Batman: Gotham Knight - DVD Review

'it’s fantastic to see Batman in all the various ways we know he has been interpreted by the fictional denizens of Gotham over the years'

Batman: Gotham Knight is similar in many ways to the Animatrix. Taking six different Directors, Warner Bros gave them around 10 minutes to come up with a short animation of what could have happened in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

When I reviewed Persepolis a few weeks back I started to question animation as a genre. Yeah it’s fun and second to none for films like Kung-Fu Panda but for lifelike events and more hard-hitting storylines (obviously Batman now falls into the second of these categories) I don’t think it’s any comparison to live action. However, in Gotham Knight, it is.

Animation proves the perfect medium for these hypothetical takes on the Batman mythos and ensures fanboys won’t get riled up with the change in direction from the films nor the non-comic events you witness as you move through the episodes.

The first episode, Have I Got a Story for You, is the standout and serves as a nice metaphor for the entire project. Three kids on their way to meet a friend at a skate-park each encounter Batman in different ways and locations which alter how they perceive him. When they get to the park they relate their stories back to their buddy and the audience get to see their perceptions of the new superhero. It’s fantastic to see Batman in all the various ways we know he has been interpreted by the fictional denizens of Gotham over the years and does genuinely influence how you ‘read’ the remaining five episodes.

Of the other episodes Deadshot and In Darkness Dwells are also entertaining whilst Crossfire suffers from a predictable story and lack of focus on the main character. There are also other weaknesses about the place. The voice acting certainly has low moments when actors simply don’t fit their character and/or produce flat, lifeless deliveries. With it being a mainly Japanese produced anime there are also a couple of too-young, anime-styled Batmen/Bruce Waynes, particularly in Working Through The Pain, which just didn’t work for me.

In all though Gotham Knight is well worth a watch as a genuine adage to the franchise, rather than a mere curiosity. The stories all at least attempt to build something on to the experiences we had in Begins and Dark Knight and produce some interesting ideas and theories which true fans won’t want to miss. Well worth a rental or a Christmas present for a Bat obsessed loved one!

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