Batman: Year One

Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery (2011)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku
Find it: IMDB

They really should have called it Jim Gordon: Year One. Batman Begins all over again in this adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book of the same name. I didn't particularly need to see yet another retelling of the tale of Batman's formative years, but Frank Miller's is pretty much the definitive version, so why not.

Mostly though, it's about honest cop James Gordon and his arrival in a city full of bent coppers, criminals and scumbags. You might not ever see his face, but Bryan Cranston delivers a perfect Commissioner Gordon performance. I had thought that Gary Oldman was good in the Dark Knight films, but Cranston blows that out of the water. When they inevitably get around to rebooting live-action Batman, they had better cast Cranston as Gordon. Also: piss off, I don't want to watch a John Blake Batman film.

Full disclosure: I am one of those twattocks who goes on about how good Breaking Bad is all the time. I fucking love Breaking Bad. Who would have thought that Malcolm in the Middle's Dad would turn out to be one of my favourite actors ever? (more full disclosure: me). He sounds exactly as I've always imagined Jim Gordon would sound. Fullest disclosure: Total Recall is still shit though, and Cranston is shit in it too.

What with Gary Oldman and Bryan Cranston, it's nice to see Commissioner Gordon get his dues. I love Tim Burton's Batman films as much (more) as any child of the 80s, but fuck Pat Hingle and his comedy incompetence.  Ben McKenzie's Batman sounds too young for my liking, but even the Dark Knight gotta star somewhere, eh? The animation is very nice - quite similar to David Mazzucchelli's artwork, from the comic book itself.

The biggest problem the film has is with its own redundancy. A lot of this material was covered in Batman Begins. Still, it does have that bit in which Batman punches a bent cop through a wall for shooting at a cat. For that alone, Year One is well worth a punt.

1 comment:

  1. Good review. Totally agree with you about Bryan Cranston. I personally don't mind revisiting Batman's origins at all, as the final Nolan film, while good, left a bad taste in my mouth. Then there's "The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" which, in my opinion was the best Batman film this year (good review there as well, sir), so all is right again in the Batman universe...we'll see how they reboot him for "The Justice League", however.