A wealthy playboy and a Chicago cop both return to Gotham City where their lives will intersect in unexpected ways.A wealthy playboy and a Chicago cop both return to Gotham City where their lives will intersect in unexpected ways.A wealthy playboy and a Chicago cop both return to Gotham City where their lives will intersect in unexpected ways.
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.
- Jun 20, 2014