The Batman franchise has gone through many ups and downs over its long and storied history. However, most people agree that Batman’s 1990s animated offerings were some of the best superhero media ever created. And right now, one of the best animated Batman movies is dominating streaming services.
According to Flixpatrol, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is currently the 7th most popular movie on HBO Max, showing that many people are checking out this fantastic animated Batman classic.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was released in 2000, and it is a movie spin-off of the Batman Beyond series. Batman Beyond was the spiritual sequel to both Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. The series is set in the far future of 2039, and it sees an older Bruce Wayne finally give up the Batman mantle, deciding that he can no longer fight crime due to both trauma and his age. This causes Bruce to become a bitter recluse, living alone in the now-empty Wayne manor. However, when teenager Terry McGinnis gets into a high-speed bike chase with a gang called the Jokerz, he ends up crashing into the grounds of Wayne Manor.
This causes Terry and Bruce to meet for the first time, and the pair quickly form an uneasy alliance. When Terry’s father is murdered, he takes up the mantle of Batman. Terry then battles the new criminals that inhabit the futuristic cyberpunk Gotham’s underworld. All while dealing with teenage issues.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker sees Terry and Bruce encounter legendary villain the Joker. Who is now in charge of a new faction of the Jokerz gang. While Bruce is shocked that his old foe is still alive, they quickly find that everything is not as it seems. And, to defeat the Joker, Bruce must confront an event from his past that left him traumatized and estranged from Tim Drake, the former Robin.
The film features all of the show’s voice cast returning to their roles with Will Friedle playing Terry and Kevin Conroy voicing Bruce Wayne. Legendary voice actor Mark Hamill plays the Joker, a part he’s become synonymous with. Fittingly Arleen Sorkin also returns to voice Harley Quinn, a character that was inspired by her.
A much darker story than previous Batman outings, the film was controversial when released, being the first animated Batman film to receive a PG-13 rating. However, fans and critics adored the movie, praising its deep plot, beautiful animation, and top-quality performances. The film currently has a 91% critic score and a 86% audience score on Rotton Tomatoes, showing how universally popular the film is.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a fantastic film that looks at Batman and his mythos in a whole new light. It takes everything that made Batman Beyond amazing and improves upon it, making it a must-watch film for both Batman fans and those who love superhero movies in general.