Saturday, 5 October 2013

Batman: Year One movie review

Batman: Year One is a 2011 animated adaptation of the 1987 comic of the same name and is the 12th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. Year One is among my favorite Batman story lines, so I was interested to see what a movie based on it would be like, and thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
Fans of the story line will be pleased to know that the content of the book has not been toned down for this adaptation. Put simply, this isn't a kids movie and it's all the better for it (even if it does still manage to get a 12 rating). The book wasn't that adult to begin with anyway, but all the grittiness and violence has remained intact on the journey from page to screen.

The film is based on a four issue story arc which chronicles the early days of Batman's career from his arrival back in Gotham after training around the world to him donning the Bat suit, terrorizing the underworld and becoming the stuff of legend to the citizens of Gotham.
The film also has a major focus on Lt. Gordon who has just moved to Gotham along with his pregnant wife, Barbara. His story arc focuses on him trying to stick to his morals when surrounded by the city's corrupt cops and his first experiences with the Batman.
Catwoman makes a few appearances and although her presence doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things, she is still a fun and interesting character.

Visually, the film is traditionally animated with a few computer generated effects (snow etc.) and looks great. The film does not utilize the book's unique art style but this choice is likely for the best as I can't imagine that particular style looking too good on the screen.

The comic is followed very closely meaning that there wont be any surprises for Year One veterans but the fantastic story line means that the film manages to remain engaging throughout. One downside of this fact is that being closely based on a four issue series will result in a short run time and Batman Year One clocks in at a minuscule 64 minutes. However, this fact didn't bother me and is a minor gripe considering how good the film is overall.

This was my first time watching one of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and I was very impressed overall. I purchased this film as part of a DVD set (left) which also included four other animated Batman movies, so look out for my reviews of those films in the near future.

If you're a fan of Batman I would say don't pass up any opportunity to watch this film unless you've read Year One so many times that you're sick of it, but then again, I can't see why that would happen to anyone!

Rating: ****

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