The Movie Buffer

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DVD reveiw: Batman Gotham Knight


What harm are spoilers if you have no mouth to speak them?


Batman Begins is probably the best “reboot” film ever and The Dark Knight is the best sequel of all time.  So, spin off material was bound to show up sooner or later and in this case. it is the animated feature, Batman Gotham Knight.

Taking place in a timeline outside the continuity of the film frees Gotham Knight to explore other aspects of Bruce Wayne and Batman. We see two sides of Batman: the idealized version as seen by a bunch of kids and maligned version of him as portrayed by two detectives. There are also several stories that bulk up the Batman origin story and mythos.

Gotham Knight follows the same formula that The Animatrix set out: Six vignettes created by different animation studios that tackle different aspects of the character. It’s kind of gimmicky way of tacking on some exposition that was too lengthy to add to the films. 

The first and second segments make up what I think is the best part of the movie. The first segment is about how kids see Batman, as an awesome superhero. The four friends regale each other with stories of close encounters and how great he his. Eventually, they end up meeting him in person and though it’s apparent he is really just a man in a suit and cape, they can't help but project their fantastic ideas onto him. The second segment is about how the cops react to Batman joining the fight against crime. The detectives in the story talk at length about how he may be helping people but is hurting the reputation of the police force. 

The other four segments play up the action parts of Batman’s life. The first of these action stories shows us the how Batman will not risk innocent lives during his missions. The second is about Killer Croc and the Scarecrow involved in a kidnapping, which Batman resolves by kicking ass. The third segment is about how Bruce developed his skills of pain management during a trip to India. The fourth segment is a very rushed story of an assassination attempt on Lt. Gordon’s life. Batman shows his fierce loyalty to Gordon, not only averting the assassination but by taking a few bullets himself. 

These actions stories were pretty standard fare and failed to excite because there was so little time to get into them. Moreover, the fight scenes were pretty lame compared to what we got in the live action films. I liked the two other parts because they spent their precious time explaining something outside the two films, creating something new.

The animations styles vary wildly from one part to the next, so it was hard to get bored with the visuals of any of the sections. I preferred the animation style of the first segment which was a very simple and streamlined approach, where as the rest are overwhelmingly detailed and stylized. 

Though this film will probably get over looked because of it’s proximity to the release of The Dark Knight, it’s worth a look for fans of the two newer Batman movies as well as animation fans. Despite it’s flaws, Batman Gotham Knight is an okay footnote to the two great Batman films. 


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