Batman: Year One

⭐⭐⭐⭐ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: Beautifully animated, scripted and developed synopsis of who Batman, Gordon and, indeed, Gotham actually are. A fantastic retread of the character, with Bryan Cranston to boot!


DC Heroes


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

The Good

  • Holy Cranston, Batman! I now fully understand the requests to get Bryan Cranston cast as Commissioner Gordon in the DC:EU. His voice acting was one of the finest portrayals I've seen in a while, though equal mention needs to be made for the fantastic animation behind this pivotal character as well. #YesMyGordon!
  • Indeed, the animation in general was sublime. Stylised and modernised enough to feel fresh and vibrant, whilst somehow managing to tread a visual line that made the film feel slightly dated and of the era it was attempting to portray. In particular, though the ever-present 'flashback' to the murder of the Waynes was full of the standard tropes, the artistic black and white styling made it somewhat unique and almost enthralling. Ditto the scene in the burning building, another common them with Batman origin stories, once again done perfectly. The eyes in the shadows, the use of light throughout: simple, yet effective and occasionally chilling.
  • The plot, in general, was nothing new to long time fans of the Bat, but it was woven together so neatly I didn't care. I never felt like cameos were needless or forced into the plot (*cough* Gotham *cough*) and yet the film was stuffed with them. Instead, they served to further key plot points or explain potential plot holes neatly, presenting a Gotham that was beginning to centre around our favourite vigilante, yet doing so organically.
  • Pacing, music and scripting were all equally on point, keeping a nice flow to the entire affair.
  • Finally a modern Batman that isn't full of depression, melancholy or self-angst, yet is clearly still human and capable of making errors!

The Bad

  • Though I generally enjoyed the scenes with Selena before she became Cat Woman, her decision to don the iconic outfit and continued relevance to the plot were never particularly clear. I didn't overly mind the intrusion, but in a film clearly tight for time, they were entirely superfluous.
  • Which is a shame because, though ultimately in keeping with this rendition of Bruce Wayne and sticking to the stylistic overview of Year One, the 'revelation' of Batman felt a little, well, dumb. Why was a bat, clearly weak and panicked, out flying in the middle of the day? How did it have the power to smash through a perfectly sound window? Why is Mr Wayne even communicating via flying mammal? That scene made no sense.

The Ugly

  • I'm not entirely convinced the clearly set up sequel has ever been made. This makes me sad. It was obviously going to rely heavily on the fantastic The Man Who Laughs story and I would love to see this team of animators/voice talent/scriptwriters give that a shot.

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