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The Joker Has Resurrected 40 years in the future to give Terry McGiness a taste of Bruce Wayne's Arch-Nemesis.
The "Our Family Memories" scene with the surgical table was also suppose to have a lot of sharp surgical tools but was considered to dark for the film by producers. The table instead has things like plungers, bagels, and cream cheese.
40 years into the future The Joker returns to Gotham City in control of a faction of the Jokerz gang. He is commanding them to run a series of heists to steal high tech communications equipment. One of the jobs takes place around the same time as Bruce Wayne is throwing a party announcing he is coming out of retirement to return to Wayne Enterprises to run the company. Joker reveals his existence to the world and to Bruce who is convinced this is an imposter. Terry McGinnis (Batman) gives chase to Joker but he manages to get away. Bruce investigates this new Joker to confirm whether or not he is the real thing. Not willing to allow Terry to fight someone as dangerous as Joker he asks him to give up being Batman. He tells him that he has served the city well and has honored the Mantel of Batman. Terry reluctantly agrees, throws the batsuit on the ground, and storms out of the batcave.
Later that night Terry is at a night club with his girlfriend, Dana, when he is attacked by the Jokerz gang. While that is happening Joker breaks into the batcave and attacks Bruce with Joker Toxin then leaves him for dead. Terry fends off the Jokerz and rushes to Wayne Manor to find a motionless Bruce. Bruce points to the direction of some anti toxin he was making moments before the Joker arrived. Terry administers the anti toxin and takes Bruce to the hospital. Terry meets Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) at the hospital and demands to be let in on the history between Bruce and Joker. Barbara reluctantly agrees to tell him.
While out on patrol Tim Drake (Robin) is capture by Harley Quinn and Joker. He goes missing for several weeks until Joker personally sends Batman and Batgirl a clue as to where they are. Joker has been hiding out in old Arkham with Harley and Tim. Joker reveals that he has brain washed Tim to try and turn him into a Joker Jr. Enraged by what Joker has done Batman charges Joker while Batgirl battles Harley. Harley and Batgirl fight outside of the abandoned asylum resulting in Harley falling to what appears to be her death. Batman chases Joker into a theater room where Joker plays some “home movies” of him brain washing Tim. This is when Joker reveals that he knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Batman breaks through to the projection room and beats Joker down and throws him through a window. Joker stabs him in the leg and calls Tim over to deliver the punch line. (A Bang Flag gun that hides a spear.) Tim rejects Jokers brainwashing briefly to shoot Joker in the chest and kill him. Barbara tells Terry that the only people who knew of what happened last night was Her, Bruce, Tim, and the original Commissioner Gordon who helped burry the Joker under Arkham and hide the entire event.
Terry decides to go and question Tim Drake finding out that he is a telecommunications expert and wants to see if there is any connection between him and the new Joker. Terry also suspects that Jordan Pryce could possibly be Joker since he is in competition with Bruce for control of Wayne Enterprises and would have a reason for Bruce to die. Terry arrives to find the Jokerz getting ready to kill Pryce but Terry intervenes. Joker then uses a large satellite to fire a power laser at them but Terry is able to get them out before impact. He drops him off at the docks and leaves him with the cops along with evidence proving he had something to do with Bruce being attacked at his party. Terry figures out that Tim is working with Joker by assembling all the parts that Joker has been stealing to find out it is a communications device to control satellites. Terry heads to the abandoned candy factory that Joker is hiding in and confronts Tim. Tim transforms into Joker and the two fight destroying the control console for the laser while fighting. The laser starts heading towards their location and Terry decides to try and stop Joker by playing his game. He starts taunting him and eventually manages to defeat him reverting back to Tim Drake permanently. Terry gets Tim out of the factory just before the laser hits and destroys the facility.
this is how i did it
Tim is shown in the hospital recovering from the ordeal. Barbara is there with Terry as Bruce walks in the room to try and repair the friendship that the two once had. Terry leaves to go on patrol. At the city jail we see an old woman bailing out Dee and Dee, two Jokerz gang members, and she is yelling at them for misbehaving. They tell her to “Shut up Nana Harley” revealing that Harley Quinn did in fact survive her fight with Batgirl. The final shot of the movie is of Batman putting on the Batman mask once more and diving off of a building to go on patrol.
Various DCAU TV connections
This movie takes place after the third season when Paxton Powers is removed as the chairman of Wayne Enterprises thus allowing Bruce to attempt to regain control of his company.
In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" it is revealed that Joker stole the technology needed to implant his personality and genetics into Tim Drake from CADMUS.
Jokers remains can be seen in Batman Beyond in the episode "Joyride". Part of a deleted scene involved Bruce making sure that his remains are still under Arkham
Enhanced Jokerz gang members from this movie appear in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing: Part 2".
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was heavily re-edited and censored as a result of WB not wanting to look like they were influencing kids to be violent. The cause being due to the fact that the movie came out shortly after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. As a result many of the scenes in the film and even in the comic book adaptions had to be changed. The film has been re-released as an Unrated film but it has been classified as PG13 thus making it the first PG13 DCAU movie ever released.
Below are some scenes changed in the film and comics to make things more PG:
All general references to death and killing are removed.
Jokers original death.
White flashes, a common editing technique used to great effect in the various DCAU TV series to mask violence and to make hits seem stronger, were added to almost every fight scene in the movie.
And his censored version.
Bonk was originally shot in the chest using the Punch Line spear gun. In the PG re-edit he is simply gassed by Joker making it look like he is still alive. Due to the fact that the scene imediately after that deals with Joker threatening to kill them like he did Bonk unless they do their job the sce ne had to be cut.
The opening fight sequence is cut down drastically, uses white flashes on every hit, and has a 360 degree shot of Batman completely cut out.
The biggest edit is the death of Joker in which instead of being shot in the chest by Tim he is instead pushed onto an electrified puddle of water and killed off screen.
Return of the Joker has been met with mostly positive reviews from fans and critics alike. The film is currently rated 86% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the few critisisms raised against the film is that Terry, as a character, isn't as well developed as Bruce and Joker.
On October 17th, 2000, the official score was released and contained all the music composed by Kristopher Carter as well as two tracks featured in the film.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Main Title)
Meet the Joker
Joker Crashes Bruce's Party
Terry Relieved of Duty
Nightclub Fight / Terry Rescues Bruce
A Trap for Tim
Joker Family Portrait
Batman Defeats the Jokerz
Joker Meets His End (Again)
Healing Old Wounds
Crash (The Humble Brothers Remix) By Mephisto Odyssey Featuring Static-X
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (End Title) performed by Kenny Wayne Shepard.