Without a doubt, #TheDarkKnightReturns is one of the greatest graphic novels ever made. Published in 1986, Frank Miller's classic has gone on to become one of the most revered Batman stories of all-time, transcending its genre and inspiring an acclaimed animated film. And while it's never had a complete live-action adaptation, it did heavily inspire the #DCEU 2016 blockbuster #BatmanVSuperman: Dawn Of Justice. But that didn't stop filmmaker Wyatt Weed from making an epic fan film. And what an amazing film it is!
Feast your eyes on the fan-made film below:
Of course, while it is a complete story, this is only the first part and there will hopefully be more to come. But this fan film has single-handedly accomplished something we have all wanted to see, and that's why Hollywood should be taking note from this incredible achievement.
The Adaptation We Have Been Waiting For
Since the publication of Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, there has been hope that one day we would see it come to life on the big screen. However, since films that feature #superheroes tend to tell their own stories — taking inspiration from the comics rather than directly adapting them — we have yet to see it happen. While the amazing battle between Batman and #Superman was adapted into Batman V Superman, the incredible story has not been brought to the big screen.
However, Wyatt Weed's film adaptation delivers in all the ways we hoped it would. Bringing a seriously dark tone to the almost post-apocalyptic Gotham City that is run by the Mutants, it brings the strong storyline to life. While we might not get to see as many shots of the city as we do in almost every other Batman film, the more focused area shots allow us to get a good look at the gritty streets of Gotham City, and how they're in desperate need of the Batman.
Moreover, the almost comedic news reports do a fantastic job of relaying the state of Gotham City. Both Miller's novel and the animated adaptation relied heavily on similar back and forth news conversations as the sightings of the Batman were relayed to the public, so the fact that Weed's film has managed to successfully incorporate these, yet make them feel so fresh is a major accomplishment. And those news reports are responsible for the film's timely, well-crafted ending.
Nothing is missing from this awesome film, and I can only hope that this epic acts as the first part of an incredible adaptation of the phenomenal story.
If you're a fan of Batman, check these out:
- Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed In Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusader
- Why Tim Burton's Batman Should Get An Animated Followup
- Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed In Batman: The Killing Joke
A Dark Tale Without Being Too Grim
There are two types of superhero films in today's world. First off, you have the enjoyable action-packed but light hearted adventure — something that Marvel is renowned for — and then you have the brooding, grim world of serious storylines and dramatically dark worlds — something DC is well-known for. And both of these can be equally great. Over the years, DC have experimented with both types for their Batman films.
While we had legendary dark Batman films in Batman and Batman Returns, we also had notoriously campy outings like Batman & Robin. So it's safe to say that DC put all their effort into focusing on their strengths and thus ensured that the DCEU was much darker. However, this kind of backfired because even though Batman v Superman took a great deal of inspiration from Frank Miller — as did Ben Affleck's Batman who was praised — the film itself was criticized for it's convoluted and overpoweringly grim story.
This is not the case for Wyatt Weed's The Dark Knight Returns. As it loyally adapts Miller's classic tale, it obviously isn't afraid to venture into dark territory. But never once do we feel like we are being overwhelmed by what we are watching. It pays homage to the source material by adopting a tone similar to it. And while things do indeed get pretty dark, it's leveled out by the bright colors, strong storyline, and colorful characters. Literally getting the tone of the film perfect, this fan film is definitely worth watching, and the powers behind DCEU could definitely learn a thing or two from this one.
A Batman Worthy Of The Big Screen
Not only did Wyatt Weed write, direct and produce this masterpiece, he also starred in the titular role as the Dark Knight himself. And having read the graphic novel and watched the animated film at least once annually, I can easily say that Weed delivers in every aspect of the role.
He excels as the older Bruce Wayne, angry at Gotham for what it has become in his absence, particularly relayed to us during the scene in which he has a drink with Commissioner Gordon. And as Batman, he is gritty, powerful and downright scary. The intimidation tactics are deployed to perfection as the eerie Bat silhouette descends upon unsuspecting Mutants and Weed carries the fight scenes brilliantly.
Moreover, Weed intensifies this by using a husky voice when he portrays the Caped Crusader — not quite as heavy as Bale's growl got, but much more natural than the voice modulator seen in every superhero TV show or movie these days. Wyatt Weed's portrayal of Batman is a dark, fresh take on the Dark Knight, and the character comes across as though he has been plucked from the pages of Miller's comic.
On that note, despite its success in the comics, I never thought I'd see an intimidating live-action blue Batman. After all, last time we saw a blue Batman on screen, it was the legendary Adam West's portrayal for the 1966 Batman #TV series — a series renowned for its kid-friendly approach. However, Weed has done the impossible and managed to make the bright colors dark, as his Batman is anything but kid-friendly. This is a Batman worthy of the modern day big screen — Frank Miller would be proud.
Wyatt Weed's epic fan film The Dark Knight Returns is a loyal adaptation of Frank Miller's classic novel. While there are many incredible fan films out there, I'm not sure I have ever come across a more convincing one than this. Considering it had 45 minutes to adapt the first half of Miller's iconic story, this fan film managed to give us a worthy tribute to the comic. But more than that, it gave us a compelling performance from Weed himself that gripped me from the beginning. Moreover, it proved that stories we have already read can still make one hell of a film, and that is why this one deserves to be on the big screen.
Visit Wyatt Weed's website here.
Were you a fan of Wyatt Weed's The Dark Knight Returns? Let us know in the comments!