HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Batman: Year One Bring on the KnightBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Alex Rocco, Katee Sackhoff, Sara Ballantine, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Roark Critchlow, Grey Griffin, Robin Atkin Downes, Keith Ferguson, Michael Gough, Danny Jacobs
Genre: Action, Thriller, Animated, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: After years abroad a twenty-five year old Bruce Wayne (voiced by Ben McKenzie) returns to crime ridden Gotham City with a secret plan to set things right. At the same time honest cop Jim Gordon (Bryan Cranston) arrives in town with his pregnant wife (Grey Griffin). He soon faces an uphill battle against a police department full of dirty cops, a police commissioner (Jon Polito) under the thumb of all-powerful mob boss Carmine 'The Roman' Falcone (Alex Rocco) and a city overrun with violent criminals. Despite a few missteps on his first outing as a masked crime-fighter, Bruce grows in skill and confidence eventually adopting a new guise as Batman to strike terror into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. Similarly Gordon fights to retain his integrity and reshape the force in pursuit of this strange costumed vigilante.

Frank Miller's 1987 graphic novel remains the definitive retelling of Batman's origin despite DC comics bombarding readers with reboots and alternate takes ever since. This animated version of Batman: Year One was the twelfth film released under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner that gave us Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) and Wonder Woman (2009), the latter also directed by Lauren Montgomery. Kick-starting a wave of classy animated versions of classic Batman stories it was swiftly followed by an adaptation of Miller's seminal Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2013) and more recently Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) with co-director Sam Liu returning.

The filmmakers scored a certified casting coup with Bryan Cranston then well into his run on the acclaimed series Breaking Bad. No stranger to animation, having contributed to English dubbed versions of the superb anime Macross Plus (1995) and the interesting Indian-Japanese co-production Ramayana (1992), Cranston's growling gravitas is a perfect fit for the badass Detective Jim Gordon. However, numerous comic book fans felt co-star Ben McKenzie was 'horribly' miscast. Ironically McKenzie went on to do a fine job portraying a young and earnest Jim Gordon on the television series Gotham. For fans used to Kevin Conroy's authoritative turn on the iconic Batman: The Animated Series back in the Nineties, McKenzie's voice might seem an awkward fit. Yet his performance is pitched to grow in confidence as the film progresses and in that sense mirrors the exact arc of Bruce Wayne, from eager but inexperienced vigilante to dauntless caped crusader.

Faithful to Miller's story the film recreates all the iconic moments. Scripter Tab Murphy retains the original hard-boiled narration and even the infamous scene when Bruce gets stabbed in the leg by an underage hooker. Beat by beat this is an animated version of the comic but struggles to capture its essence. Scenes that made a huge dramatic impact on the page become slightly less evocative as the film speeds through events paying less attention to atmosphere. Opening with an aerial view of Gotham as the plane carrying Bruce Wayne descends to the city Batman: Year One is animated with an impressive sense of scale. However the sparse layouts and overly bright colour palette fall short of capturing the gritty, film noir cinematic qualities of Dave Mazzucchelli's original art. Compared with the dynamism of the source material the action sequences seem muted. Batman's appearance at the dinner party in front of Commissioner Loeb and Boss Falcone carries some of that original awe but is dealt with far too quickly. On the other hand his subsequent escape from the police SWAT team amidst a swarm of bats proves genuinely spectacular, the high-point of the movie.

Miller's hard-boiled crime thriller take on the Batman mythos remains powerful even with the diluted visuals. The genius of relegating the rise of Batman to the shadows while focusing on Jim Gordon's struggles with a corrupt police force, his anxieties over his pregnant wife and dangerous attraction to resourceful Detective Sarah Essen (Katee Sackhoff) pays off beautifully. The relationships are well drawn in particular the doomed yet intuitive partnership between Essen (who suspects Bruce Wayne is Batman all along) and Gordon. As much a Jim Gordon story as a Batman origin, if not more so, this remains one of the best plotted, most nuanced and compelling Batman stories of all time.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1347 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: