I watched Batman: Gotham Knight last night. This is the third movie in the recent trend of straight-to-DVD animated features from DC Comics and Warner Brothers. This is how I would rate the movies thus far:
-Superman: Doomsday – Only ok. However, it was at least better than Superman Returns (but seriously, what wasn’t?)
-Justice League: New Frontier – Better
-Batman: Gotham Knight – AWESOME
The movie is broken up into 6 stories, each drawn by different animators, which are self contained yet interconnected:
-Have I Got A Story for You
-In Darkness Dwells
-Working Through Pain
Timeline wise, the film falls after Batman Begins and before the upcoming The Dark Knight. The 6 stories are in chronological order, as this is not a Tarantino movie, and bring together a film in which Gotham City is still trying to get used to a vigilante in a Bat costume and Bruce Wayne is getting used to being Batman. Therefore these stories represent different aspects of Batman: how Gothamites view him, how the police view him, and how he views himself.
Although it does tie in with the two live action films, don’t look at this animated film as a method the production studios can capitalize on the attention Batman is getting with the upcoming feature film. There is an emphasis on quality storytelling here and combined with the stellar animation that utilizes the Japanese anime style, Batman: Gotham Knight is easily on par with Batman Begins and the upcoming The Dark Knight, which is already drawing raves.
As an aside, I was a bit distracted while watching the first story because its plot was the same as an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in which Gotham City kids talk about their stories of Batman. In the episode, each kid’s account was wildly different and conflicted with each other. Before I could pat myself on the back for making the connection, I found out that this particular episode, Legends of the Dark Knight, is included on the special edition DVD.
By the way, this doesn’t mean that I have lost my love for Superman who still ranks as my favorite superhero. I’m still allowed to appreciate Batman, especially because this character always seems to have the best animated series and movies connected to him. I have to admit though, in my mind Kevin Conroy is Batman so when he doesn’t provide the voice acting, as he doesn’t in WB’s The Batman, I won’t bother watching it. However, everything else has almost consistently been great (ok, maybe not Batman: Sub Zero as much but even that was still pretty good).
Until next time (which I believe is Wonder Woman)…