Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Go To

  • The glass case containing the empty Robin suit.
    Bruce: I will never forget Jason. He was a good soldier. He honored me. But the war goes on.

  • Bruce's state in the beginning on its own. An aging man, well past his prime with a few mementos of his time as Batman and even fewer friends to keep him company.
  • The night Bruce decides to take up the cowl once more: News keep pouring about the increasingly heinous crimes that are happening in Gotham which begin to erode Bruce decision to stay in retirement as they keep reminding him of what happened to him, and then the Mark of Zorro appears on one channel and Bruce has a silent breakdown as that night plays in his mind once again.
    • The narration of the Batman in Bruce's mind is somber as it's a reminder of how deep the wound that the death of his parents left on his psyche is.
      Batman: You try to hold me back, but you are know it in your soul: you are nothing but a hollow shell...a rusty trap. The time has come.
  • Advertisement:
  • While watching Wayne Manor explode and burn, Alfred has a fatal stroke.
    A jolt travels the length of Alfred's spine. "Of course", he thinks as his head goes light. "How utterly proper."
  • And let's not forget the Cub Scouts at the county fair. God...
    • One of the few times Bruce doesn't respond with anger or stoicism but looks genuinely sad.
  • Superman begging the Earth for his life after being nuked and blocked from the sun.
  • Poor Gordon sees a woman fall from his burning apartment building, and for a fleeting moment he thinks it's his wife Sarah. It's not. Jim barely gets his Heroic Resolve after seeing this, firmly denying it's her, but doesn't reunite with Sarah for a couple of pages.
  • The fact that Batman and Superman are to fight each other. Despite the epicness it is to see them fight, it's just as much of a Tear Jerker when its clear that neither of them wanted this to happen. When this first came out this was a very emotional scene to the readers as well.
  • Advertisement:
  • Superman holding Batman's body in his arms.
    Superman: Don't touch him.
  • Bruce's funeral. To those who did not realize he was faking it.
  • For the past ten years, Harvey Dent's been undergoing psychiatric and cosmetic reconstruction into his old self... And the day he's released, it all begins to fall apart. It turns out his obsession with duality has begun to subside not as a result of restored mental health, but because Two-Face is subsuming the original Harvey Dent. Harvey then tries to hold Gotham Towers for five million dollars' ransom, implied to be an effort of repayment towards Bruce out of a twisted sense of gratitude. During a fight with Batman, he's saved from a possible suicide attempt and, rendered helpless, suffers a complete breakdown in Batman's arms.
    • "At least both sides match now, right? Look at me! And have your laugh..."
    • The worst part of it all may well be seeing the affair through Batman's eyes. Keep in mind that like Harvey, Bruce has spent most of the issue being subsumed by his darker side, with part of his determination in finding Harvey doubtless stemming from his own desperate hope that both of their psychological tears can be remedied after all. Not only is what he finds a brutal refutation to hope that Harvey will ever heal, but also the suggestion that neither will he. It's telling that this is the only time in the comic where Batman treats an enemy not with contempt or rage, but genuine sadness. However, there is a Heartwarming Moment when he gives Harvey a Cooldown Hug.
    • Advertisement:
    • Another thing to keep in mind is what Harvey says next "Who are we kidding? They couldn't fix me! Nothing can change what I am.", the tired and despondent tone in which he says it can imply that the real Harvey was Two-Face all along and without his duality motif, he has realized it and has resigned himself to his villainous nature.
  • From the film, Joker's death, in a very twisted manner. Batman paralyzes Joker, who ends up breaking his neck entirely to kill himself. What's tragic, however, is that at the end, Joker won. He, after all these years, managed to make Batman effectively kill him. Not only is their seemingly endless game of cat and mouse over, but it ends in the villain's favor.
    Joker: You're in trouble now... Go ahead... Say this has never happened to you before.
    Batman: Shut up.
    Joker: Make me. Come on, finish me. (sighs) It doesn't matter... I win. I made you lose control... and they'll kill you for it. See Hell. (cackles as he fully breaks his neck, before stopping with a snap, dying instantly)
    • The moments leading up to it also count. Batman briefly stares at the trail of death the Joker has left before he attacks and yells at him that he blames himself, for every single innocent Joker killed, all because he always lets him live. And now, he shows no hesitation to just end it.
    Batman: No more!...All the people I've letting you live.
    Joker: I never kept count.
    Batman: I did!

Alternative Title(s): The Dark Knight Returns


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: