Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) Review

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Rather than call Gotham Knight a movie, it is instead a collection of anime inspired animated stories which piggyback on the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. The tones are uneven, the stories random and the animation varying in success. There are some interesting points here but it feels very throwaway in it’s style and clearly more of a cash-in than a serious addition to the Batman canon.

That doesn’t mean the movie isn’t without it’s merits. There is some inventive stuff here and it manages to delve into some interesting aspects of the Batman lore. The first short covers kids telling stories of the same sprawling event from different perspective. It is a good look at how one man can be many different things to different people, from monster to spirit. Another looks at the way technology helps Batman do his job, even if that technology could be dangerous to others. There is also an attempt to look deeper into the psyche of Batman/Bruce Wayne after the hero has a run in with Scarecrow. Some inventive ideas but all slightly too shallow to be considered really effective.

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Some animation and ideas are inventive and unique

With it being a collection of shorts, there are also a few dud tales too. This being a tie-in to the Nolan Batman universe, some villains were clearly off-limits, in particular a certain clown, so Batman faces minor league villains instead with varying levels of success. Some die-hard Bat-Fans may get a kick-out of a Deadshot or a Killer Croc but they will do little to inspire others who are more casual fans.

Alongside the varying quality in story comes varying quality in animation too. Some of it looks messy, rushed and incomplete while others capture Batman in a more experimental and bizarre way. Like anything artistic, animation is subjective but at times I thought it took you out of the story, particularly one tied so closely to a more serious and realistic universe like Nolan’s.

Overall, Batman: Gotham Knight is a good idea done in a mediocre fashion. It has key moments which show innovative thinking and cool ideas but these are never delved into properly. Instead we get a cash-in collection of animations which won’t interest anyone but the die-hard Bat-fans.

Rating – 3

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

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A mixed-bag of Bat-success

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