The movie opens up with Bruce Wayne in a race. When he eventually pushes his car to the extent of malfunctions - it then explodes, however Bruce remains okay. Back in Gotham, news reporters are talking about the random chaos that is transpiring in the streets of Gotham and also announcing James Gordon's last month as police commissioner of the city. Celebrating a better tomorrow, Gordon and Bruce discuss about the way people, and the government, have changed since Bruce retired as Batman and also about old mistakes that Bruce has never forgotten. At the end of the conversation Bruce leaves and travels on foot back home, but is plagued with memories of his past. When he goes to sleep he is haunted by the time he first saw a bat which made him travel back to the batcave and remember a promise he once made himself to "never again" use the Batman mantle.
The next day, Harvey Dent is released from Arkham Asylum after he is declared mentally sane by Dr. Bartholomew. In other news reports after the release of Harvey Dent, it shows that he has escaped his Arkham Care center that he was originally living in and is keeping a low profiel. Bruce, while watching the news, is remembered of his past again when The Mark of Zorro appears on television. Eventually Bruce's will is broken by his true identity -- Batman!
Later on, Batman meets up with Gordon and talks about his next move with capturing Two-face whom is threatening to blow up the Gotham life building if he does not receive 22 million dollars. When Batman arrives on scene to neutralize the first amount of henchmen guarding one of the bombs, one of the henchmen mentioned to Batman that the bombs are only for show and not to kill anyone. As Batman removes the cover he sees that it is set for 2 minutes, he quickly defuses the bomb and he is led to the conclusion that Two-face is trying to end his life. Batman works towards Two-face's helicopter, he saves him as the helicopter explodes with the second bomb inside of it. Through a conversation between one another Batman finds out that Two-face always sees himself with both sides matching and that nothing can change who he was, Batman agreed with this statement in terms with himself.
Thinking that he was ready for the fight of his life, Batman proceeded to the Mutants base of operations. As Batman made his way to the Mutant leader -- to clarify in his mind that he was really ready, Batman combated the mutant leader in hand-to-hand. Batman was eventually beaten and almost killed by the Mutant Leader, however, Carrie Kelly came to Batman's rescue and the two heroes retreated to the batcave. Once at the cave, Bruce left to find his inner strength -- A strength that had drove him long ago and when he found that strength, he had a sense in his mind that he had really returned! Thanks to Batman's efforts, the GCPD had no trouble with capturing half of the Mutant gang. The mayor wanted to solve for peace, but the Mutant Leader instead killed him. Batman, in turn, had a different plan for the Mutants. His plan was to humiliate the Mutant Leader in front of all his loyal followers, thus making the members of the Mutants to lose trust in their gang and surrender.
As Gordon released the Mutant Leader on the orders of Batman, the Mutant Leader saw that all of his followers were in one location. Batman and the mutant leader battled each other one more time and at the end of the fight Batman beat his advisory and dislocated the Mutant Leaders' right leg and arm and because of their leader's defeat, all the Mutants surrendered to Batman and the GCPD. With a great portion of the Mutants in prison, Gordon retired as he originally planed and told Bruce that he would have to cleanup Gotham without him. In the end, Joker is seen in Arkham asylum watching the different references to Batman in Gotham City, he replied "darling", signifying that he has officially returned.
Part 2 of the movie was released in 2013.
Trailers & Clips
This sneak peek trailer discussing the process of creating this film was released as a special feature in the Superman Vs. The Elite DVD/Blu-Ray.
All of the following features are featured in the Blu-Ray Combo Pack of the film. Some of these features are also available in the standard version of both the Blu-Ray and DVD films.
The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, 2 Hours of Special Features
- Including both the High and Standard versions of the film with a UltraViolet digital copy.
- Preview to The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, the next DC Animated film to be released in 2013.
- Featurette – “Her Name is Carrie … Her Role is Robin” - Featurette.
- Featurette – “Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story” – A documentary about the life of Bob Kane, the creator of Batman.
- Two classic Batman: The Animated Series episodes chosen by Producer Alan Burnett: Two-Face, Part 1-2.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns digital comic with cover art and three full comics.