BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER (2000) Reviews and overview

 

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a 2000 American animated feature film about the reappearance of the Dark Knight’s strongest nemesis.

Directed by Curt Geda from a screenplay by Paul Dini based on a story co-written with Glen Murakami and Bruce Timm, and characters created by Bob Kane.

Plot:

After a forty-year absence, The Joker (Mark Hamill) invades Bruce Wayne’s (Kevin Conroy) estate, revealing his knowledge of Wayne’s past secret identity. The Joker nearly kills his nemesis, but Batman, alias Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle), saves Wayne’s life–for now.

Pressured by Terry to divulge the truth, Commissioner Gordon (Angie Harmon) retells the events of the night she witnessed the total annihilation of the psychopathic Joker. So how can the Clown Prince of Crime be alive? Will this inexperienced Batman meet The Joker’s challenge?

Reviews:

Batman Beyond:  Return of the Joker is a worthwhile venture for those who enjoyed Batman Beyond but also good for those who just like comic book movies.  You don’t particularly need to know about Batman Beyond to watch and enjoy this film and probably will like it better than the series since it isn’t entirely set in the future. Give this movie a chance and enjoy a fun comic adventure!” Basement Rejects

“Animation is a genre that has been criminally underrated and overlooked for such a long time. A lot of people think animated movies can only be enjoyed by children, but every once in a while, movies such as Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker come along to challenge that belief. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a stunningly crafted animated film brimming with personality, a deeply interesting story, and amazing vocal performances.” Caillou Pettis Movie Reviews

“Brimming with suspense, action and surprising nods to Batman’s past, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker may be the best story ever told about the superhero outside of comic books. The Bruce Timm-produced movie is a vital classic of the genre that requires only a whiff of familiarity with the Batman Beyond series itself. Made by true fans of the Dark Knight that respect the character for Batman fans everywhere.” DoBlu

“Joker presented a nicely engaging and exciting tale. I wouldn’t place it in a league with the better Batman stories of the past, but the plot moves along at a good pace and most of the story twists aren’t telegraphed too badly. Yeah, it’s fairly easy to figure out where things are going after a while – even with my lack of familiarity with the Beyond universe – but the tale is executed well and it kept me engaged.” DVD Movie Guide

“To say that Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is one of the DCAU’s more bold entries, is a bit of an understatement. Produced during the proverbial Golden Age of DC animation the film continues to stand the test of time 20 years later, as one of the studio’s fiercely original efforts that took beloved comic book characters in strange and exciting new directions whilst offering great entertainment value.” Flickering Myth

“Get ready for heart-stomping action, awesome adventure and amazing revelations in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.” High-Def Digest

“The flashback Joker is a bit of a revamp from the original Batman animated series design, and it comes out fairly well. But the revived Joker just doesn’t look as good […] The film has a plot hole here and there, but nothing that would seriously disrupt the enjoyment of the film. On the whole, while it may not be essential viewing for every Bat-fan, I think most would enjoy it.” Morgan on Media

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker stands as perhaps the most sinister portrayal of the character in the animated canon. In his introductory scene, he kills a teenager with a gun. And that’s not even touching on how he finally manages to get through to Batman. There’s a genuine threat to the Joker here, and it has nothing to do with the fact he hijacks an Akira-inspired satellite that can destroy an entire city.” The Movie Blog

” …if you’re a fan of the Caped Crusader, it’s a better investment than a large percentage of the live-action Batman fare. If you’ve liked some of the other feature-length Batman productions by this animation team, then this should be no exception. Those completely unfamiliar with the world of Batman Beyond might be a bit confused at first, but the film stands remarkably well on its own, relying very little on knowledge of the characters drawn from the TV series.” Need Coffee

Return of the Joker is not only the best that the Batman Beyond universe has to offer, but it is also well-regarded by fans of the original Batman animated series, as it features the same characters of that show, as well as all of the voice actors […] For fans, it is a stunning series of revelations and done with intelligence and even some emotion, making this must-see for all that love the animated DC Universe.” Qwipster’s Movie Reviews

Censorship:

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for violence, the first animated Batman film to receive such. The movie was further re-edited shortly before its release on December 12th, 2000 to reduce its violence, due to the backlash against violence in films and video games following the Columbine High School massacre. However, the original uncut version was subsequently released on April 23rd, 2002 following an online petition signed by fans.

Cast and characters:

Will Friedle … Terry McGinnis / Batman (voice)
Kevin Conroy … Bruce Wayne (voice)
Mark Hamill … The Joker (voice)
Angie Harmon … Barbara Gordon (voice)
Dean Stockwell … Tim Drake (voice)
Teri Garr … Mary McGinnis (voice)
Arleen Sorkin … Harley Quinn (voice)
Tara Strong … Batgirl (voice)
Mathew Valencia … Robin (voice)
Melissa Joan Hart … Dee Dee (voice)
Don Harvey … Chucko (voice)
Michael Rosenbaum … Ghoul (voice)
Frank Welker … Woof (voice)
Henry Rollins … Bonk (voice)
Rachael Leigh Cook … Chelsea (voice) (as Rachel Leigh Cook)
Ryan O’Donohue … Matt McGinnis (voice)
Lauren Tom … Dana Tan (voice)
Vernee Watson … Ms Carr (voice) (as Vernee Watson-Johnson)
Mark Jonathan Davis … V.R. Newsman (voice)
Mary Scheer … Mrs Tim Drake (voice)
Andrea Romano … Laughing Boy (voice)
Bruce Timm … Guard (voice)

This post is dedicated to the Boy Wonder, Dylan, for sharing many happy hours of Batman onscreen.