Movie Plot – Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: The Joker is back with a vengeance, and Gotham’s newest Dark Knight needs answers as he faces Gotham’s most notorious Clown Prince of Crime alone.

Director: Curt Geda
Writers: Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm
Cast: Will Friedle, Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy

Batman Beyond

‘Batman Beyond’ is basically the sequel to the popular ‘Batman: Animated’ cartoon series. The approach of the series is slightly inspired by Frank Miller’s Batman comic book ‘The Dark Knight Returns’. The original Batman, Bruce Wayne, no longer plays too big a role in the series. Instead of being the main character, Wayne is now more of a supporting player. The bat suit is now filled by an entirely new character, Terry McGinnis. The setting of the stories has also changed. The title gives it away: it’s about the future. Forty years after the disappearance of the original Batman, much has changed in the city. Gotham City has turned into a modern, futuristic city. Cars have given way to flying machines.

Terry McGinnis, the new Batman, comes face to face with The Joker, the enemy of the old Batman. The problem is that the Joker is actually already dead, so who is this Joker really? Terry must take on one of the old Batman’s most dangerous enemies and discovers some secrets of the old Batman’s backstory.

When Bruce Wayne discovers that the Joker is alive again, he decides that Terry should quit as Batman. The two clashing egos of different generations create friction. Slowly, McGinnis begins to discover why Wayne would rather not see him perform in the new Batman costume. A shocking past presents itself.

The voice actors are as good as ever. Mark Hamill once again voices the Joker, doing so very understatedly this time. Kevin Conroy provides the voice of the old Bruce Wayne. Conroy also did the voice of Wayne in the ‘Animated series’. The new character, Terry McGinnis, is voiced by Will Friedle. Friedle does that very competently. In a short time, he quickly manages to give this character his own character and identity, as if you have been familiar with this character for years.

Tim Drake

The backstory around Tim Drake is significant in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The first time I had seen this, I didn’t know what to think because of what they had done with Tim Drake. Even to this day, I think DC treats “Tim Drake” poorly in their comics.

On the other hand, his story is very important in this movie. Because if it wasn’t for this, it would never be such an animated masterpiece. Otherwise, this would just feel like an extra-long Batman Beyond episode without anything extra. This is actually not a bad thing since the series is excellent.

I do hope that, for once, they give Tim Drake a worthy story! DC, please do it for us.

The Clown Prince of Crime

From the very first images, the grim, somber atmosphere of the film is tangible. The design and animations are very tightly stylized, even tighter than the old cartoons. ‘Batman Beyond’ is therefore aimed at an older audience. Despite the cheerful colors, the atmosphere is very dark and sometimes even morbid. Inspiration source Frank Miller is also known for his mature and dark tone. For fans of the Dark Knight, therefore, this animated film is highly enjoyable. Especially the return of the Joker is brilliantly done. In this film this character approaches the character from the original comics the best.

The jolly Clown from the old cartoon series is gone. In this film, you see the true nature of this psychopath. Mark Hamill somehow makes him feel older, too as I can hear a slight change in his voice. And you know that when the Joker is involved, some bad stuff is going to happen.

The story behind this film is therefore excellently crafted. What starts as a kind of “whodunit” behind the Joker’s resurrection turns into a harsh struggle for survival. To give away more about the story would be a shame.

Conclusion

Batman Beyond: the return of the Joker is excellent and one of Batman’s best-animated films. The characters are well written, and the story is exciting and unpredictable when you first see it. On top of that, you get to hear the legendary voice cast of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.