Animation Update: The Dark Knight Returns (Part 2) | Justice League: Starcrossed | Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Vol. 4) Animation | My Reviews 04 JUN 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013)

Continuing from where the excellent Part 1 of this two part movie adaptation of the great Frank Miller story line left off, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 is an excellent addition to the DC Universe Animated Original Movies stable.

Batman, now once again active after years of retirement, finds his presence reawakening some very deadly, and deranged foes, and before long his dark and violent retaliation against these crimes results in the United States calling in their favourite Son to try and put a stop to what they see as out of control vigilantism.

But then there is also the problem of a Soviet nuclear strike to deal with, all of which culminates in probably the biggest hero showdown ever imagined!

Keeping close homage to Frank Miller’s unique style, the fluid, bulky animation is fantastic to look at, giving the characters more age, more presence, and almost certainly more impact. The stunning visuals are then mixed with a highly dramatic, edge of your seat story that will have you cringing with the violence and melodrama on display, not to mention the intense action sequences that litter the story.

Voice acting is superb and the musical soundtrack just phenomenal. This is a fantastic story which is expertly adapted and certainly serves as one of the more powerful pieces in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series.

Definitely worth picking up, especially for Frank Miller fanboys!

batman the dark knight returns part 2

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Justice League: Starcrossed (2004)

Starcrossed was the 2004 3-part second season finale of the fantastic Justice League animated series, which later got bundled up and released as a standalone DVD. The story revolves around the appearance of a Thanagarian battle ship that arrives just in time to shoot down another alien vessel that started attacking a gathering of the world’s leaders, bringing with them a message of imminent danger and the promise of immediate assistance against this advancing threat.

At first the world’s leaders and the Justice League accept their new found allies with open arms, but it isn’t too long before the Thanagarian Justice League member Hawkgirl reveals some rather disturbing secrets of her own, with the end result being a potential cataclysmic event that threatens to end the very existence of our world itself!

The original Justice League animated series was one of the best animated super hero shows to hit the airwaves in the early ‘2000s, and Starcrossed goes a long way in showing exactly why. This is a top notch super hero yarn that has all the dramatic elements of love, betrayal and duty, masterfully blended in with loads of action as well as a twinge of humour, the perfect mix through and through. And although the familiar stylized animation of the series isn’t perhaps the best ever seen, its clean lines and fluid animation is more than entertaining enough. Combine all of this with a fantastic voice cast and an even better musical soundtrack, and you have an animated package just begging to be watched.

Very enjoyable for all the comic book fans out there!

justice league starcrossed screenshot

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Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Volume 4) (2009)

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Volume 4 packages four episodes from the first season into a DVD, featuring the tales “Mystery in Space!”, “Trials of the Demon!”, “Night of the Huntress!”, and “Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!”.

The first tells the tale of a depressed Aquaman that eventually joins Batman in battle on the planet Rann as they attempt to assist the space hero Adam Strange is his battle against the invading Gordanians. The second story sees Batman transported back in time where he assists Jason Blood (the Demon Etrigan) and Sherlock Holmes in solving a particularly gruesome murder mystery. The third tale has Blue Beetle and the Huntress joining Batman in a fight against the heavily armed Babyface and his recently escaped gang, whilst the fourth and final part sees the always amusing Booster Gold team up with an unwilling Batman to take on the immortal tyrant Kru’ll the Eternal (who happens to be a hyper intelligent caveman).

Batman: The Brave and the Bold has from the start divided the fans, being a very campy outing that serves up huge dollops of nostalgia and nods to the longtime comic book fan, but which is ultimately best suited for younger viewers given the colourful format and often simpler stories. That said, it does have its fair share of supporters as well, and in the end is probably not a completely unwatchable show for the older fanboy I suppose.

I can’t say that I love it, but it does feature an interesting, simple, fluid animation style that suits the campy nature of the show perfectly and the voice casting as per usual is top notch – made even better when you realize that Diedrich Bader of the Drew Carey Show fame is the voice behind the Bat for this particular outing. A fun soundtrack completes the package and this is certainly a show you could pull out and sit down to watch with your kids, much like say Teen Titans.

Worth pulling out if you have some kids to watch it with, though that said, I do own the first four volumes so it can’t be all that bad! ;)

batman brave and the bold volume 4 booster gold

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.