Movie Review – Batman: Year One (2011)

Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Alex Rocco, Katee Sackhoff

Batman: Year One spans the first year of Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham, and Jim Gordon’s arrival. Both men have to deal with the dark underbelly of Gotham but in different ways. Bruce Wayne takes to the streets as a vigilante while Gordon has to weave his way through a network of sleaze and corruption in the GCPD.

This is one of the few DC Animated movies that I’ve actually read the graphic novel it was based on and I feel the film did a great job at capturing the feel of the book. The interwoven stories of Wayne and Gordon are both interesting, although I think more people will be drawn to Gordon’s because Bruce Wayne has gotten far more attention in general (although that’s changing now after Gary Oldman’s portrayal in the Nolan movies and now with Gotham). Speaking of Gotham it’s interesting to see that Ben McKenzie is Batman here, where in the show he’s Gordon. I wonder if that played a part in getting him the role?

This is a much more grounded film than the other ones in the animated line and I like that they explore these different tones. One of the flaws of Batman: Year One, and this really isn’t a big flaw, is that you want more than the one year. But there’s still plenty of Bat-action to be had, and the exploration of Gordon’s character is interesting. I enjoyed the graphic novel when I read it and the same is true of the movie. Except I watched it, didn’t read it.

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