So I finally got around to watching the latest DC Universe Animation Feature. It’s one that I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement. BATMAN: YEAR ONE. The film also included the DC Showcase short, “Catwoman”-which you can find my review of a few posts back.
So let’s jump right in, to
Jim Gordon Batman: Year One!
See what I did there? This film is almost more about Lt. Gordon than it is about the Dark Knight (to be). The plot follows the Frank Miller comic very closely, and the art follows trend as well. This is standard fare for the DC Universe films that are based on existing stories (especially the Superman / Batman ones….) and I liked it. I’m not going to get into a plot synopsis review or anything, but if you’re familar with the comic, you’ll know what happens here.
The movie tales about Bruce Wayne coming back to Gotham after vanishing for twelve years (and being trained by Ras Al Ghu—sorry, wrong movie). Drawing a parallel is Lt. James Gordon, who is arrived in Gotham to work for the Gotham PD. He is met by Flass, who is as crooked as they come. While Bruce is battling his inner demons, the torment of losing his parents 18 years ago, and trying to invent his alter ego (yes, we get the scene with the bat flying in….it’s pretty epic). Meanwhile-at Stately Wayne Manor…wait………
Meanwhile, Gordon is battling his own demons. He’s battling corruption of the GCPD, he’s battling his affair with another woman, all while his wife Barbara sits at home pregnant. It’s a really good and moving story, that shows the humanity of Batman’s universe.
Overall, I thought the movie was great. The voice cast was terrific, with maybe one exception-and I have a feeling I’m in the minority on this.
Ben Mackenzie. The voice of Bruce Wayne / Batman.
I just…I dont know. I didn’t like it at all. It didn’t strike me as heroic or brooding, it was just…blah. Don’t get me wrong, he gave a good delivery and a solid performance. It’s just, I don’t know. Those of you who know me (or heard me say it on the most recent Nerdy Nothings podcast…) know that I am a MARK for Kevin Conroy (which is why Justice League: Doom will get my $$$$, regardeless…). Kevin Conroy famously voiced The Dark Knight from “Batman: TAS” all the way up through “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman Beyond”. He also famously voiced him in “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City”-as well as some of the DCU Animated films, such as the Superman/Batman films, Gotham Knight, and the upcoming Justice League: Doom”. Now, while I’m not saying I’ve disliked EVERY Batman voice since. Bruce Greenwood did good in “Red Hood”, and I enjoy Diedrech Bater in “Brave & The Bold”, but…Ben Mackenzie was just…meh. Everyone else was great.
Overall, Year One is a fantastic romp through the early days of Batman’s mythology. An alternate-more accurate version of “Batman Begins”. Check it out. Now.