Weekend Review: Batman: Year One

Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s groundbreaking graphic novel has influenced the mainstream movie adapatations of Batman and in 2011, the original appeared as an animated film.

Title: Batman: Year One

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery
Written by Tab Murphy from the graphic novel by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.

Ben McKenzie as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon
Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Jon Polito as Commissioner Loeb
Alex Rocco as Carmine Falcone
Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Essen
Jeff Bennett as Alfred Pennysworth
Fred Tatasciore as Flass
Liliana Mumy as Holly Robinson
Grey DeLisle as Barbara Gordon and Vicki Vale
Keith Ferguson as Jefferson Skeevers
Robin Atkin Downes as Harvey Dent

Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb.


Bruce Wayne returns from years of training and takes on the identity of Batman in order to rid Gotham City of crime and corruption. We also follow the equally-difficult rise of James Gordon, honest cop, and see Selina Kyle become Catwoman.

High Points:

I like this slightly less hyperbolic version of Batman. The new hero stumbles, and he relies less heavily on expensive gadget. Frank Miller’s work has been uneven, over the years, but I’ve always considered Year One a definitive take on Batman, and I was pleased to see this adaptation.

Low Point:

The narration and dialogue, which tended to the overwrought in the source material, becomes unnecessarily so in a motion picture. Much of the narration could have been trimmed without affecting the story at all.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 This is a late-arriving, fairly literal adaptation of an existing graphic novel, and its source drew heavily on established characters and history. Some parts of the story have been abridged; action sequences have been extended.

Animation: 5/6 Overall, they did a reasonably good job of mixing conventional and computer animation. Even the cheat—a zoom out from an unmoving still in one scene— did not seem especially out of place.

Story: 5/6 The story remains strong, if fragmented. In this slightly truncated account, however, Selina seems even more of a loose end.

Voice Acting: 5/6 The cast do reasonably well with the occasionally overwrought dialogue and narration, but I found some of the performances uneven. Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle is inspired casting.

Production: 5/6. The film features excellent music and a very faithful adaptation of the source material.

Emotional Response: 4/6.

Overall: 5/6

In total, Batman: Year One receives 30/42.

Special Feature

The video also features a short film starring Catwoman. It works well as a story, but I found the protracted, pandering strip-sequence a little silly. Did someone order fan service?

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