Friday, February 9, 2018

"Batman: Gotham by Gaslight" First Thoughts


Gotham by Gaslight has always intrigued me. While it's not my favorite Batman story the world and concept was always interesting to me, an industrial revolution era version of Batman trying to solve the Jack the Ripper murder is just full of possibilitys. So when this animated movie was announced It was probably the most excited I've been for one of these direct to DVD Batman Movie since Killing Joke, maybe even since Year One, and I think it simultaneously holds up to and completely destroys my expectations.

I suppose you are wondering what I mean by that? Well while I did enjoy the movie it changed alot of things from the book. In fact despite the aesthetic and some story beats it's completely different. However that isn't really a bad thing and I think it stands on it's own. First off it would seem that alot of people have a problem with the way the film looks but it didn't really bother me, it did kind of remind me of Spectacular Spider-Man though. One problem I did have though was the cameos. In the book it used the references to the regular Batman characters very sparingly however in this everyone is somebody from the comics.

I really liked Bruce Greenwood as Batman. Plus like in the comics I love his costume, the Batman with a Duster cape just looks awesome. I also liked Jennifer Carpenter as Selina Kyle, I liked her being the champion of the downtrodden and her relationship with Bruce is one of the more believable I've seen. Plus I love that she gives no f*cks about Bruce Wayne's secret identity, if telling the police that he's Batman will get him out of jail and save peoples lives she's going to tell them. Iris West on the Flash TV Show could learn a thing from her. I would also like to mention Harvey Dent voiced by Yuri Lowenthal as the District Attorney who becomes a Misogynistic asshole when he's drinking as the obvious Red Herring. They set it up like he's The Ripper but he's obviously not since he was passed out drunk while the Ripper was killing Sister Leslie.

So now it's time to talk about Jack the Ripper. Now I'm going to give an extra Spoiler Warning here because this is a mystery and I'm going to Spoil who the killer is. So for those who have not read the book, it's revealed that the Killer is Bruce's Uncle Jake who also had his parents killed. Halfway threw this movie it's obvious that isn't the direction they were going with this, which I'll be honest made me worry a bit. I was worried that it would just be some guy or turn out to be The Joker or something stupid like that. However I apparently didn't give them enough credit.

So after Batman escapes from jail he goes to stop Selina from telling Commissioner Gordon that he's Batman and while he's in Gordon's house he finds a secret room full of surgical equipment. Then Gordon's wife Barbra goes full Yandere on Batman revealing that Gordon scarred her really bad cementing the fact that Gordon is Jack the Ripper. Now I know some people might not like this twist since there making Commissioner Gordon a bad guy however I love it. I really didn't see it coming and there were enough hints not to make it come out of nowhere but also not make it obvious. Plus watching it a second time you realize you never see the scarred side of Barbra's face, during the entire movie the left side of her face is always facing away from the camera. This movie was okay but after this twist it is amazing.

I also wanted to mention the fight scenes were great. Specifically the one in butcher shop between Batman, Selina Kyle, and Jack the Ripper as well as the final fight between Batman and Jack the Ripper on a burning Ferris wheel. In fact the movie ends with a very well animated scene of Batman and Selina fleeing with Alfred and the Orphans (Named after the first three Robins) on Horse Drawn Carriage as the entire World Fair burns to the ground. Overall I really enjoyed this movie. I'm really interested in if other people liked this the same way I did or hated it. Only time will tell but I think this will be remembered as one of the better DC Direct to DVD movies.

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