This is a Batman movie unlike any other! A lot of the animated Batman movies aren’t always so great, but sometimes a gem comes along to brighten my movie viewing experiences. I don’t think I’ve been so in love with a Batman animation since “Return of the Joker”. Don’t get me wrong, “Mask of the Phantasm” is an excellent movie too, but that came first.
Based on the 1989 comic by the same name, “Gotham by Gaslight” is an intriguing story that grabs your interest and doesn’t let go until it’s over. It has violence, blood, romance, and a twist!
The story takes place in Gotham City, 1889. Bruce Wayne is still a wealthy man that is well respected in Gotham, and we see many of the villains that we know and love living their lives in the past. However, it’s a little different. No one seems to have any real super powers. It’s quite shocking who dies early on in the movie, it’s someone you would expect to be able to defend themselves. Without their powers, that’s simply not the case.
There are actually several deaths in this movie. It’s bloody, but not too over the top. Old timey Batman finds himself facing off with Jack the Ripper, and it is AWESOME.
The battle scenes are mesmerizing. The animation and movement of the characters in battle is smooth and well done. Batman actually takes damage in his fight, and keeps those scars. Instead of when we’ve seen him fight before in previous animations and he would take a punch but seem no more than stunned for a moment as a result. Jack the Ripper is rather knife-happy, and we see Batman get cut up and leave the fight weakened, it almost shows us another side of Batman by having him endure that. He is just so much more human (than nearly immortal-like) in this one. There’s a scene where Batman took some heavy damage during a fight, and he’s lost his mask. The police show up and he’s trying to run from them to hide his identity. How often do we see a truly vulnerable Batman when the situation doesn’t have to do with his tragic backstory outside of a theater?
Batman and Catwoman get close in this one, and knowing their chemistry, it is fiery. It was kind of nice to see them get more acquainted on the screen, for once, rather than make things awkward with oodles of sexual tension in their banter.
The art style, I wasn’t too into it at first, but after a while, it grew on me. If there is one thing I would need to complain about,, it would be the mouth movement animation. I noticed in the credits that it’s mostly animated by people who probably do not have English as a first language.However, I’ve seen plenty of other animations produced in foreign companies like “Legend of Korra” made to be in English, and the mouth movements matched far better, so there’s just no excuse there.
There were some very interesting choice made in the roles of the previously established Batman characters. For example: they made Barbara Gordon Commissioner Gordon’s wife. It’s super weird, especially since we’ve always known her as his daughter. The identity of the villain is quite a refreshing surprise, I didn’t see it coming at all until near the end. Poison Ivy is a whore, Catwoman is a suffragist, and Hugo strange is still a doctor. I thought that these were very interesting and very fitting places to put these characters into.
If you love a good animated Batman movie, “GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT” is sure to be a wonderful addition to your collection! Out now on Blu-ray and stream on demand!