This is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, and as you may have just read, this is the follow-up and conclusion to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1. Based on Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" arc from 1986, this movie is the conclusion to what you watched in the first movie. So this review might be a tad shorter than it's predecessor but rest assured, I really liked Part 2 more than the first.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 starts almost immediately after the events of the first movie. We find out that the President (Jim Meskimen) is not happy with Batman's way of keeping Gotham safe at the moment. He tells Superman (Mark Valley) to have a talk with Batman. Superman tells Bruce that if need be, he'll stop him at all costs. The Joker (Michael Emerson) is shown watching Gotham City debate about the return of Batman (Peter Weller) as well as argue if what he's doing is ethical, etc. His therapist, Dr. Bartholomew Wolper (Michael McKean), comes up and commends his progress and offers to take him to David Endochrine's (Conan O'Brien) talk show to tell his story. Also as Jim Gordon has retired, the new commissioner, Ellen Yendell (María Canals Barrera), has a zero tolerance policy for Batman and issues a warrant for his arrest. Batman knowing The Joker is up to something also heads for the TV show. Batman engages Ellen and the police force on the outside, while on the inside Joker kills everyone in the studio to escape. Superman saves the US from a Soviet nuclear bomb and loses all of this powers for awhile after the explosion, while Batman is still keeping Gotham safe in the controversial way. The President asks Superman if he's up to try and stop the Batman. When Superman says he is, an epic battle between two of DC's biggest heroes ensues.
This movie really improved upon my gripes from Part 1. I really disliked the way Batman was shown as "not getting older." Also the fact that the story was a little lacking and I was looking forward to this movie. Batman is played as not being able to do everything on his own. You see his age come into play. When he gets hurt he doesn't just shrug it off and even with rest you can see that even time affects Batman. He was almost invincible in part 1 and I didn't really get that. The story is a lot better too. From a comic fan stand-point they have everything. Surprise characters, great action and an amazing adaptation. They wrap it up nicely as well. I never had that, "I gotta watch a third movie to see the end of this feeling." Length really wasn't a factor with either of these movies, as I watched them back to back. But neither felt long, had any dragging scenes and they both really kept me engaged till the end.
The animation is still top notch. Gotham has that dark tone and feel is still great. The characters all look great and I really loved seeing The Joker do his thing. The action is a step up I must say. Batman's interactions with Gotham Police are great. The Joker chase throughout the theme park is amazing. Also the fight between Superman and Batman is a wonder to behold. Nothing looks bad and there is a plethora of violence in this. There's also a ton of bloodshed as well. Something I was not expecting, but we are dealing with The Joker. The music is still good and sets the tone depending on the scenes. Finally the voice acting is still on par with the first. Mark Valley as Superman is amazing (SHOUT-OUT TO HUMAN TARGET) as well as Michael Emerson as The Joker. Character development was great throughout both. But I felt more emotionally attached to everyone in this movie more than the first part.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 was much better than Part 1. The conclusion to the story was amazing. The action was bigger and the characters were better (in my opinion) and more expansive. The movie, still made by Jay Oliva was more complete and a definite improvement. Adding in Mark Valley, giving Michael Emerson "The Joker" and the cameo by Conan O'Brien were nice little touches. If you're a Batman fan I'm sure you're watching both of these. If you came in and watched Part 2 before (or instead) of Part 1 you wouldn't be too confused as it's still a great stand alone story. This is just a great animated superhero film that improved upon almost everything that was "wrong" with the first part.