Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (2000) – Movie Review

Batma is an icon of American pop culture!

The Dark Knight… Batman… What can I say, in whatever version you are watching him in, he is just awesome! I mean even though I am not a huge fan of the Batman suite from the 1960s (I know it is supposed to be a version of the suite from the original Detective Comics Batman… Bu still!)

With that said though, the dark knight has literally been entertaining audiences for longer then even Captain America (the first issue of Captain America having been released in 1941 and Detective Comics having released the first Batman comic back in 1937…) As a matter of fact, I would say that Batman maybe one of the longest running continuously used superheroes ever! (With Robin being one of the oldest continuously used side kicks of all time!)

Of course over the years we have seen Batman going through many iterations, both in live action form as well as in animated and comic book form… But there is one area that hasn’t been (until recently) very heavily investigated… And that is, ‘what if Bruce Wayne had to retire from playing the role of Batman? Who would take it over if anyone?’

Well one way that has been answered is a handful of years ago a cartoon based in the DC universe but about 50 years in to the future, in a Gotham City that has been without a Batman for a long time, with Bruce Wayne having become to ill and incapable of being the Batman… And the teen who takes over the mantle of, ‘Batman’ in a futuristic Gotham City that needs the Batman desperately! This cartoon being, ‘Batman: Beyond’!

Well when I dived in to it… The only thing that I have to admit is that no matter how good the new big bad guys became in this new series… It was never the same without a Batman who was fighting, ‘The Penguin’ or, ‘Catwoman’ or even, ‘The Joker’… And that is where Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (2000) comes in!

A fun film!

Written by: Paul Dini (Superman) & Directed by: Curt Geda (Ultimate Spider-Man). Starring: Will Friedle (Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy), Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke), Mark Hamill (Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope), Arleen Sorkin (Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm), Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles), Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap), Tara Strong (Justice League Action) & Matthew Valencia (The New Batman Adventures).

“You know, kids, a lot has changed since your old Uncle Joker’s been away. New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman. But now I’m tanned, I’m rested and I’m ready to give this old town a wedgie again!” – The Joker (A quote from ‘Batman Beyond: The Return Of The Joker’)

Ok, so like I said, in this new world, it seems as though all of the old goons are either retired captured or dead… But that doesn’t stop old Gotham, you see Gotham is still a city where anything can happen, where there are still more then plenty of villains for any Batman from any generation to fight!

There is one villain though that seems to have gotten himself a bit of a following, that being, ‘The Joker’, this new gang will never meet the same level as the clown prince of crime, but hey, what can you do when you have to have more then one Joker to play with? And when the Jokers start going after merchandise that they wouldn’t normally go for the new Batman, and his mentor the old Batman start to investigate and what they turn up… Well it just can’t be!

You see, it seems like the impossible has happened but it appears that an old friend, (and greatest enemy) has come back to have some new fun in a world that is a lot different then the world that he left… And well being the Joker, wants to give the city of Gotham at least one more good laugh and so much more as he plans to play the ultimate joke on the city of Gotham!

Now that the Joker is back in town, he has a new, ‘Bat’ to play with!

And it will be up to both new and old Batman to stop the Clown Prince Of Crime from doing his final, most deadly joke of all!

Now as for what I like about this movie… Well there is just to much to name! I mean if you are as big of a Batman fan as I am, you will understand! Here is what I mean.

1.  Besides the fact that it brought maybe the best Joker of them all, ‘Mark Hamill’ back to voice the Joker for one last time… I mean how cool is that!

2. The other thing that I really liked about all of this, honestly is just how this movie served to connect the Batman series from the late 1990s with Batgirl, Tim Drake as, ‘Robin’ and Bruce Wayne as, ‘Batman’ with the updated future time line of about 50 years in the future, with where most of the characters end up.

3. Now this one is going to be a little more basic, but the truth is, is Batman: Beyond was a great show… I would say that it really did end to soon, but this movie brought back what in my opinion were a lot of the best elements of all of that… Including excellent animation some awesome music, and a fantastic story line!

The only thing I am going to say about this series that I really don’t like. and don’t understand why they never added it to this movie or the TV show is, ‘Dick Grayson’… I mean as far as a character goes, rather or not Dick Grayson is, ‘Robin’ or, ‘Nightwing’ he is almost as important of a character as, ‘Bruce Wayne’ is, and should get more then just a passing mention!

Anyway, this movie is pretty awesome and is well worth your time if you get a chance!