Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (2000) Review

This. Is. Awesome.

Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker is something I took a look at out of pure curiosity, not as part of the marathon. I saw clips of it on YouTube so I checked it out and... well, those clips were pretty much all that I remembered.

The film has a horrible, rushed pacing and feels like it should be a season finale or better yet, much longer.
Now, seeing as I'm completely unfamiliar with the Batman mythos outside of what I've seen in the films so far and picked up on the Internet, I'm not the best man to review it, but I thin, the one good thing the film did was adequately explain its setting.

The story follows Batman's successor in Gotham city, some 50 years after the events of the animated series. This guy is Terry McGinnis, who works as Bruce "Ebenezer Scrooge" Wayne's assistant in both real and superhero life.
Things go well until the presumed-dead Joker turns up with a new hairstyle and black unitard to wreak havoc on Gotham again, leading to Terry investigating just what did happen to him in the first place...

As I stated above, it feels way too short, like a big movie crammed into 25-minute episode. We quickly see all the main players, we see Bruce being old 'n' all, Joker's new gang and plan, then it's off to flashback land to see how the Joker turned Tim Drake insane and then we come back for the conclusion.

This isn't a "no filler" story, it's a skeleton story that doesn't allow the characters, even the Joker a chance to breathe and have fun. They all feel like they're doing what they're supposed to with zero believability.

Tim just disappears and then Batman has found him and he's insane and he shoots Joker and that's it. No build-up, no witty stand-off(minus that one epic scene in the "cinema" that belongs in a live-action adaptation).

As such, all the characters lack depth. The good stuff is there, but it's like tuning in at the conclusion, you don't feel like you've followed the characters through a story.
And that's really frustrating since the J.J. scenes are all brilliant stuff that deserve much better than the ridiculous microchip story set in present day.

Oh yeah, and somehow, the Drake/Joker isn't funny, despite being played by Mark Hamill. Why? No chance to even try to make a joke, that's why. And it's not like "it's dark and stuff", no, he's all right during the flashback. It's just that when he's playing the present Joker, all the humour seems to drain out. On the other side, he does appear older and more bitter than the original Joker so kudos partially.

Overall, good movie, but shabbily edited and deserved a way longer runtime. Can you squeeze Citizen Kane to 25 minutes?

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