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Batman: Year One
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Reviews & Ratings for
Batman: Year One (V) More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Mature Batman for a Matured Audience

Author: rjgbeaver
19 October 2011

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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Solid adaptation of classic comic book

7/10
Author: Maziun from Poland
20 June 2014

"Batman: Year One" is a direct-to-video animated film adapted from the graphic novel written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli with Richmond Lewis. The animated version of "Batman: Year One" is entirely faithful to Frank Miller's original comic book story to the point that differences are almost negligible. Only two minor scenes are missing and nothing is depicted out of order from the original. Some scenes are shortened and some are lengthened for the needs of telling a story on film, but everything that happens in the comic happens in the movie. A few minor scenes are also added. Be aware that this is not really a movie for children – some sexual situations and violence from the original comic book also appear here.

It is not expressed explicitly during the film, but it is likely that this film is set in the 1986/1987 (which was the time when the comic was published). The story follows the first year of Bruce Wayne's time as Batman. This is pretty much an origins story . The focus is very much on the parallel fates of Gordon and Wayne and the roots of their working relationship.

This is a dark , gritty and realistic vision of Batman. There are no costumed villains here (which many will find disappointing). Both Gordon and Batman have to fight against the mob and corrupted police. This is actually more of a Jim Gordon's story . His moral dilemmas feels real and overall it's very easy to care for him. On the other side the movie kinda fails to bring the same emotional connection for Bruce Wayne. I did cared for Wayne/Batman , but his emotional pain seems flat compared to the problems that Gordon is having.

This plot gives the film an accessible and realistic feel. Gotham city looks ordinary and there are no super gadgets here. Batman makes mistakes and he can be hurt very easily. There are some bad things here. Some of the important lines of dialogue were cut , the ones which explained main characters motivations . The final sequence with some supernatural free- running is kinda cheesy . The biggest problem here is however the subplot with Selina Kyle . The movie just like the original graphic novel doesn't really do anything with her. The subplot of her becoming Catwoman feels rushed. She really adds nothing film to advance the plot.

Bryan Cranston as detective James Gordon is simply great. There is a lot of subtle emotions hidden in the words he says. I admit that I was disappointed with Ben McKenzie's voice over as Batman/Bruce Wayne. His performance felt wooden and uninspired for me. The supporting cast is solid , especially Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman , Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Essen and Fred Tatasciore as the corrupt Flass.

Overall , this is a solid and enjoyable movie that works as a tribute to one of the best graphic novels made. There are a few scenes and ideas that appear in "Batman: Year One" that also appear in Christopher Nolan's great "Batman Begins" (which was inspired heavily by "BYO"). If you liked Nolan's take on Batman , you should like this one too. I give it 7/10.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Influential Batman Story is Faithful to Its Source Material

8/10
Author: Norman Cook from Orange County, California
12 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Snapshot: Batman: Year One is one of the most influential comic book stories of all time. The direct-to-DVD adaptation is very faithful to the source material, with excellent production values. It is well worth watching.

Spoilers ahead!

Batman: Year One could easily be called James Gordon: Year One, for it is Lt. Gordon's (Bryan Cranston) character that provides the overriding through story (Cranston even gets top billing). A world-weary Gordon arrives in Gotham City from his previous assignment as punishment for breaking the unwritten code of the policemen's brotherhood: he turned in a cop on the take. What he finds in Gotham is a force that is corrupt all the way to the top. Commissioner Loeb (Jon Polito) is firmly in the pocket of mob boss Carmine Falcone (Alex Rocco), and Gordon's new partner Detective Flass (Fred Tatasciore) is not only corrupt, but is also a violent sociopath who will do anything to intimidate crooks (or Gordon himself, for that matter). Meanwhile, Gordon's home life is rocked when he has an affair with Detective Sarah Essen (Katee Sackhoff) while his wife Barbara (Grey DeLisle) is pregnant with their first child.

And then a crazy man in a bat costume begins taking out bad guys.

Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) has returned from twelve years of mental and physical training to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of criminal scum. He finds it's not so easy, and is almost killed on his first night out in a simple disguise. But a bat flying into his mansion quickly inspires him, and Batman is born.

At first wary of each other, but ultimately realizing they are the only two morally true protectors of Gotham City, Gordon and Batman begin to make a dent in the corrupt police force and the mob that controls them.

In a brief appearance not very instrumental to the plot, prostitute Selina Kyle (Eliza Dushku) decides to emulate the mysterious bat-man, who in her mind has some kindred fetishes, and literally becomes a Catwoman burglar.

The directors made a deliberate decision to remain very faithful to the graphic novel, making it appealing to the fans who expect a lot from one of their favorite stories. The script hones very closely to Miller's terse original. The animation keeps the spirit of the original art, wonderfully carrying the action. It has an anime flow added to it from the Korean studio (MOI Animation) that did the production. The ugliness of the city and its inhabitants comes through in gritty detail. The city becomes a character in itself, creating claustrophobia that closes in on Gordon and Batman.

The voice talent, especially Cranston as Gordon, do a wonderful job conveying the tone of the story. The only small exception is McKenzie's Batman. I understand they wanted a younger, less confident sounding voice, but when we are so used to Kevin Conroy, it's hard to switch. And it's not like Conroy didn't do a terrific younger version in Batman: Gotham Knight (2008). But as Batman gains confidence through the course of his first year, so does McKenzie's voice gain strength.

Batman: Year One is a nice complement to Batman Begins (2005), which took many of its elements from Miller's scenario. Batman Begins focused more on Bruce Wayne's training, while Year One focuses more on Batman's indoctrination into the world of crime fighting.

Be advised that Batman: Year One is not watered down. The sexual situations, dialog, and violence are not for children!

Batman: Year One is a well-done tribute to one of the greatest Batman comics of all time: the story of crime-fighting badass James Gordon and his partner, the man in the bat suit.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Faithful adaptation of a great graphic novel

10/10
Author: Gopal Sangra
23 July 2014

I have always loved batman year one, maybe even more so than the dark knight returns. I liked how it was more about the city and the corrupt police force and it focused more on Jim Gordon than batman, it was about how batman affected other peoples lives. This animated feature based off of the iconic frank miller story line follows the graphic novel very closely and is animated very smoothly and very well and has some excellent voice work by Bryan Cranston of breaking bad and the 2014 Godzilla movie, i think he was the perfect choice for Jim Gordon. It is very interesting seeing Jim Gordon deal with this corrupt city and police force. It is very well paced, i wasn't bored at all while watching it. I highly recommend watching this animated feature because i enjoyed it a lot and found it to be a great adaptation of one of my favorite batman story lines

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Batman: Absolute Perfection

10/10
Author: xThatOneKidx from United States
28 August 2013

I found that "Batman: Year One" was an amazingly entertaining and powerful movie (the best batman I've seen in a long time!). I haven't read the Graphic Novel before, but I'm sure, after watching this that it's a fantastic, well-written novel... The animation was the best I have ever seen in a long time. The story/plot was tantalizingly fabulous, I wish there were more to watch! I never saw Lieutenant Gordon as the versatile, hero he actually is. It's exciting, action-packed, sleazy and interesting. It'll definitely keep you well entertained for the hour and 4 minutes... There isn't a moment in this movie that I found boring or lame. The story is solid and ingenious! The casting was perfect. Never would have guessed Bryan Cranston to play James Gordon or Ben McKenzie as Batman but it blends perfectly... I highly suggest this to all; either your a Batman fan or not you're sure to find that this movie is Five-Star worthy...

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Batman, gritty and realistic until final sequence

9/10
Author: pamad05 from Denmark
13 October 2011

I enjoyed the first 90% of the movie immensely, but the last 10 minutes has batman running around, sans costume and grappling-hook, doing some supernatural free-running.

A lot of the famous villains and anti-villains not directly implicated in the plot are presented along side the main story arc, and the fighting is both excellently and convincingly done - although I did feel Gordon was a bit too much of a brawler, but I forget how he was in the comic.

Everything else is true to the source material, arguably a bit too attached, but for someone who hasn't read the "Year One" comic in what seems like a year, it was a great ride.

I did not have any issues with the voice acting as some of the others have reported.

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Brooding, and Brilliant

7/10
Author: Rich Wright
30 June 2015

Animation grows up. Batman: Year Zero shows what the medium can do if you get the right talent behind the camera: It's a relentlessly downbeat expose of the first year of the Caped Crusader's reign, but it's not just him punching bad guys and smashing drug rings. Sharing just as much screen time is Police Commissioner Gordon, who arrives in Gotham City at round about the same time, and Catwoman (also known as Selina Kyle) with her lowly beginnings as a sleazy prostitute. With extramarital affairs, graphic violence and even a BABY being threatened at knifepoint this certainly is a long way from the camp 60's icon your mum and dad grew up with... And THANK GOD for that.

There's no padding here, no monotonous voice-over to set the scene... Just BAM straight into the action. We're given a date, we're shown what happened on that day... And then, the plot moves swiftly on. Some of these diary entries only last for a second... Others, like a fight in a burnt-out warehouse (there's ALWAYS a big battle in one of them) take much longer. And all the time, the movie never loses touch with it's human side... The morose, often tragic figures here are just as a pleasure to follow as the slick, brutal beatdowns Batman often finds himself in the middle of. It's tense, gripping, compulsive viewing from start to bloody finish. 7/10

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Batman Before The Cape & The Cowl

9/10
Author: zardoz-13 from United States
9 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank Miller's 1987 graphic novel, adapted to video by co-helmers Sam Liu of "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" and "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse's" Lauren Montgomery, chronicles the rise of Bruce Wayne's as the Dark Knight after he returns home from aboard and Lieutenant Jim Gordon's arrival in Gotham City. They do a decent job, and the opening sequence when Bruce's jetliner descends through the clouds to Gotham City is cool. Comparatively, while Bruce flies in, Jim Gotham cruises in on a blue-collar bus. Basically, this amounts to 'Batman Before the Cape, the Cowl, and the Batmobile.' I can understand why Frank Miller complained about Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" because this one picks up after 25-year old Bruce Wayne came back from overseas. Meantime, we see most of everything from Jim Gordon's perspective. Actually, we see how Bruce Wayne went from a street vigilante with boot polish on his face to a fully tricked out crimefighter in a costume. We also see how he came up with the idea of using bats as a way to scare his adversaries. Mind you, this psychology was derived from the early Robert Kane & Bill Finger Batman when Bruce saw a bat flap into his room. Jim Gordon has a pretty tough time adapting to the corruption in Gotham City and has to contend with a wholly obnoxious partner, ex-Green Beret Arnold Flass, who carves himself a little bit of everything. He loves to beat up kids on the street, and other members of the Gotham Police Department demonstrate even less restraint. Police Commissioner Gillian Loeb is thoroughly corrupt, too. When Gordon assures Loeb that he doesn't have to worry about his honesty, Loeb replies that Gordon's honesty is the last thing on his mind. Perhaps the most interesting but least effective item here is Selina Kyle; she is an African-American who rooms with a younger prostitute. Naturally, she is surrounded by a horde of cats, and she tangles with Bruce Wayne in a street fight before he graduates to his persona as Batman. Jim Gordon comes off as a man with feet of clay. His wife Barbara is pregnant and Gordon gets himself involved romantically with a fellow policeman, Detective Sarah Essen, after he straightens out Flass. Flass and his buddies batter Gordon in the parking garage because he refuses to accept bribes. One other interesting scene occurs after Bruce Wayne swaps blows with Selina and Gotham P.D. careens up to break up the altercation. A cop named Eddie shoots and wounds Bruce. On their way to the lock-up, Bruce throttles the driver and their car crashes and he escapes. This is an interesting, fairly faithful version of Miller's graphic novel and it received a PG-13 rating for some unsavory stuff, including blood. Notably, "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston voiced Jim Gordon. The animation is serviceable. Ben McKenzie adds little the voice of Batman.

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"Even scum have families."

6/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
19 October 2014

Animated version of the classic Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli comic book story about the beginning of Batman's career as a crimefighter and Jim Gordon's career with the Gotham Police Department. It's a pretty faithful adaptation with minimal changes. For the most part I liked it but I did have some problems. For starters, the animation is unremarkable. I applaud them for using comic stories as source material because there's a lot of gold to mine there and Hollywood has shown that, when screenwriters are left to their own devices, they come up with some pretty shitty stuff for these characters. That being said, adapting a comic book into a cartoon brings with it the natural comparison of the art styles. Mazzucchelli's artwork is just amazing so you would think/hope that they would try to add the same level of creativity to the animation. But, no, it's just your basic DCAU cookie cutter 'house style.' It's disappointing if you admired the art in the comics. Also, the voicework is full of face actors not great voice actors. Kevin Conroy and Bob Hastings are missed. Ben McKenzie, who does the voice of Bruce Wayne here (unimpressively), goes on to play Jim Gordon in the similar "Gotham" TV series. Finally, the story seems a bit rushed. The comic story took place over four issues but adapting that into a film you have to take into account the different pacing of the two mediums. The buildup here is kind of limp for such an iconic story. Still, the source material is so good that they could only mess it up so much. It's an enjoyable animated movie. Not as great as it should have been but very watchable.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Solid Adaptation

7/10
Author: filmcritickevin from United States
28 October 2012

I'm a huge fan of the Frank Miller graphic novel, and this film did follow the source material almost word for word. The animation was very well executed, presenting some really good action sequences.

My main problem with this much anticipated DC Animation project was Ben McKenzie's miserable performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. His pathetic attempt at voice acting was one of the worst things I've ever listened to.

Nevertheless, Bryan Cranston was perfect for the role of Jim Gordon, and I hope to see him portray the character again in a live action film.

As far as the construction of Gotham, I did feel they could've done a better job of emphasizing the noir aspect presented by David Mazzuchelli's art. The lighting was much too vibrant for the bleak and eery atmosphere of this dismal society.

All in all, this one is worth watching, but has its flaws nonetheless.

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