Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Extremely violent, ambiguous end to animated Batman saga.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 76 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

By the end of the story Bruce Wayne has organized opposing forces to work together for the greater good, although it somewhat resembles a vigilante group. It's suggested that this outlaw group is far more effective than the already-established U.S. government. In other scenes, Jim Gordon coaxes rioters and looters to work together to save their neighborhood.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sometimes Batman is a more clear-cut role model, but in this complex, violent story, he's more unhinged, more focused on violence as a solution and vigilante justice as an alternative. Even so, he still has his good points, still fighting against injustice and unfairness.


Intense and hard-hitting animated fantasy violence. There's almost constant fighting, with guns and shooting, punching, stabbing, and lots of dripping blood, and some dead bodies. There's also a nuclear explosion that doesn't kill anyone, but knocks out the power and sends a city into chaos. Rioting, looting, and mob violence follows.


One sequence involves an escort service run by Selina Kyle. In one scene, an escort kisses a customer, with sexual suggestion. A villainess called Bruno wears Nazi crosses over what appears to be otherwise naked breasts. (No nipples are shown.)


Some swear words come up from time to time, including "ass," "hell," and "son of a bitch."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some secondary characters are shown drinking out of sheer misery and pain. Drinking problems are subtly suggested, but not mentioned or shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 is the conclusion to the animated movie based on the legendary 1986 comic book. Like the previous installment, it's extremely violent, with almost constant fighting, blood, guns, shooting, stabbing, and death. Sex is also an issue, as an escort service becomes a minor part of the plot. Some strong language surfaces, such as "son of a bitch," "ass," and "hell." And some minor characters are shown drinking to drown out their pain and misery. This is a very dark, ambiguous story, steeped in 1980s-era values about vigilantism, but it's also ambitious. Literate, intelligent teens may be interested in this fascinating addendum to the Batman mythology.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGage2020 September 23, 2020

Very violent

This movie is very violent. There is intense blood and gore. Do not let your young children watch this movie.
Parent of a 10, 12, and 16-year-old Written byHendo H. U January 15, 2018
Teen, 16 years old Written byKenobi28 March 11, 2019

An epic movie!

This is a great movie, though I found it quite violent. However, if you are mature, you can watch it when you are younger. It is what Batman vs Superman should... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebo344 July 15, 2015

Way better than the first.

An excellent ending to the story. It's full of great surprises and Peter Weller and Ariel Winter once again excels as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Carrie Kelly/R... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PART 2, Batman (voiced by Peter Weller) and his new, female Robin (voiced by Ariel Winter) continue fighting the new wave of crime in Gotham City, perpetuated by vigilante gangs. To make matters worse, a new police commissioner has replaced James Gordon and has issued an arrest warrant for Batman. Meanwhile, the Joker has escaped from prison by agreeing to appear on a talk show (where he kills everyone in the audience). In addition, the United States has become involved in a nuclear stalemate, threatening everyone in the country, and the president has ordered Superman to stop Batman's antics. How will Batman survive his most complex and deadliest adventure?

Is it any good?

This faithful, satisfying adaptation of Frank Miller's legendary, groundbreaking 1986 comic book is perhaps the most ambitious animated feature yet to come from Warner Bros. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 has done remarkable justice to what some consider to be the ultimate Batman story: the conclusion of the entire mythology. Steeped in 1980's values, including the threat of nuclear war, the rise of gang violence, and a sinister Reagan-like president, it comes across as perhaps even more frightening and alien than it might have in its own time.

Actor Peter Weller, also known as Robocop, adds just the right combo of chilliness and humanity to Batman, as he makes choices no longer governed by regular laws or ideas of justice. He's now looking to settle a score, destroying an infrastructure so that he can rebuild from its ashes. Director Jay Oliva sticks close to Miller's dark, brutal style and makes the classic comic come to life. Serious comic book fans will be pleased.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this version of Batman? Does it enhance or detract from the central story in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2?

  • How has the Batman character evolved over the years? What has remained unchanged about his basic story? Out of all the different Batmans played or voiced by different actors, which one is your favorite?

  • Is Batman a good role model here? Is he supporting the idea of vigilante justice? What are the differences between Batman's justice and that of the police and the U.S. government?

  • How does ex-Commissioner James Gordon help his community in this story? How does his vision of good differ from that of Batman?

Movie details

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