DC's newest animated movie is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, the first of a duo of direct-to-DVD releases based on Frank Miller's 1986 DC Comics miniseries, and later best-selling graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.
The original miniseries predates by far Christopher Nolan's recent Dark Knight live-action movie trilogy. The similarity of Nolan's titles to Miller's is not coincidental, however, and Dark Knight Returns can't help but have been an influence on aspects of Nolan's Dark Knight Rises.
But the similarity of the titles may result in some confusion, for better or worse.
Here's one review of the new animated movie (whether the review is meant seriously is debatable):
I have not seen this movie, nor will I. Consumers should be aware. This is NOT "DARK KNIGHT RISES" with Christian Bale. It is a play on titles.This is reminiscent of the controversy over the Green Lantern movie featuring Hal Jordan and not John Stewart -- the expectations of the comics-buying public are one thing and the expectations of the non-comics-buying public are another, and these can sometimes clash unexpectedly.
Among other "reviews" for Dark Knight Returns are a couple clearly reviewing Rises instead. And then, of course, there's the just plain bizarre:
After my scrapbooking workshop at the community center, there is a local flea market at an abandoned grocery store that I like to visit on Tuesdays. It's about a two and half hour ride on the bus so it breaks it up a bit for me. Inside the flea market there is a dealer who sells Hot Wheels, car stereos and new movies. Many of which have not come out on video or the theaters yet. Being a Batman fan, I was looking forward to the animated version of the classic story by Frank Miller. As my luck would have it, the dealer had the movie on DVD for sale at his table. Suffice it to say, I was all too excited. ...Obviously there's just no pleasing some people.
To be honest, I wanted to like this movie, heck, I wanted to love it. ... Most of the time, I could not hear what was being said, and the rest of the time the video quality was about as good as when I would try to watch scrambled Cinemax late at night on my grandma's tv. They must of realized this and gave up because the movie just ends. A lot of people say this, but I remember the book being longer in content and substance that what this offered.
Some of this confusion may of course be intended by DC for purposes of selling Returns to Rises fans. The initial box art for Dark Knight Returns, at least, does not emphasize Bruce Wayne's age nor the story's future setting, as if to make it seem more, not less, similar to Dark Knight Rises.