When I read what the deal with Batman: Gotham Knight was, I was prepared for it be kind of slow going. A series of shorts meant to bridge the time gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, thought not quite in continuity with those films and all done in different anime styles.
There are like five or six things in that description that just do not work for me in concept, but I’m always open to being surprised. My first thought was that it would probably be pretty dull. I love Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. But their style does not really lend itself to animation. They’re slow, and gritty and dark. They hinge in big ways on the exceptional performances and characterizations of their casts. While Gotham Knight is a cool experiment in story telling, and brings back Kevin Conroy, it’s still well, difficult in a lot of ways.
It is pretty dull. Especially compared to Doomsday and New Frontier. Maybe I’ve watched too much Batman in the past two years, but I found most of the action predictable. The character models, of course being anime style weren’t to my taste, thought they were very cool to look at. In the middle shorts “Field Test,” “In Darkness Dwells,” and “Working Through The Pain,” we see pretty much animated interpretations of Christian Bale. Hearing Conroy voice Bale? It’s confusing. Also, I just watched Swing Kids, and I’m not loving Christian right now. (He’s awesome in that movie but he plays a Nazi.)
The settings and animations for all four shorts are exceptional. They capture the scope of Nolan’s Gotham (A city so big that it’s New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh all in one!) and it’s rotting gothic feel. The first short, “Have I Got a Story For You,” is about a group of kids telling their, “I’ve seen Batman” stories. It’s a fun plot device, but isn’t done as well here as in “Legends of The Dark Knight,” a particularly killer B:TAS episode. If you’re going to take on the same subject matter as B:TAS you better either twist it enough that you’re doing something new, or knock it out of the park. This does neither.
The second short “Crossfire” introduces Detective Anna Ramirez, who will go on to sell Gordon and Rachel Dawes out to the Joker, but here she’s just a good cop, trying to convince her partner that Batman is one of the good guys. There’s some decent explosions, and we see hints of the gang war that the cops are trying to quell.
“Field Test” is about a new gadget that Lucius Fox gives Batman. It’s fun, and cute, and totally weirded me out due to the whole Bale/Conroy division. I know I’m harping on this. I just really, can’t deal with it. It broke my brain a little.
Anyway, it was better than I expected, it was nice to hear Conroy again, there we go. Up next is Wonder Woman. I’m excited, and I should get it in soon, because it’s on Amazon Prime. Hooray!