|Disjointed & Uneven|
This is a collection of animated stories featuring Batman with a rather strong anime influence, which makes sense considering that each story segment was done by a separate Japanese anime production company. But there is an appalling lack of cohesion and we get so many different and disjointed interpretations of Batman himself.
The first (and in my opinion, the best) story segment was “Have I Got a Story For You” was an interesting look at how a group of kids saw Gotham City’s extraordinary and enigmatic protector and each got three very different viewpoints that they interpreted. One saw him as a strange creature of the night; another as a high-tech warrior; and the third as a supernatural shadowy demon. However, I also felt that the animation was one of the poorer and least well done of the sextet of animation shorts as well. This introduction basically felt like a summary of the whole movie; a bunch of writers have come and presented to each of us their own separate views of Batman and they don’t really fit with one another all too well.
I think that each story might stand better on its own because none of the stories seem to mesh too well with the others; even the basic visual medium and character designs are different from each story to each story. We are barraged with an anthology of stories that all seem to feature Batman and his adventures but it gets simply a bit too repetitive and confusing about halfway through this movie. Probably because we have a hard time believing that this is one separate character and not six separate ones as they seem so all over the map and so different at times.
Even though DC claimed that it was six interlocking stories, I didn’t get that impression. The connection between each story is so vague and so tenuous, that there didn’t seem to be any kind of connecting thread to them at all. Unlike the Green Lantern: Emerald Knights anthology, this movie lacked an interlocking theme and the different animation styles also didn’t help either. Or they should have broken it up with a more humorous or comedic piece in the middle.
Like in Emerald Knights, they should have had a few stories that didn’t deliberately focus solely on Batman but rather the world he inhabits or Gotham City itself. One of those short stories, “Cross Fire” did just that by focusing on a pair of Gotham City cops who discuss whether or not Batman really helps or hurts Gotham and he’s not present until the very end. But that’s the only one. I thought that they should have had something maybe one story segment about the Joker since he was going to be in the Dark Knight movie, maybe as simple foreshadowing at the very least.
Instead, we get story after story about Batman. We get one where he is field testing a high-tech magnetic shield and yet another which shows us his training to ignore pain; and in between he also fights a fear inducing psychopath and a master assassin. And the last two don’t really have any sort of drama or character development in my opinion and are simply there to make Batman look as sleek and badass as possible and they did have some of the better animation pieces compared to the rest.
Gotham Knight is a celebration of Batman but it’s simply too wildly interpretative in my opinion. As I mentioned before some of the stories are very good in quality while others are sadly lacking; some of them are wildly imaginative of Batman; others are exceptionally excellent in terms of animation and special effects. But none of them have all of those qualities all together. To me, I felt that I was left to decide how each segment was going to let me down.
One of the few unifying themes was that they actually decided to have the same voice actor, Kevin Conroy as Batman throughout the separate story segments. Thankfully because even they must have thought it would be just too confusing for the viewers; but also Conroy continues to be one of the best voices of Batman that I have heard and his portrayal continues to be excellent.
But I simply could not stand the shoddy unevenness of this film. It’s just too all over the map for my tastes, it just felt as though DC wasn’t really trying to make a good Batman feature but felt obligated to try and boost awareness of the forthcoming Dark Knight film.
RATING: 1 STAR.