Batman: Year One (2011, animated)
Plot: Young billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) returns to Gotham City after several years abroad. Also arriving in Gotham City is Jim Gordon (Bryan Cranston), one of the last ethical cops in Gotham. Both men fight corruption within the police force, Gordon as a cop, and Bruce as a fugitive in his first year as the legendary Batman.
It’s definitely got a style of it’s own unlike any previous animated Batman movie. The very first shot of Gotham City is pretty amazing. The animation all around is incredible. While the film is entrancing at times with its short scenes and character voice-overs, the plot suffers, coming off as clunky and hard to follow. So when Bruce Wayne dons the mantel of the Bat, he kind of goes after the mob, and then kind of goes after police corruption, and he kind of meets with idealistic District Attorney Harvey Dent. It just tosses you in different directions, not really having a cohesive narrative. I like this movie a lot for its great individual moments, but as a whole, it’s not strong. The voice acting is pretty damn good though. Ben McKenzie is perfect. He sounds like a young Kevin Conroy. I know this is Batman’s early days, but it was weird to see him struggle against random thugs and punks. And as I mentioned before, I like the voice narrations, but it sounded like everyone was doing monologues in a play and not a movie. Also, Selina Kyle/Catwoman was completely unnecessary. She serves no purpose. I do love the clear influence from Batman Begins, especially when Batman escapes from the Cops and the bats show up. Even the music in both films is similar. Although I completely understand that the actual comic book this movie is based on had an influence on Batman Begins, so there you go. At the end of the day though, this is Jim Gordon’s movie. He’s the main character. He’s the type of protagonist you root extra hard for. Although I’m not really a fan of the Sarah Essen relationship as I don’t think it fits Gordon’s character, but I don’t want to give too much away. I like a lot of this movie. There are plenty of bad ass and powerful moments, but at times it just doesn’t feel like a movie. There’s no glue holding a plot together, which hinders it from being great.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon
-Like I said, this is Gordon’s show. He brings the perfect demeanor to this character: a man who’s fighting a war of corruption all by himself…until Batman shows up.
Worst Performance: Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
-It’s more so that the character just shouldn’t have been there, but she is annoying and mostly played for laughs, which isn’t really how I picture Catwoman.
Best Line: “Ladies…Gentlemen. You’ve eaten well. You’ve eaten Gotham’s wealth. It’s sprit. But your feast is nearly over. From this moment on…None of you are safe.” -Batman to Falcone’s family and friends
-Batman doesn’t really talk much, let alone give monologues, but this was AWESOME.
Worst Line: “Amateur…fucking amateur.” –Batman
-First of all, Batman saying ‘fuck’ just doesn’t work. But it’s weird because I don’t even know if this actually happens. He kind of mumbles it, but I’m pretty sure he says ‘fuck.’
-There wasn’t much, and even know it wasn’t really a fight, Gordon taking Flass out to the woods proves Gordon is a huge bad ass. Gordon even offers him a bat, yet he still kicks his ass!
-Batman nearly kills himself saving a cat? I’m not going to say any more, because I don’t want to upset cat lovers.
-Batman storming Falcone’s mansion and then scaring the shit out of everyone was epic.
-When Gordon and his wife interview Wayne as a possible Batman suspect, I get Wayne has to play up the idiot playboy thing, but did we really need the Basic Instinct bathrobe moment?
-This movie wasn’t very funny, although a corrupt Police Commissioner having a toy collection in his office is kind of funny.
Bad Ass Moment:
-I love Batman’s escape from the cops. It’s just one long endurance test. And even though he’s Batman, the movie does a good job of making you think, ‘How is he going to get out of this one?’ He also hid under the stairs where you could only see his white eyes…that was cool.