So, I did go and see this again as I'd said I would. I enjoyed it about as much the second time around as I did the first. That's pretty good going really. I mean seriously: 1983's The Return of the Jedi is the last time I can remember enjoying a movie more than once on its original release. My tone therefore, however restrained, just really cannot be a matter of damning by faint praise.
I agree with Andy about the "non-comic-bookiness of it." It'd been precisely the focus on street-level crimefighting that I'd thought had made Batman Begins the successful film that it was. I can hardly complain about the same aspect of Pt. 2 of the revival of the franchise. And of course The Dark Knight is not as such a movie adaption of The Dark Knight Returns, although I'd argue there's more of the comic in the movie than Andy asserts.
Again, that's the point for me really.
The comic is a masterpiece transcending the limitations of its genre (the presence of Superman is essential to that by the way), casting its shadow to this very day over a truly iconic postmodern character. The movie is just a superior Hollywood blockbuster. Of course, the movie's huge audience suggests that many might disagree with me.
My general antipathy towards Hollywood blockbusters aside, I have to remind readers that reading the original The Dark Knight Returns on its first release stands out as one of my peak comic-reading experiences. Y'know, one of those personal landmarks the memory of which is cherished and brought out for a polish every now and again. What chance did the movie have against that? Let's be honest: none at all really.
It's like the Lord of the Rings movies which, by adding to an already rich trove of delights, delivered the best they could've done for me. I mean to say: by the time I watched Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring, I'd had the bedtime stories and the calendar; read the books, the geek encyclopedias and the atlas; listened to the Radio 4 adaption; and played with the miniatures, the boardgame and the rpg. Oh, and I'd seen Bakshi's film, naturally enough, which I left out of the preceding list because it broke my heart, being the only bit of my sub-Tolkien Middle Earth experience that was actually shite.
So...? Well, ICv2 reported ticket sales of the order of $B1, or 100 million tickets at a mean $10/ticket. (I'm assuming that the price and multiple-purchase variations mutually cancel.) 100 million?! Holy moley Batman!
I'm going to have to come back to this. ;)