Batman: Year One (Video 2011) Poster

(2011 Video)

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No fancy gadgets, no batmobile. Just two men driven to bring justice to a lawless town
xamtaro19 October 2011
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.
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The first reviewer could not be more wrong!
StevenLaw10 October 2011
Warning: 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.
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The best Batman adaptation and the best DC animated movie ever made
vader_nagyur14 October 2011
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 brilliant.

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A truly excellent Batman
TheLittleSongbird21 October 2011
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
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A lovely adaptation of a cult classic
Kitma18 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have to just post here to pick up on idiotic comments by Adam-Penn and the_kick_ass...

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!
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I'm still a child
Stephen Leslie France1 November 2011
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.
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Excellent Movie...Fantastic depiction of Frank Miller's graphic novel
kreaves9918 October 2011
Warning: 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**
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A Mature Batman for a Matured Audience
rjgbeaver19 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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a great adaptation
rumasuk18 October 2011
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 enjoyable.

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
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Mature, dark, gritty and fantastic
KineticSeoul16 February 2015
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 out.

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Influential Batman Story is Faithful to Its Source Material
Norman Cook12 October 2011
Warning: 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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Batman, gritty and realistic until final sequence
pamad0513 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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Should be called 'Gordon'
tr9110 August 2013
'Batman: Year one' was an enjoyable Batman animation. It wasn't my favourite one I have seen but it was still good in its own way.

For me, this one seemed more about Gordon rather than Batman (I probably should have read the description before watching it and I would have realised).

The animation looked great, one of the better animations I have seen in that sense. There was only a few fight scenes (which were good) but I just wanted more. I wanted to see the Batmobile and stuff like that. Also Catwoman was kinda just there, what was she doing? I'll admit I haven't read any Batman comics for years and have only just started watching a few of the animated films, maybe that's why I didn't like this one so much. Overall it was still good but just not as good as other ones I have seen.

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Excellent movie adaptation of an excellent comic
safwan_insane13 October 2011
I am surprised at the user reviews here and they basically compelled me to write my own. Year one is one of the greatest batman story ever and the movie sticks closely to the source material. If you are unfamiliar with the comic, Year one basically details Bruce Wayne's first year after his return to Gotham City, twelve years after his parent's death. Running parallel to this is the story line of James Gordon, a lieutenant transferred from Chicago to Gotham City. The challenges faced by these characters as they embark on their respective paths and how those paths cross is where Year One shines. The animation perfectly brings David Mazzucchelli's muddy comic panels to life. The inclusion and portrayal of Catwoman might some but it is a very brief part of the story. Year One is an excellent movie and I would recommend this to any Batman fan.
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Batman Year One mostly faithful, but without any its soul
JT-Kirk2 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
At San Diego Comic-Con 2011, Warner Bros held the world premiere for their new animated telling of Batman: Year One. Unfortunately, after the end of the film I was disappointed enough that I walked out on the panel with the major voice cast and directors.

The story is faithful to the comic, to the point where they could have used a little rewriting for fresh air. A few spots felt too anchored to the original page, dialog in a comic explaining an emotion or a type of action doesn't need to be taken literally for a movie. Being too faithful has the film feel like it's lacking any soul or spirit, it's just flatly reading lines, lacking inspiration, simply flipping through pages of the comic to get itself back on track. That is a complaint I had with Zack Snyder's Watchmen as well, just a sense of lifelessness, being stuck on the page treating the original material as cinematic gospel rather than being properly inspired by it. Unlike Watchmen, Year One is a short runtime of an hour, while it doesn't feel rushed, there are a few elements that could have spent a little more time on, most notably Bruce Wayne building up the Batman persona.

Another issue I have with Year One is the art. The style is inspired by Batman The Animated Series' simplicity but not its bold styling, which feels confused - it's not terrible, but it's not quite anything either. Batman in costume looks pretty decent, but Bruce Wayne's character art is like a classic animated Bruce Wayne in his late 30s, it's a tad distracting when he's voiced as a young man and other characters talk about him that way but he looks far more mature. That's perhaps subjective, but the movie's art fails in a second way that's less so: the use of CGI for vehicles - it's abominable, utterly terrible at every glimpse. The drawn artwork is left unsupported by cheap-looking CGI vehicles that move in an entirely robotic and stilted manner. It seems worse than any CGI cartoon TV show from the last 20 years, and every time a car or helicopter is on screen it's a significant distraction.

A smaller flaw in the film is the one big change to the climax of the story. This is the only SPOILER in my review, but it's part of the film's final act: In order to get Gordon more involved than the original, they have changed the events so that Gordon now shoots an unarmed, seemingly-uninvolved motorcyclist and takes his bike to chase after the kidnapper - Gordon shooting a bystander is insanity, well outside of character, turning him essentially into a murderer, whether or not that motorcycle-rider turns out to be secretly wearing armor and eventually gets back up. That chain-reacts into a second problematic change for the climax: Bruce Wayne now no longer has a vehicle to chase the kidnappers, so he takes to the rooftops, without gadgets or costume or even his motorcycle helmet, leaping around like a cheesy cartoon. That comes after an hour of being a grounded, fairly realistic guy - could you imagine the Batman of the Christopher Nolan movies doing that stuff? No, and this story up until the end had played it pretty much the same realistic manner, yet out of the blue Bruce Wayne becomes a super-powered cartoon character.

My final issue is that the voice acting simply does not hold up. Bryan Cranston as Gordon is the center of the movie, he's not a terrible choice, but there's a natural lightness to his reading which doesn't always quite match the depth of what's called for. Batman/Bruce Wayne himself is a big problem, voiced by The OC's Ben McKenzie - Ben has a younger voice without a lot of weight or darkness behind it, so he's directed to try to put on that Batman sound, it doesn't work. He's not experienced with voice acting either, and the combination of those two issues ends up really holding the character back - considering he's the titular character, there should be something believable to the performance, yet McKenzie often struggles with over-pronunciation of his lines, and keeps a "light brooding" going nearly all the time. And Alfred, I'm sorry, I just cannot get behind such a sleepy, disconnected performance - it's a small part in this tale, but I found it very distracting after so many years of great screen Alfreds, from the Nolan films through The Animated Series and going back to the 1960s TV show, only to have... this throwaway work.

What does work: James Gordon being a rounded character, it still plays well, Gordon seems quite adept at carrying these things.

Katee Sackoff brings some fairly convincing voice acting for her character, I've never really entirely been sold on ol' Starbuck there, but she was the lone bright spot that felt like a natural performance.

The movie is a period piece, set in the 1980s, which is an excellent choice, the story exists in a specific era and this movie plays to those strengths, no cellphones or modern conveniences to muck things up. There are even recognizable '80s cars like the first-gen Mazda RX-7.

There are a handful of small moments of humor natural to the story which play pretty well in the film, like Bruce Wayne's sit-down with Gordon and his wife, and Selina Kyle's frustrations with the press.

In the end, this animated version of Batman: Year One just doesn't deliver too well. Uninspired story presentation, middling art, and tepid voice acting work all create a rare animated DC misfire. And because it's such a major story in the modern DC universe, at a time when Batman screen tales are being done well left and right, it disappoints that much more to watch this one fizzle.
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Solid adaptation of classic comic book
Maziun20 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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Batman: Absolute Perfection
xThatOneKidx28 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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Telling the story again...
JoeB13122 January 2012
This is an adaptation of Frank Miller's "Batman:Year 1" series and it's pretty close to the story.

It shows both Batman and James Gordon at the beginning of their careers dealing with corrupt politicians, criminal gangs and so on.

Batman is one of those characters where the story has been retold so many times that you can draw anything from the campy to the deadly serious about it. We have all the Batman characters we love- including Harvey Dent (pre-horrible accident) and the Catwoman. (Although, honestly, I found her character to be the kind of annoying thing about the film.

This is done in the style of Japanese Anime, and if you enjoy that kind of thing, that's fine. It was graphic and gritty and I imagine somewhere out there a parent rented this and got an eye-full with the red light district scene.
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This is my favorite of the DC animated movies.
circawhenever6 November 2011
In my opinion, this is better then the book. To explain this, it's necessary to comment on Ben Mckenzie's performance. In the source book, Bruce/Batman always came off as a jerk, and not likable or endearing as a character. With a combination of animation and Mckenzie's unique approach, I really cared and felt fort this batman.

While the animators gave the character a subtle but effective emotional performance, Mckenzie's approach was almost paradoxical in nature. He combined elements of detached inflections, giving a sense of a man whose not quite right in the head, while also lending strong yet subtle sense of gravitas and vulnerability in his performance. Frankly, I haven't seen a batman performance this emotionally fractured since Michael Keaton.

Also, this movie hearkens back in another way to the Burton films, in that Gotham is depicted as rotten to the core through subtly; visuals and nuanced acting, no speechifying and social commentary, that Nolan seems to rely on. All in all, the best animated Batman next to Mask of the Phantasm, but that's just my opinion.
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"Even scum have families."
utgard1419 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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Faithful adaptation of a great graphic novel
Gopal Sangra23 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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Solid enjoyable origins story that benefits from having Gordon as the focal point and little extravagance
bob the moo21 January 2012
Two men come to Gotham City. Jim Gordon comes to join the police for a fresh start, having been labelled as a rat for getting convictions against dirty colleagues. Millionaire Bruce Wayne returns from overseas, with a keen sense of justice and a need to take action. Both men want to clean up Gotham and both men find the system to be failing, however, although they want the same thing, both men face threats from criminals and the police alike, as Commissioner Loeb may be the most corrupt of all of them.

I'm not a big fan of animated films but I do love Batman and some of the work of Frank Miller. In this film we take the story right back to the origins (again) but the focus is very much on the parallel fates of Gordon and Wayne and the roots of their working relationship. There are no master villains, not much in the way of elaborate gadgets or excess but instead crime families and corrupt cops terrorising the city. This plot gives the film an accessible and realistic feel that I quite liked even if the downside is that it does rather lack colour and OTT excitement. On the flipside to that though it was fun to enjoy the story set in a semi-real world with the focus on the person rather than the extravagant character – there is a reason why this is as much Gordon's story as it is Wayne's.

Despite being a bit more realistic it does still produce good action and the hour run-time goes by quite quickly and easily. The animation is stylish without ever overdoing it on the design front. The city itself is a little disappointing as it is perhaps too ordinary but otherwise the film looks good and is well directed in terms of "camera" angles and shots. If I had one main complaint it would be the inclusion of Catwoman in the film. She really adds nothing and the film does nothing with her – I'm not sure what happens with her in the source material, but her character seems rushed and included because they felt they had to. You'd not feel her absence if she wasn't there.

The voice work from Cranston is good – not only his distinctive voice but his delivery is roundly good. McKenzie wasn't quite as effective for me, although this is partly because Gordon does seem to have the better of the material in terms of lines. Sackhoff, Dushku and Rocco are all good presences but Polito suffers a bit because his character (Loeb) both looks and sounds like Ed Rothschild Wuncler from The Boondocks. Overall though, a solid Batman origins film that benefits from having the focus as much on Gordon as it is on Wayne.
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Gotham, from the bottom up.
alanrayford23 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Like the Batman DTV's before, this is based on a comic book storyline and has an exceedingly short running time. Nonetheless, unlike Batman: Gotham Knight, Batman: Under the Red Hood and both Batman/Superman features, this is special. It's probably the best production put forth since 2009's Wonder Woman—if not the best animated DTV yet.

This is due primarily to it's faithfulness to the original, 1987 mini-series by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli. Normally, I hate watching stories I've already read and know by heart. But Miller and Mazzucchelli's tale isn't a simple story; it's a masterpiece of storytelling which pushed the boundaries of the genre.

Visually, everything is rendered to look less stylized and more realistic. The backgrounds are more in line with the realities of urban decay rather than Gothic fancy. Bruce Wayne looks like a normal guy, even when he's kicking trees in half. As Batman, while definitely a BAMF, he doesn't miraculously gain muscle mass. Jim Gordon looks less like a caricature and more like an actual detective—complete hunched shoulders and weary glare. Everything animates smoothly, although, just as in real life, there aren't any overly dramatic or spectacular shots.

The story's further propelled by some rather understated acting by its two leads. Bryan Cranston does Jim Gordon justice, managing to sound weathered yet compassionate all the same. Benjamin McKenzie's portrayal of Bruce Wayne felt a bit uneasy. But that's fitting, seeing as how the character's just starting out and was a little unsteady. I could see McKenzie's Wayne eventually growing into Kevin Conroy's, which is all I needed to.

As for the direction of Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery, they played it smart. The source material nearly serves as shot for shot storyboard. So they wisely chose to follow what Miller wrote and Mazzucchelli rendered. Kudos! Now for the story.

Batman: Year One (BYO) details the first year in Gotham City's long, unending road to redemption. It starts with Bruce Wayne's return, after twelve years abroad, and the arrival of, then police lieutenant, James Gordon. Both of them oppose the deep-rooted corruption within the city. But, one is part of the system and the other isn't—leading them to employ different tactics. Although they start off at odds, by film's end, a legendary partnership has been forged.

There's no need to say more about the plot. This is an almost panel for panel reproduction of the mini-series. So, if you've read it, then you already know what to expect…mostly.

There are a few additions made to BYO that fit the animated medium. They are as follows: an lengthened fight between a pre-Batman, Bruce Wayne and a pre-Catwoman, Selina Kyle; an extended fight between Batman and SWAT; Wayne brooming an escort after she helps sell an alibi; Catwoman scratching up some mobsters; and Wayne, in civvies, engaging in some super-I've spent twelve years traveling the world and mastering exotic martial arts-parkour. Most of these additions are devoted primarily to action. This is good, because you don't add scenes of dialogue to a crown jewel of storytelling without running the risk of irrevocably screwing up. Unfortunately, there are still a few snags.

While nearly every scene from the mini is present and accounted for, a few things were omitted. Most were lines of dialogue. We never hear why Gordon hates his gun. We never hear how much Gordon curbed his pummeling of Flass. We don't hear Batman size up the Roman's security detail before crashing that banquet. Alfred's throwaway line about Superman is cut. These are lightweight omissions, the rest are not.

The scene which firmly established Gordon's growing attraction to Essen was cut. Without it, their first kiss felt sudden and almost out of character instead of inevitable. More important is the scene where Bruce identified Gordon as someone he needed on his side. Without this scene, Bruce showing up to save the day felt more convenient than logical. Also, when Gordon headed back home, in the final act, it was clearly dark outside. Yet, two minutes later, the sun was out. Wayne's earlier line to Alfred about never suiting up during the daytime makes this one, graphical misstep even more obvious.

Yet, it has to be said the reason I know of these exclusions and find their absence jarring is because I know this particular story like the back of my hand. If you haven't read the TPB enough to wear out the spine of two copies, you'd be hard pressed to notice.

All in all, I feel this is the best presentation of Batman currently available. It's more fallible, human and believable than the comics have been in over twenty years. It's more mature and packs more punch than BTAS. There are no superpowers. The lead is never once referred to as a superhero. Gotham isn't hopelessly Gothic and full of long, winding spires just for the sake of it (Burton). The darkened skyline isn't awash with garish, neon lighting, nor does the batsuit have nipples (Schumacher). An organization of overly pious assassins doesn't stage a terrorist attack on Gotham, nor does a nearly omniscient, self proclaimed agent of chaos make an appearance (Nolan). Batman isn't built like a pro-wrestler who has an endless array of batarangs, other assorted tech and can expertly engage endless opponents without hurting for it (Rocksteady's games).

BYO's chief strength is how it takes the world we know and tweaks things, just a little bit, by adding a very human Caped Crusader who's new to the job. Everything besides this lone element feels eerily true as this is ultimately a story of corruption. It's about those who profit from it, those who perpetuate it, those who are victimized by it and those few who choose to fight it.

Buy this film. Rent this film. Watch this film. Watch it again. This is the best, most compelling take on the Batman mythos you're likely to see.
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Year One, A Fantastic Adaptation
Kevin Lea Davies17 March 2016
The origins of Batman. There have been several renditions over his from his more wholesome and humble beginnings in the 'Silver Age' of comics, to Christopher Nolan's epic film trilogy of a man driven mad by the death of his parents. Printed in 1987, Year One was artist and writer Frank Miller's take on Batman's beginnings and is considered by many the official cannon of Wayne's long endeavour against crime.

DC Animation did a wonderful job approaching Miller's work, and remained very true to the original work. There is very little alteration in plot and theme, as it retains it gritty and dark narrative, about a city lost to crime and corruption, and the struggle of good men in a city where good men are considered weak. You are introduced to two main characters, Bruce Wayne and James Gordon. Both outsiders, and both willing to make a difference in their own way. The theme of this film is one of absolute resolve and strength in the face of adversity.

Where this film really excels is within its voice acting. Most people will be able to place Bryan Cranston as Lieutenant Gordon. Gordon, arguably the main character of this story, begins as a man in penance. He enters the city by train, regretting his actions that got him transferred to the most dangerous city in America, apprehensive about the future for his wife and himself. All of this is portrayed through these subtle inflections of voice, and Cranston does a fantastic job of maintaining this quality throughout the film. Ben McKenzie as Bruce Wayne / Batman is excellent in his role, and separates himself from previous voice actors. He portrays a man of drive and unforgiving resolve, yet at times a man who is uncertain of himself. The acting is solid throughout, which is no small feat in animation as it depends completely on how the actors use their voice.

Batman is a symbol to many, as a stand against crime, yet his beginnings were not always easy. His struggle is a very real and human one. In many ways, he represents the best of us, and an unwavering determination to do what is necessary in the face of evil. Year One is arguably the best animated adaptation of a comic book to date.

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Good adaptation of adult Batman story
Neil Welch27 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Upright cop James Gordon is transferred to the corrupt Gotham City Police Department at the same time as Bruce Wayne is taking the first steps towards becoming masked crimefighter Batman.

This animated feature adapts the story written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzuccelli: it doesn't follow the artist's style that closely (although there are some images lifted directly from the page), but the story is well adapted.

This is perhaps Gordon's story more than Batman's, well told, but not for kids: not because of violence or bad language, but because much of the story material is simply adult.

This is one of the better DC animated films.
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