Batman: Gotham Knight

Batman: Gotham Knight


Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Clearly influenced by The Matrix' spin-off vignettes The Animatrix, animated series Batman: Gotham Knight seeks to give the Caped Crusader the same treatment. Sadly, while it's a great idea and an ideal bridge between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, these six 15-minute Japanese-esque shorts disappointingly (and inevitably) fail to live up to the hype.

Despite being directed by some of Japan's most renowned animators and penned by a few respected Batman writers, the results are pretty mixed. Arguably, the best of the bunch is the David Goyer-written In Darkness Dwells, which sees the world's greatest detective track the Scarecrow (unsurprising since Goyer co-scribed Begins) while some Hans Zimmer-ish music pumps our adrenalin. Following closely behind is the finale Deadshot, which pits our hero against the titular villain.

Copy picture

Still, the other instalments are generally flat affairs that drag the whole thing down. While at least attempting to capture the flavour of Nolan's realistic bat universe, the first three - which follow kids telling stories about the Dark Knight, cops speculating over him and Lucius Fox inventing bullet-armour - all have good ideas, but too little Batman. Sitting somewhere in the middle, Working Through The Pain sees the cowl-wearing avenger wounded in the sewers, recalling how he was taught to deal with pain.

The animation varies too. Though the cityscapes are generally impressive, Bruce Wayne alternates between a girly man-boy and a floppy-haired stock anime martial artist, while Batman oscillates between a shark-like B-hero and an oval cartoon with arms. It's a particular shame as Kevin Conroy - of the award-winning Nineties animated series - provides the voice, but with the visual look here so off, it just doesn't fit. Elsewhere there's some nice saga back-story (intros to the Major Crime's Unit and Sal Maroni) but the stories would have been better with more time to breathe.

Although there's the odd cool moment, this is a big disappointment compared to what it could have been - Nolan's vision without budgetary limits. For bat-completists only.

Reviewed on: 15 Feb 2010
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Batman: Gotham Knight packshot
Six, loosely-related animated shorts set after Batman Begins.
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Director: Yasuhiro Aoki, Yuichiro Hayashi, Futoshi Higashide, Toshiyuki Kubooka, Hiroshi Morioka, Jong-Sik Nam, Shoujirou Nishimi

Writer: Bob Kane, Josh Olson, Jordan Goldberg, Greg Rucka, Brian Azzarello, Alan Burnett, David S. Goyer

Starring: Kevin Conroy, Jason Marsden, Scott Menville, George Newbern, Corey Padnos, Crystal Scales, Alanna Ubach, Hynden Walch, Corey Burton, Gary Dourdan, Jim Meskimen, Pat Musick, Ana Ortiz, Rob Paulsen, Andrea Romano

Year: 2008

Runtime: 73 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, Japan, South Korea


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Batman Begins