Action Movie Fanatix Review: Batman: Year One

Batman Year One banner

Starring: Ben McKenzie, Bryan Cranston, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Katee Sackhoff

Director: Sam Liu

2011  |  64 Minutes  |  PG-13

“From this moment on, none of you is safe.” – Batman

I haven’t reviewed any animated features prior to this.  I don’t really care for anime all that much so I imagine any future animated film reviews will be relegated to the Marvel & DC DTV animated features.  I had read the Batman: Year One comic so it seems to be as good of a place as any to start my animated reviews.

Bruce Wayne returns to GothamCity after years abroad and Jim Gordon is in Gotham for the first time after his honesty got him into hot water in his last stint with a different police department.  Bruce Wayne becomes Batman and cleans up the streets and Jim Gordon works his way up the ranks of the department as he cleans out the corruption from within.

How many times can the Batman origin be told?  Luckily, Batman: Year One is much more about Commish * errr* Lieutenant Jim Gordon.  And who’d have thought that Gordon was such an interesting character?  Well, maybe you would if you had already seen Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy but the original Batman: Year One comic is actually part of what inspired Nolan’s Bat-masterpieces.

The similarities between the Year One story and the Christopher Nolan Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films are quite obvious.  It just shows how great the source material is that Nolan would pull so directly from it.  They are most noticeable in Batman Begins but can still be seen through out the entire trilogy.

Bryan Cranston’s voice definitely fits a slightly younger Gordon but it is hard to picture anything other than Heisenberg from Breaking Bad.  He tones it down from the really harsh tone he uses in Breaking Bad so Gordon comes across much more likeable than Walter White does.

Like I said, this is much more about Gordon than it is Batman but you can’t have a Batman story without the Dark Knight himself.  Bruce is shown to be very methodical in his planning of how to make this Batman thing really work.  The only problem is, he doesn’t yet have all the skills he needs to always do things right.

Harvey Dent and Selina Kyle/Catwoman are minor characters but it was fun to see their involvement in Bruce’s story so early on.

The animation is top notch as we’ve come to expect from DC releases.  It is right up there with Batman The Animated Series (one of my favorite cartoon series of all time).

My one big complaint was that the beginning felt pretty a bit dry and it took me a little bit before I really got behind these characters that I have known and loved for years.

My one big complaint was that the beginning felt pretty a bit dry and it took me a little bit before I really got behind these characters that I have known and loved for years.

And, because I am a spelling and grammar Nazi I was more than a little disappointed when I saw a spelling error on a hatch inside a burning building says ELECTRICTY.  Come on guys.

I have never been much of a DC fan but Batman has always been my favorite super hero.  Hopefully DC keeps creating such great animated features that pull directly from the source material without having to “adapt” it for mainstream audiences much.

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