Batman Beyond Return of the Joker (2000)

Batman Beyond Return JokerFour & A Half Stars

What a great movie this is. I think that if you have any interest in the Batman mythos, this is a such a great story, dark, pathological and possible inside of a world ruled by a man dressed like a bat with a rogues cast of villains twice as psychotic.

Batman Beyond is set in the future, Bruce Wayne is very old, and has not been Batman for a number of years. Along comes Terry McGinnis, his father is murdered, he is smart, stumbles on Wayne’s secret, and wala, you have the typical story for any new Batman supporting cast member.

But this particular story isn’t reliant on you accepting this new kid as Batman, and this new futuristic cast of villains. Instead, this mixes history with the future, and brings back the Joker in a style only he could pull off.

The story goes, that one day, while on patrol, Tim Drake (Robin) turns up missing. After a number of agonizing days turn into weeks, an invitation is sent to Batman, to return to old Arkham. There in the ruins, Joker and Harley Quinn have tortured robin for all of this time, turning him basically into a little Joker with the creepy smile and laugh. In the end Batman rescues Tim, Harley Quinn falls off a cliff, and Tim shoots Joker.

After a year of therapy, Tim is back to some semblance of normal. Now in the future, the Joker seems to have reappeared and all ties point back to Tim Drake. Soon enough it is revealed (that although hard to believe, suspend it for a bit) Joker has implanted Tim with a chip that basically has slowly let him return in Tim’s body, taking it over.

The best part is, Tim Drake is a communications expert. So no laughing gas or Joker fish. This time it is a piece of machinery for defense satellite jamming that allows him to blast Gotham city with a 400 foot wide beam.

In the end, Batman wins, beats the Joker at his own game, frys the chip in Tim Drake, and things return back to normal. But what a cool and original idea.

If you like Batman, and the cartoons, this is for you. That is probably a narrow audience, but anyone who appreciated the darker cartoons from the early to mid 90’s, would love this one.

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