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Return of the Joker

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Release Date: Edited edition - December 12th, 2000
Release Date: Uncut edition - April 5th, 2011

Batman (Terry McGinnis) must deal with the threat of The Joker, who has mysteriously appeared in the future, and with the revelations of Bruce Wayne's past. This new Joker knows all about Bruce! But what does this have to do with Tim Drake?

Written by Mephisto Odyssey, Wayne Static and Julien Morris
Performed by Mephisto Odyssey Featuring Static-X
Produced by Mephisto Odyssey
Courtesty of Warner Bros. Records

"Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker End Title"
Written and Produced by Kristopher Carter
Featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Kenny Wayne Shepherd appears courtesy of Giant Records

Music by
Kristopher Carter

Media by Bird Boy, Borg4of3 and Chris M.
Review by The Mad Hatter

For the complete list of edits for the film, click here.

Click above to view the movie poster, Bruce Timm's early poster design, and a painting for the movie by Alex Ross commissioned by WB!

Story by
Paul Dini
Glen Murakami
Bruce Timm

Screenplay by
Paul Dini

Produced by
Alan Burnett
Paul Dini
Bruce Timm
Glen Murakami

Executive Producer
Jean MacCurdy
Benjamin Melniker
Michael Uslan

Associate Producer
Shuan McLaughlin

Animation Services by
TMS Entertainment, Ltd.

Directed by
Curt Geda

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

Screen Grabs

Check out over 400 HD images on the Media Page


When people think of Batman, thoughts of the Joker are close behind. This evil clown has been tormenting the Dark Knight since the beginning, and remains the most fascinating member of Batman's rogues gallery. However, his presence has been completely absent from the tales of the future Batman. News of the Joker's animated return has intrigued and concerned fans of the mythos for months. Would the confrontation between the Future Knight and the Harlequin of Hate live up to the past struggles with Batman's greatest nemesis? The answer is a resounding yes.

Return of the Joker begins when one of the many street gangs who pattern themselves after the legendary madman switch from petty theft to grand larceny of scientific equipment. Terry McGinnis, the Batman of future Gotham City, is able to fight them off, which does not please the new boss of these Jokerz. After all, his minions are using his name! The Joker, apparently as spry as ever, decides to make his grand comeback during the ceremonies that hand control of Wayne Enterprises back to its founder, former Batman Bruce Wayne.

Though the Joker disappears without harming his old enemy, Bruce is so shaken by the Joker's re-emergence that he forbids Terry to take on the madman. But the Joker is far from finished. Terry's girlfriend Dana becomes injured when the Jokerz attack Terry in his civilian identity, while Joker himself gives Bruce a near-lethal dose of his trademark laughing gas.

Terry must now learn the secret behind the Joker's return before the clown can leave his deadly mark upon Gotham with his purloined technology. Along the way, he'll learn what happened during the final battle between the Joker and the original Batman, Robin and Batgirl--a dark confrontation that forever tainted its participants.

Return of the Joker never fails to please, partially because the Joker truly shines. Mark Hamill turns in _the_ performance of his animated career. The Joker shows his wacky side a time or two, but for the most part, the character has never been as disturbing on film. He's a sick, demented monster, and it shows in spades. The question behind the Joker's return drives most of the movie, and the revelation is disturbing, logical and satisfying.

Despite Joker's larger-than-life presence, the rest of the cast shines as well. Kevin Conroy's Bruce Wayne is bitter but not broken, and he puts forth just the right amount of dark emotion to convey exactly how dark his encounters with the Joker were. Will Friedle makes a fine future Batman, especially with his voice work during the final battle. His character also gets a chance to really prove himself, both in battle and in spirit. Make no mistake, in ROTJ he shows that he's not just some punk in a costume--he's Batman.

It should also be noted that ROTJ contains a ten-minute flashback sequence detailing the original Batman's final encounter with the laughing one. While it's great to see Bruce, Robin and Batgirl in action again one last time, this sequence contains some of the film's most disturbing elements. Writer and Batman Beyond co-creator Paul Dini mentioned in an interview one time that what happens to Robin "wasn't good." Certainly, that's an understatement.

The animation looks good, not Disney quality by any means but much better than the TV series, especially during Batman's aerial battle with the Jokerz (and on the Joker's facial expressions, as well). The music is a mix of orchestration and the techno-metal that's become the signature of the Batman Beyond series, and it works amazingly well.

Return of the Joker is the best depiction of the future Batman, equals the shamelessly underrated animated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and even trumps all the live-action Batman movies. Anyone with even an iota of interest in the Dark Knight will not be disappointed.

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