While accessible on its own terms, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is most likely to be enjoyed by superfans of the DC Universe. There are interesting backstories of the Batmen and Batgirls of the past and present, as well as a story of a Robin who never was. We see past and present incarnations of the different characters, and in some respects, this explores the theme of growing up and growing old in ways the many other Batman movies never have.
Often these nods to characters' pasts, presents, and futures come across as winks to the fans at the expense of a straight-ahead story for everybody else. While those who aren't overly familiar with the Batman line of succession will still latch on to the action, it's not going to win any converts. Also, the style of the turn-of-the-century animation hasn't aged well, and often seems as dated as the dancing in the nightclub where Terry McGinnis hangs out when not saving Gotham as an upstart Caped Crusader. It's an interesting movie for what it is, but doesn't really rise above or stand out from the numerous DC Comics movies that have been released since this one.
Families can talk about the backstories of these characters. What does this movie show about the histories of Batman, Robin, Joker, and Harley Quinn? How do backstories add more depth and detail to stories as well as characters? 2b1af7f3a8