Saturday, January 14, 2012

Batman: Year One

Batman:  Year One is another great animated film by our friends at Warner Brothers.  I have not been able to see it until recently though it came out over three months ago.  Directed by Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery, the same duo who directed Justice League:  Crisis on Two Earths (which was awesome) and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller.

I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this one as much as other works by Warner Brothers Animation.  "Oh joy, another Batman title" is what I originally thought.  I'm happy that they've made two Green Lantern films (which are better than the movie that came out last year, by the way) but it seems like Warner Brothers isn't taking a chance with anything that doesn't have Batman in it.

This film is told from the perspective of both Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon.  You immediately see Frank Miller's film noir style of inner monologue, the kind he used a lot in Sin City.  In fact, I was reminded of Sin City while looking at the mean streets of Gotham.

I was immediately reminded also of Batman Begins with many characters and plot in which I think was borrowed for Christopher Nolan's film.  Here you'll find NO bright colors except for neon or fire.  Make no mistake, this movie is not about Batman, it's about Wayne and Gordon.  If you're expecting to see Batman fighting the Joker you're going to be mad.  This is an in-depth look to the origin of two important characters in Gotham City.  Speaking of which, we see the corruption of Gotham and that the city NEEDED both of these men; one honest cop, perhaps the last and one pissed off guy screaming for vengeance.

I love how the characters look.  In the graphic novel, they look very "sketch like" I guess one could say, incomplete.  Here they're finished and each of them have a great style and individual look.  From the sharp clean look of Bruce Wayne and even the evil Flass, to the unmade bed look of Gordon who looks like a guy who has been through a lot.  Right down to Commissioner Loeb who looks like crap.  By the way, that guy's office is tacky as hell and I think that was the point.

I'm glad they don't spend too much time on Wayne's parents.  It's a story we've heard before.  I'm glad they focused on these men and it's amazing what they go through.  You really feel for Jim Gordon, being surrounded by scum.  No WONDER he made Batman an ally.

The fight choreography, whether it be Gordon fighting off attackers in the parking garage to Wayne fighting Selena Kyle for the first time as usual is top-notch.  The animation combined with great sound-effects really bring it to life.  Good they weren't afraid to show a little blood but not too much.  Oh, and shocking that Bruce just WAILS on Kyle who matches his fighting skill punch for punch.  It was brave of the filmmakers to do such a thing.
LOVE what Gordon had to do to his scumbag partner Flass.  I found myself laughing out loud.

I was surprised that I liked this because it's normally not my cup of tea.  Usually I'm more into the Batman stories where he's fighting a super villain.  Here, his first adversary is the police department itself which makes it unique in terms of a Batman title.

This film is worth a look though it's not my favorite among the Warner Brothers Animated films.

When we've seen Batman done so many times, it's tough to come up with something new.  Here they succeed in something new and unique among Batman Titles.  Where Frank Miller gave a solid foundation with the story, the filmmakers here polish the look and feel and make it strong.

Can't wait for Justice League:  Doom.

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