Reviewed by Movie Moxie’s Alicia Glass
Studio: Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Review Rating: 7
Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham after years abroad, along with Chicago cop James Gordon, and their lives intersect in unexpected ways over the course of a year.
It is exactly as one might expect, at least from the Batman story point of view. Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) comes home all tormented, still, by his parents death, and is ready to kick the butts of the bad guys in his beloved city, yet he’s still lacking a few things. Real life practice, and a symbol to strike the fear into the villains, mostly. After a run-in with the corrupt cops, and hey a newly appointed Lieutenant Gordon, Wayne is bloodily lamenting his weakness to his fathers bust, when a bat crashes through the window and screams at him awhile: eureka! Yawn.
On the opposite end of the scale, James Gordon (Bryan Cranston) and his pregnant wife Barbara just moved to Gotham. Jimmy, as he’s now known to his new corrupt partner Detective Flass, just wants to do his job and clean up Gotham from all its’ dirt, both illegal and legal. The cops, the ones in crime boss Carmine Falcones pocket especially, don’t see it that way and conspire to beat the snot out of Gordon, threaten to expose his affair with another lady cop, and even menace Gordon’s wife and her newborn. We know Jim ain’t havin none of this, and he just ends up going to town on all the bad guys, aided whether he likes it or not by Batman in the end.
Selina Kyle is tossed in there, first as observer of the newly returned Wayne making his practice runs in the East End, and then taking her cue from Batman, Kyle dons a mask of her own and turns to burglary that just happens to end up aiding her future nemesis. The pace of the movie flows without interruption, giving us proper glimpses of only the things we need to see that tell the story, and leaving out extraneous bits of fluff that just get in the way. The style of animation is gritty and wonderful, reminiscent of the 90’s Batman cartoons, as it should be. Month by month, Gordon and Batmans’ paths cross and recross, the light and the dark and how necessary they both are for each other is brought forth in glorious storytelling.
Each icon gets his own monologue, sadly their voices are a bit similar so sometimes it’s hard to determine who’s thinking out loud. Unfortunately, in this take on the early Batman years, Gordon’s story is the more entertaining of the two. Frankly, everyone knows Batman’s original story at this point, the slaughter of his parents by a villain and how he vowed to strike fear into the hearts of the wicked and clean up his city of crime from behind a mask. What we didn’t know, and what we learn in Batman: Year One, is how much his legal counterpart James Gordon is a badass!
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