitution business, the doctors who reformed "Two-Face" setting their sights on the Joker, a one-armed Green Arrow, and the new police commissioner finally realizing why Gordon never took down the Batman.  Oh, and I nearly forgot about the giant topless Nazi woman, apparently Joker's girlfriend, who wears red swastikas over her nipples.  Classy.  

And there's also plenty of evidence to support that this takes place in an alternate-reality 1980's - the president looks a lot like Ronald Reagan, who's sending troops to an El Salvador-like island called Corto Maltese, and the Joker gets booked for an appearance on the "David Endocrine" show, which is a thinly-veiled Letterman show, complete with a Paul Shaffer look-alike.  I bet Joker kills on that show, really just slays 'em.  That audience will be dying - with laughter!  

A lot of the original comic, and a lot of this film, is told via various news anchors and talk-show hosts weighing in on the issues of the day.  Lois Lane is not among them, but an older Lana Lang is apparently now managing editor of the Daily Planet (probably there's some backstory there) and she's one of those anti-Batman people - naturally, she's more of a Superman fan.  There's much debate over whether Batman is ultimately responsible for villains like the Joker, some say Batman's mere presence led to the viciousness of Gotham's villains, but also, since he won't kill them, doesn't he become responsible for the people they go on to kill later?  I never quite understand this point of view - so you're saying you want a man dressed as a giant bat, who patrols the streets of your city, to also be a killer?  You think that somehow Batman is soft on crime?  Being anti-crime is all that he's about?

You'd probably think that billionaire Bruce Wayne would vote Republican, and that middle-class Clark Kent would be a Democrat, but something tells me the reverse is true.  Kent grew up in Kansas, which is red-state territory, and he seems to champion the little guy, but from someone that powerful, it seems a bit like lip service.  Plus his attitudes seem more conservative, almost puritan - I'm thinking Superman is secretly a Republican.  Bruce Wayne?  Total liberal, don't let the fat wallet fool you, it's just for show.  Remember, he's anti-gun and makes massive donations to charity.  (And Wonder Woman supports the Feminist agenda, and Oliver Queen?  Green party, of course.)  

Speaking of Superman, or as Green Arrow calls him, the "boy scout", here he seems to be the President's go-to man for solving problems, like nuclear missiles, or a vigilante Batman.  Which seems a little weird, because the Senate and the press in "Batman v Superman" took Superman to task for interfering with foreign policy.  Guess that little issue of authority got worked out by the government hiring Superman - well, he does stand for "truth, justice, and the American Way" after all.  And even though Batman and his Sons of Batman gang (formerly the Mutant gang) are all that keeps Gotham from descending into chaos, the President still needs Batman taken down.  

Yep, it's Batman vs. Superman again, maybe for the last time.  Batman uses all of his technology, and some Kryptonite, in the big clunky bat-suit, to take down an already-weakened Superman.  This battle was a huge inspiration for the confrontation in the recent Zack Snyder film.  Turns out you can defeat Superman with tech and smarts, that guy's relied on his superpowers for far too long.  

Starring Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Paget Brewster, Grey Griffin, Townsend Coleman, Dee Bradley Baker, Michael Jackson, Maria Canals-Barrera, Maurice LaMarche, Yuri Lowenthal, Michael McKean, Tara Strong, Frank Welker, Gary Anthony Williams, Carlos Alazraqui, Dee Bradley Baker,  (all carrying over from "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1"), Mark Valley, Robin Atkin Downes (last heard in "Batman: Year One"), Jim Meskimen, Tress MacNeille, Conan O'Brien (last seen in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty").

RATING: 6 out of 10 funhouse mirrors

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