Review: Batman: Year One (2011) My Reviews 05 JAN 2012

“When Gotham City is in desperate need of heroes, two men take a stand for justice… but on opposite sides. Bruce Wayne returns home after years abroad to become a crime fighter, just as honest cop Lt. James Gordon moves to Gotham and finds corruption at every level. When Bruce becomes the masked vigilante Batman, the city explodes as the mob, his new nemesis Catwoman, and Gordon all close in!”

So another Batman movies enters the fantastic DC Universe Animated Original Movies stable, this time in the form of Batman: Year One, based on the classic Frank Miller’ and David Mazzucchelli’s ’87 story arc. Essentially a tale based in the start of Batman’s career and an exploration of how his relationship with Jim cemented itself, Batman: Year One is gritty, focused, and very much not an overblown, save the world super hero type of story – instead the spotlight hangs for the most part over James Gordon and his early tribulations as he tries to clean up in a very corrupt city, with of course the rather unwanted assistance of Gotham’s first masked vigilante!

Matching the subdued, dark tone of the story, the animation style employed resembles very closely the emotive art of Mazzucchelli, giving the film a very distinct, adult look, resulting in a truly good looking piece of work. Similarly, fantastic voice artist work from the likes of Benjamin McKenzie as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Bryan Cranston as Lt. James Gordon adds to the class already delivered by the stunning visuals, never mind the suitably moody and well arranged musical score that acts as the backdrop for this very serious tale that is being told.

In summary, Batman: Year One is a very, very good movie. Because the source material was already so cinematic in nature, directors Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery didn’t have to fiddle very much in bringing it to the silver screen, and so fans of the original comic arc will definitely be blown away by this fantastic adaptation, as will any other fans of the Dark Knight.

However, that said, I didn’t necessarily enjoy Batman: Year One. I appreciated it, yes, but perhaps it was a little too grounded and dark in tone for me to say that I loved it. However, despite my personal taste, there is no taking away from the fact that this is a VERY well made animated movie, a fantastic new entry into the DC animated movies stable, and most important of all, an excellent example of animation aimed for a mature audience done right.

Well worth picking up then.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.