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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just watched Batman: Year One and as I was watching it I found myself
feeling a sense of relief that FINALLY an animated Batman got it right.
I am a fan of all the previous incarnations, even "The Batman" with its
highly stylized and simple plots that wrap themselves up in 22 minutes.
In Detective Comics #27, the very first frame of the story of Batman has Gordon and Bruce sitting together talking. Gordon is an often overlooked character, usually bland and boring. This go-round Gordon is front and center, possibly more than Bruce/Batman. This is more his story and it's about time it was told with so much love and devotion.
Frank Miller is the first person to take Batman back to his roots. Batman was a killer in the beginning. He was no campy Batman with a Boy Wonder sidekick. This film is faithful to Miller's vision of our beloved Detective. He is untested and vulnerable. He is theatrical and vicious. He may not save you because he is not all powerful.
The only complaint I have is the origin story of Selena Kyle and her G.I. Jane haircut. Selena was not sexy at all and her character was sorely out of place. She served absolutely no purpose in this film to advance the plot. She was bratty and self-absorbed which is very Selena- like but *SPOILER ALERT* she may or may not have been a prostitute. If gives no back story to her other than showing up out of nowhere to kick a disguised Bruce Wayne's butt when he confronts her pimp. Then, for no apparent reason, she later kicks the pimp's butt herself and becomes a cat burglar. Because of this side story I cannot give this my highest rating. If this was a television show I might let it slide to give it more time to develop her character. However, there was precious little screen time in this hour long film and she deserved not one minute of it.
Overall, this outing was very well done. If you're looking for "Holy rusted metal Batman" then you're in for a disappointment. This is a dark story and Gotham needs a hero. Lucky for Gothamites, it gets two.
This movie is great, brilliant, realistic, dark, gritty and very-very
emotional Batman adaptation. Forget Mask of the Phantasm, Return of the
Joker or Under the Red Hood. They are great of course but Year one is
in a completely different league than those. This is not something what
you can see on Cartoon Network. It is clearly not for kids, not at all.
It is a serious story with real people with real and logical choices
(Finally Batman is realistic as a person and as a hero, he is not over
the top, he uses his batarang the way he should. He is not god
like...this was a big problem many times in the comics and also in the
animated features too at many areas. He can be shot, beaten and also he
can't beat the crap out from 3-4 people easily just because he is
Batman. He is a believable person here who can really exist out there
in the real world.). If you know the original comics than you won't be
disappointed with this. This is how Batman should be. Also Year one is
more of Jim Gordon's story and it also works great. Brilliant, just
Named as one of IGN's 25 greatest Batman stories of all time and one of
the books that any Batman fan would swear by, Frank Miller's 1987
classic Batman Year One finally comes to life as a full length animated
movie. Besides inspiring elements in various Batman animated shows
since the 1990s, Batman Year One is also the main inspiration for the
blockbuster hit "Batman Begins". So with its influence seen in all
incarnations of Batman in the last 15 years, the producers are hard
pressed to come up with anything original. So instead of just retelling
Batman's origins, drawing influence from Batman Year One, the creative
team decided to stick as close as possible to the source material and
literally transfer the book into animated form.
To date, Batman Year One is easily the movie that is most faithful to its source material. Barring a few lines tweaked to flow more naturally in dialogue, the script is almost exactly the same as in the book. Whole scenes are reproduced shot for shot, as if the comic panels themselves came to life. One could literally watch this movie and read the comic side by side. Sadly, the plot itself is weaker than what one would expect, mostly due to the limitations of the audio/visual media.
Batman Year One contains two parallel tales. One follows Bruce Wayne, a millionaire playboy with a tragic past who returns to Gotham City after many years. The other follows Lieutenant Jim Gordon, a cop transferred to Gotham Police Department. Crime and corruption run rampant through the city, driving both Gordon and Wayne to bring justice to this lawless town through their own means. Initially, they are powerless against against a world of vice and sin, a world that does not want their help and would instead seek to crush their bodies and spirits. But both men soldier on in their quest. Wayne decides to become a masked vigilante; striking from the shadows against those that the authorities are powerless to touch. Meanwhile Gordon, knee deep among crooked Cops, struggles to expose the corrupted powers that be.
When it first debuted in 1987, Batman Year One was meant to be a realistic reinterpretation of Batman's origins. No fancy gadgets, no Batmobile, no crazy freaks. Batman does not befriend the police, and is in fact wanted as a criminal at one point. Those expecting long drawn out Batman brawls might be disappointed by the lack of appearances by Batman. Remember, the story is less about the icon and more about the man behind the mask. Also, the voice cast is possibly one of the weaker ones from DC animation. None of the performances really stand out, especially Benjamin McKenzie's Batman who seems to be doing a bad Christian Bale impression.
In true comic book fashion, the story is the very definition of brevity. Despite running barely over 60 minutes, the movie does a wonderful job of getting to the point of how both Wayne and Gordon struggle to keep their beliefs in a world devoid of morality. The power of a comic's visuals in telling a story without words is reflected very well in the animation. Scenes are loaded with impact and potential interpretations. Sadly, in an animated medium, one cannot mull over a page or let the imagination "set" to fully appreciate a scene's impact. Perhaps some would feel that the movie is too "to the point"; giving the audience the story instead of letting it play out over time.
On the flip side, what the animated medium takes full advantage of is bringing motion to static artwork. The animation by Korean studio "Moi Animation" is so smooth and seamless, a standard usually only seen in big budget theatrical feature films along the lines of "Rebuild of Evangelion" and "Sky Crawlers". The fight scenes are definitely the highlight of the movie. Fully animated, without a single cost saving short cut, it is almost like live action combat sequences out of a blockbuster. The art is no pushover either. It is David Mazzucchelli's original comic designs and characters, combined with an Asian anime flaire and aesthetics. This means small tweaks like giving characters more expressive eyes, sharper features and a less murky color palette. Purists would cry foul at the tweaks but they never detract from the original artwork's feel; it is still dark, gritty, and atmospheric as ever.
Being incredibly faithful to the source material means that one need not be familiar with the graphic novel to appreciate this show. If anything, this film allows those who would normally be averse to reading a comic book appreciate a timeless tale, integral to Batman lore. It is the same book, just a different way of reading it.
I consider myself a Batman fan. Having loved a vast majority of the
previous Batman adaptations, I loved this movie. The animation is
wonderful, the backgrounds and colours are dark and the character
designs are sophisticated.
The music has a real haunting quality to it, and does so well in enhancing the atmosphere. And what an atmosphere it is too, for me the best Batman adaptations(Batman: The Animated Series, Mask of the Phantasm, 1989 Batman and Under the Red Hood) have a suitably gritty tone, which is what the movie does have.
Batman: Year One's dialogue is sharp, intelligent and edgy, and generally apart from the rushed subplot of Selina Kyle(a longer length in general might've helped) the story is clever and compelling. Mostly the characters are very well written, with special mention going to Gordon, a character that could be bland but here he is very interesting.
Voice acting is strong. Bryan Cranston is especially outstanding. Ben McKenzie is generally good and emotive, if in need of more charisma in places. All in all, excellent Batman movie. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to just post here to pick up on idiotic comments by Adam-Penn
It's blatantly obvious that NEITHER of these posters have read the original source material material that is considered Batman cannon.
Lets take this example (Spoiler)
"This movie decides to have Gordon have an affair with a fellow cop... while his wife (who they decided to name Barbara) is pregnant.
Naming his wife Barbara is even more insulting, as if real fans wouldn't know that Barbara is supposed to be his daughter, and not his pregnant wife." REAL fans would know that Barbara 'Batgirl' Gordon is NOT Jim Gordons daughter but is the daughter of Gordon's brother Roger and Roger's wife Thelma. When her parents died, James and Barbara (his WIFE) adopted Babs junior. When Jim broke up with his wife years later, he took custody of Babs junior while his wife moved back to Chicago with James junior.
As for him having an affair with a fellow cop AGAIN, IT HAPPENED IN THE COMICS!!! He even gets married to Sarah Essen years later when she returns to Gotham. Batman doesn't respect Gordon because he's a paragon of virtue. He respects Gordon because he's an honest cop, one of the few left in the cesspool that is Gotham, and be counted on to do the right thing in the end. But then, you'd know that IF YOU WATCHED THE MOVIE!!! IMDb isn't really the place for a lesson in Batman history, I'll agree. HOWEVER when so called Batman fans who haven't the SLIGHTEST idea about the characters history use that ignorance to slate an extremely good adaptation of a cult classic, then I think it's validated.
I enjoyed the pace & tone of movie of the movie tremendously, the only let down for me was Ben McKenzie's voice as Batman/Bruce. Sure, we all know that Kevin Conroy is pretty much considered God when venturing into this territory but I also loved the approach that both Bruce Greenwood & Jeremy Sisto took respectively in Batman: Under the Red Hood & Justice League: The New Frontier. Mckenzie lacked charisma in the role and I never felt the air of menace that I want from Batman.
I was struck time and time again how faithfully various panels were reproduced in the film but without ever feeling forced. I never felt that I was watching an animated comic, it serves as a movie in it's own right.
Can't wait for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns although I REALLY can't imagine what posters who have never read that book either will make of what they to to Batman in there!
The Batman franchise is currently dominating every single form of media
there is. From the incredible Arkham Asylum videogames, the Christopher
Nolan revamped films, to the recently developed animated sagas, Batman
is performing beyond all other comic-book heroes.
Ironically, he is one of the only graphic novel characters I appreciate more in my maturity, due to the story's vast amount of themes and ideas.
Batman: Under the Red Hood 2010 was perhaps the most enthralling animated film since the famous Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm 1993, so I greatly anticipated Batman Year One.
This film retells the story of one of the most famous fictional crime- fighting partnerships ever created. Batman and police official Lieutenant James 'Jim' Gordon.
When I heard Jim Gordon was going to be one of the protagonists, I had my reservations. I should have known better. This movie did not disappoint. In fact, it was far the opposite.
The plot follows both characters with their respective stories: Bruce Wayne, boy billionaire returns to Gotham City after being absent for many years following his parent's murder. He is lost and seeking a path to cope with vengeance. His transformation into the dark avenging angel Batman is the crux of the plot.
Running parallel, Jim Gordon is a honourable police officer joining a corrupt authority in Gotham City's Police Department. His durability in pursuing his career, regardless of the crooked cops he is surrounded by form his intriguing story.
There were specific points that illustrated the relentless will-power of each character. The first sighting of Batman revealed his character defining raison d'etre his upkeep of justice as opposed to vengeance, and his preservation of human life over killing: He knocks a man off a balcony, but holds onto his leg. The expression of this point emerged from the beating he receives from two other thugs as he maintains his grip of the criminal who could die if he lets go.
Jim Gordon's most challenging moment was his perseverance in the police force, following a remorseless physical attack from his work colleagues.
The professionalism of the directors and producers was shown through their selection in voice actor Ben McKenzie for Batman. The dialogue, inner monologues and delivery portrayed a young Batman just commencing his crusade on crime and it worked.
The film is definitely worth watching if you are a Batman fan, but I would never recommend this as a general crowd pleaser. Animations are often seen as childish cartoons and understandably, they are shunned by adult audiences. If Batman is perceived as a kid's passion, then consider me a big child, because I cannot ever imagine disliking this character nor ignoring any of the films, be it live action or animation.
Nevertheless, if you do like 'the dark knight', then add this to the hit-list.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't let the few poor reviews hinder you from watching this movie,
they were clearly written by people who have never read Frank Miller's
Batman: Year One or followed the Batman universe closely...
**Possible Spoilers** for instance, Jim Gordon's wife has always been named Barbara except for when he was later married to Det. Essen, and Miller added that he is a special forces veteran who is capable in hand-to-hand combat, thus explaining his fighting ability. As far as Gordon hunting Batman, had this person actually watched the whole movie, they would have seen the shift between Gordon hunting Batman to the traditional Gordon/Batman relationship...
Excellent job from WB and as long as Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett & crew have their fingers in the mix, Batman will continue to be amazing. If you are a fan of Batman, there is no reason not to love this movie, and if you enjoyed Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, guess what it was basically based on Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, Nolan was reported to always have a copy of the graphic novel with him on set. Having thoroughly enjoyed the graphic novel and Nolan's film, I can easily say they felt the same, which is very much a good thing...Everyone should buy this DVD so hopefully WB will continue to put these films out. I for one would love to see someone pick these up as some sort of series, a new movie every couple months, Batman: Year Two and so on, I think it would be really awesome to see the progression of all the characters and the emergence of all the villains.
**Also check out Batman: Under the Red Hood, another amazing animated movie from WB, Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett & crew**
this movie was a little difficult to watch, the timing and pacing have
been taken from the comic itself, and sometimes this makes the overall
experience a little weird... its like 3 pages in a comic book last much
longer and make a much bigger impression than a few minutes in film.
what I'm trying to say its that this is a complete scene by scene
adaptation of the comic book , but the experience is different. the
comic book is on my top best of all time, but this movie was not that
don't get me wrong, i recommend this movie, but its weird, and its even weirder knowing that i have read all this before but it left me with a compete different sensation. the ending seem way less climatic in film than it does in the graphic novel, but its still good.
what i like the most about the film is the fight against the swat team, that was great, i love the moment when batman saves a cat.
i cant really bash on this movie because i liked it, but I'm probably going to watch it not as much as other dcau animated films. i also have lowered my love for miller's writing, and you can see a lot of him on this story, but thats bashing on the comic book and that would be very wrong.
the movie is exactly what its supposed to be, id say see it
This is a dark, realistic and fantastic installment from DC. I was
really immersed into the whole visual and direction of this movie.
Sure, the plot maybe a bit slow but the story is really good. The movie
focuses in on two primary characters, which is Bruce Wayne and Jim
Gordon. Although the movie seems to focus more on Jim Gordon and his
subconscious more than Bruce Wayne. It doesn't take away anything from
this movie. Because I thought it was cool to delve more into the
persona of Jim Gordon and where he comes from. Some people maybe
against him being portrayed as this masculine though guy. But I thought
it was refreshing to see him as this badass lieutenant. The animation
for the most part is fluid and I just really liked the more dark and
gritty atmosphere in this, which has more of an adult theme going for
it. Although the action sequences are well done, that isn't the driving
force of this movie. What drives this movie is the intricate and the
direction of the two main characters and how it develops. Even the
music score fit right into the environment and it actually does stand
A few things off the bat... I'm a fan of DC comics Animation since TAS
and Mask of The Phantasm. For the most part they have done a great job
delivering exciting stories. Also, I have NOT read the Frank Miller
'Batman: Year One' 4 issue comic from which this was adapted from.
So here's my 2 cents... Animation: Sharp. Minimal use of soft focus than in previous features which is an improvement. Very little 'shakey cam' shots as used in previous films to create the illusion of action. Action and scenes are set up as you would expect in a well done live action film.
Voice Work: Kudos to the casting team. All voices sound top notch without sounding as if they're actors reading off a script in a sound booth. They genuinely sound invested in the scene and it shows. Minor complaints on Bruce's voice but you get used to it.
Music/Sound: Fantastic. Dark and atmospheric. Slowly plays tension through out the film. Until now, I had yet to hear a composition on one of these films that matches the talent of Shirley Walker who composed for Batman TAS in the 90's. The surround sound in this feature is put to full use more so than other animated DC films. Again, your getting feature film effort/quality here.
Story: Here's where I've read many complaints. This was definitely dark and different. Bear in mind I have never read the comic but from what I hear this is a faithful adaptation of those 4 issues. The story chronicles both Batman and Gordon's first year fighting in Gotham. How their relationship evolves and the decadence of Gotham is explored in detail. Don't expect a rosy colored Batman cartoon. This is a mature and dark story that happens to be told in animation.
Conclusion: Those of us that grew up as children watching Batman: TAS who are now adults. Many of us have admired how lately Batman's character has been presented in such mature forms as in Nolan's Dark Knight or Rock Steady's Arkham Asylum/City. This is why 'Batman: Year One' stands out above the rest in terms of animated films. In part, due to the excellent source material but equally in it's presentation in this particular medium. Batman: Year One is the wonderful product of more than 20 years of animated excellence. Definitely, a must have.
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