Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is an alternative look at Batman in Victorian-era Gotham. This is a very interesting concept and based on the graphic novel by Mike Mignola released back in 1989. It is also a really good adaption of a 48-page graphic novel and probably one of the best animated Batman movies to be released in the last few years. With the exception of the ‘The Killing Joke’ of course. DC has had a good run of animated movies for Batman recently and these have also really appealed to the mature fans of the franchise as these films are much more mature and Gotham By Gaslight is no exception. This is definitely not a film for children and has lots of mature content that might not be suitable for children. Unless you are a cool parent and allow your kid to see these types of movies.
The general premise of the film is as straightforward as you would expect a Gotham Victorian styled movie would be. As Batman obviously fights crime and the biggest crime of the Victorian era is the Jack The Ripper case and that is what the film centers around. It is an intriguing film and it is not easy to work out who the Ripper is. Even Batman the worlds greatest detective has moments where he doesn’t seem to know what is going on. The best part of the film for me is that there is a lot of the typical Batman villains and they are not as integral to the plot as you would initially think.
The animation is really good and captures the darkness and dankness of the 1800’s and especially the grittiness of the Victorian era. The performance from Bruce Greenwood (Gerald’s Game) as Batman/Bruce Wayne is impressive and being Bruce’s third time voicing Batman it shows how comfortable he is in the role. Another stellar performance in this film is Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) as Selena Kyle. The brief time their characters share on screen does express a great deal of chemistry despite being an animated film. The film was captivating and made me really want a live action version of Gotham By Gaslight. I only wish that it would be closer to the Christopher Nolan style of Batman films not the Zack Snyder version of Batman films.
The only issues I had with the film is that it feels very short despite being an hour and 18 minutes. It feels as though they could have added more into the film and maybe even expanded the
world of the alternative version of Batman. Another gripe I have with the film is that this version of Batman does not seem to be as awesome as the actual Batman. From his lack of modern technology, detective skills and the fact he gets his arse kicked a great deal more than he should. My only other complaint is that the film doesn’t feel as though there is a sufficient amount of resolution at the end. I understand that may have been done intentionally to leave it open-ended for the viewer but it honestly just annoyed me as there is a lot of simple questions that could have been answered in maybe 10 extra minutes. However, if your biggest complaint is you wish there was more than that is hardly a bad thing.
Overall this is a fun film and worth your time. Even if you are not that big of a Batman fan this is a fun film as it does not feel like a tradition Batman flick. Although it does not have an overly great conclusion the viewing experience is top notch and the performances are excellent and refined. I highly recommend you visit this Victorian styled Gotham. Just don’t walk the streets at night.