I love The Batman. I’ve read the comics, played the games, watched the movies, and loved the cartoon (the one from the 90s on Saturday mornings). I think I might’ve even eaten the shaped spaghetti pieces…
When WB announced that they were making a series centred around James Gordon, before he became commissioner and chief ally of The Dark Knight, I was curious, and a little wary. What is The Batman without The Bat? What is Gotham city without his adversaries? It was this wariness that I felt when I watched the first episode of Gotham today.
There are plenty of moments that’ll give a Batman fan a grin, from a brilliant translation into live action life of Harvey Bullock, played by the suitably dour Donal Logue, to several other cameos such as Catwoman (or in this series, more like Kittengirl), Carmine Falcone, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and what I suspect will be the beginning of a weekly game of “is that going to be The Joker?”. I particularly enjoyed Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald ‘don’t call me Penguin’ Cobblepot, with his slimy, almost perma-nervous energy giving him an slightly dangerous edge… He would’ve made a pretty good Joker…
There were several characters I remain unsure of, and some I just don’t like. Jim Gordon seems very one-dimensional at the moment as the only honest cop, etc. The man might as well be wearing a white hat, tin star and a couple of silver six-shooters, if they wanted to make it plainer. Here’s hoping as the episodes continue, the writer’s will put some meat on his bones so we can engage with him more.
Alfred. The backbone of The Batman in many ways, should have been ably performed by the usually excelleny Sean Pertwee, but I felt ultimately let down, as I compared him to previous incarnations played by Michael Gough and Michael Caine (As a sidenote, I’m interested to see how Jeremy Irons plays out in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). One of the things I loved about Caine’s version of Alfred was how he would slip from a very prim and proper received pronunciation English, to a very warm and more human cockney accent as his concern or love for Bruce Wayne shone through. With Gotham’s incarnation, it just seems that there’s been a cockney ragamuffin bundled into a suit. He just doesn’t seem to be the butler type.
So onto the one scene that does need to be addressed. Once again we yet again see the defining moment in Bruce Wayne’s life. The mugging and murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. For me, this has been done over and over again to the point of this being now so unnecessary, that I actually chuckled to the overdone screams of anguish from young Bruce as he knelt beside his slain parents. Come on guys, we really don’t need to see it anymore… I think everyone in the western hemisphere and beyond knows how Bruce became Bats!!
In summary, is was OK. Aside from a few nods to the Batman universe, this would be yet another procedural cop show alongside all the other CSIs, NCISs, Castles and all the rest. Here’s hoping it becomes something more than that. It certainly has the chance to become something great, despite this lackadaisical start.