Batman: Gotham By Gaslight Animated Movie Review by Deffinition
I’ll preface this review by saying that on the whole, I dislike the DC Animated Movies. There are some absolute classics such as The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and Flashpoint, however, the quality of these can often be credited with being straight adaptations of the source material. When DC play loosely with their smaller screen works such as The Killing Joke and the string of Universe Movies, I find these far inferior in quality. Naturally I was cautious when I saw the announcement of Gotham By Gaslight. Standing tall as one of my favourite Batman Graphic Novels I was disappointed to discover that the piece would take elements from the original work but massively subvert them. Upon seeing initial reviewers site their disappointment for the piece I felt like it would be another crushing blow to the declining DC animated work. However, I’m happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Perfectly capturing the essence of Victorian London, Gotham feels like a living and breathing sess pit. From the dialogue to the fog-ridden streets, every aspect of the world feels authentic. Whilst in the past I criticised the other animated movies for subverting from the original pieces the changes here are used to expand the universe instead of changing it overtly. Every member of the cast does a stellar job of bringing their character to life and Bruce Greenwood is very deserving of his place as the voice of The Dark Knight.
Some characters are deliberately changed, for example, Selina Kyle is no longer a cat burglar, but on the whole, these changes feel necessary in order for the players to fit cohesively into the storyline. However, there is one big archetype twist for a Batman mainstay that I believe will either make or break the movie for most. Diehard fans will probably detest this and it is difficult to decipher exactly the thinking behind this or how well it will be received down the line. I knew the plot twist going in so it wasn’t too shocking for me and over time it has sat well, in contrast though, those not prepared may find it rather jarring and head scratching.
Batman Vs Jack The Ripper
Another peculiar decision is the film’s R Rating. Whilst the themes of murdering prostitutes should never be aimed towards children, there is a certain lack of weight to the actual killing scenes themselves and it feels like the creative team deliberately pulled their punches. The camera often pulls away and never really focuses too much on the diabolical deeds of the mass murderer.
Jack The Ripper is arguably the most famous serial killer of all time so it seems strange that a work centred around his face off with one of Comic’s darkest creations would be so censored. The showdown is enthralling though and it’s nice to see these two mainstays of fiction facing off against one another.
Lack Of Female Character Development
My final criticism towards the film is that it’s quite shallow in its portrayal of women. Bar Selina Kyle and Leslie Thompkins, the females seem one dimensional and objectified. Sure they are prostitutes but this is the perfect platform to comment on the recent sexual harassment allegations that have been rampant in Hollywood. Women should be explored as more than stereotypes but they are limited in their portrayal.
All of the problems I had with the film are expected though and as an hour and fifteen-minute piece, the team does a brilliant job of reimagining the graphic novel.
I’m happy to say that I found Gotham By Gaslight, flawed but enjoyable. The film feels like a step in the right direction for the animated universe and there are several highlights and red herrings here that will keep you guessing throughout, even if you know the source material’s outcome. Perfectly capturing The Gotham By Gaslight aesthetic, this is a must-see for fans of The Caped Crusader. Perfectly melding together the world of Batman and Jack The Ripper it does a lot more good than it does bad. Gotham By Gaslight is definitely a movie that I will go back to down the line and that’s why I’m giving it an…
So what did you think of Batman: Gotham By Gaslight? Comment below and let me know and check out my review of the Original Graphic Novel Batman: Gotham By Gaslight here.