In Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, the Man in Black whispers a number to a barkeep. This is shortly after bringing one of her regular customers back to life. The Man in Black tells the barkeep that if she ever repeats this number to her recently deceased customer now back from the dead, the revived man will tell her what lies on the other side of death. The bar keep knows—with certain, fatiguing horror—that one day she will say that number to the dead man and find out what lies in wait for us after death and the answer will drive her mad.
I’m feeling that way about the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns that released today. The Dark Knight Returns might be my all-time favorite super hero graphic novel of all time. Everything about it is flawless from the art to the script to the colors—just dead on perfect.
But the animated film won’t be that. There’s almost no way it can be. And what’s far worse than not being able to be that is that—by all accounts—this version doesn’t even try. The current animated film jettisons Miller’s awe inspiringly good monologue—the place where everything good about the script lies. That alone is a travesty. Worse yet, the animated film alters the art, adds scenes, and completely miscasts Gordon and Kelly.
It’s The Dark Knight Returns, though. I’ve been waiting for a real Dark Knight Returns movie (animated or not) for more than 20 years. I feel compelled to watch it. And when I do, my childhood dreams will die and I’ll go completely mad…OK, it might not be that bad—but it can’t be much better by the sound of it.