Released this week, this animated collection features six Batman stories in continuity with the current film series.
Title: Batman: Gotham Knight
Cast, Crew, and Other Info:
Director and writers: various.
Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne
David McCallum as Alfred Pennysworth
Kevin Michael Richardson as Lucius Fox
Jim Meskimen as James Gordon, Deadshot, and others.
Ana Ortiz as Detective Ramirez
Corey Burton as The Scarecrow, others
George Newbern as Killer Croc, others
Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb.
“Have I Got a Story for You” presents a street-level, kids’-eye view of Batman. He’s not yet well-known, and each member of a youthful group tells a different story about encountering the Dark Knight. One imagines him as a kind of phantom. Another believes he’s literally half-bat. The stories feature metafictional interruptions and admissions of artistic license on the part of the tellers. Eventually, the kids find themselves involved in Batman’s latest case, and we get a hint as to why Batman will eventually take on a crime-fighting partner.
“Deadshot” will probably most please mainstream fans. It does a decent job of pitting Batman against a dangerous villain in the kind of conflict one expects the character to have.
“In Darkness Dwells” features both Scarecrow and Killer Croc. It’s not a bad story, but it requires more time with its characters. It also features an escape that, even by comic-book standards, is ludicrously far-fetched.
Originality: 3/6. Batman certainly isn’t new to the screen and neither are most of the basic stories being told. Still, the film contains some comparatively original takes and twists.
Animation: 4/6. This varies throughout the film, as each vignette has been animated in its own style. “Field Test” features the most jarring clash of techniques, although this is present elsewhere. The final two stories give us the most familiar view of Batman. Several of the stories give us visually interesting views of Gotham City.
Story: 4/6: The range in quality here is striking. The best will interest fans. “Walking Through Pain” explains (in part) what Bruce Wayne was doing between the time he left Gotham in Batman Begins and the time we catch up to him in an Asian prison. “Crossfire” shows us the Gotham police and their attitudes towards their newfound help.
Voice Acting: 4/6
Emotional Response: 4/6.
In total, Gotham Knight receives 28/42.
One of the added features is a behind-the-scenes promo for the forthcoming Wonder Woman film. No, not the live action one. That remains in pre-production limbo. This is an animated feature due out next year, and it looks pretty good.