Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

138 600

[SOM #70]

Returning to the seemingly never ending stream of Batman movies ripe for Gonzo review, we’re back to cover the two-part animated adaptation of one of the most celebrated and important graphic novels of all time. The movies are way better than the book and we’ll tell you why throughout this podcast. These are available on DVD and Blu Ray and the second part is better than the first. Don’t wait for the box set. These are worth seeing right now.

Joining me are Matt Ramsey of the Do Try This at Home podcast and Batman expert David Hartrick. David writes for major Football websites In Bed with Maradona and 500 Reasons to Love Football. His book on the world’s favourite sport; 50 Teams that Mattered is available from Ockley Books. Spoilers and foul language run throughout. We’ll be back in a few days time with another podcast covering the second half of this conversation; a comprehensive guide to the very best Batman graphic novels, framed as a history of the Dark Knight’s career.

After that will be the long awaited follow up to last year’s Batman: Breakdown audio drama, a full-cast adaptation of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Listen out for an Easter Egg in this very show.

This is our twelfth Batman review show for Gonzo. The others include…

1. Batman: The Movie (1966)
2. Batman (1989)
3. Batman Returns
4. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm / The Animated Series
5. Batman Forever / Batman & Robin
6. Batman: Hush
7. Batman: Year One / Under the Red Hood / Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
8. Batman: Arkham Asylum / Arkham City
9. Batman Begins
10. The Dark Knight
11. The Dark Knight Rises
12. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

And of course if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of listening to Breakdown, it’s probably the best work I’ve ever done, so make sure all your friends know and check out the two-part making of show, to discover the depth of secrets and detail found within.

Author: Alex Shaw

Share This Post On
  • Google


  1. I felt that excluding the narration actually hurt the movie, because so much of the story happens within the narration.

    Beyond just the practical issue of the narration giving context to an otherwise vaguely connected series of events, the internal monologues lend significance and heft to what we see, because they are what carry the emotional arcs for the characters. And, to me, TDKR isn’t about the events of Batman’s return–it’s about people reacting to a world where Batman returns: Bruce’s willfulness versus his physical limitations; Jim Gordon’s conflicting weariness and hope; Clark’s desperate desire to save humanity. And the action alone doesn’t convey any of that.

    Without the narration, the TDKR becomes a litany of events which feel (to me) far less interesting or compelling than the emotional contexts the internal monologues lend to those actions: seeing a resurgent Batman defeat the Mutant leaders is great, but it feels so much more fulfilling to be privy to his mind as he does so, to see how important the action is to him, to see just how much strength of will has to go into being Batman; seeing Jim Gordon organize the citizenry to put out the fire doesn’t pack quite the same punch if you don’t know how he has to put aside his desire to go save his wife to do so; and seeing Clark recover from the nuclear blast is almost meaningless without that gorgeous little internal speech he gives, showing us the reverential love he has for his adopted homeworld–and the guilt he feels at having to hurt it to save himself.

    I’m not saying it would have been easy to keep the narration. And I’m not saying the same effect couldn’t have been achieved through dialogue additions or tweaks to the directly-lifted actions. But I think the content of the narrations needed to be included somewhere…and I’m just really surprised that it wasn’t.

  2. See, with you having said that I now want the super-duper narration edition even more. It’s been years since I read it and the characterization you’re talking about does seem like it could have improved, certainly the first film. I guess I could do it myself with an editing deck and a decent Peter Weller voice.

  3. David hartrick “i’d rather shave my arse with a butter knife” trays of pastries burnt and extra hrs worked because of non stop laughing . Damn you digiall gonzo .I didnt get finished til 7am today ( but it was worth it) “anyone for some oven roasted crossiants:)
    Thanks again for another QUAILTY show
    Conor( tired in belfast)

Submit a Comment