Right off the bat (no pun intended), I will fully admit that I am not the biggest Batman fan. He isn’t my favorite for a variety of reasons. However, I don’t detest him and I have read quite a bit of the lore due the sterling influence of my wife (although Cap is slowly digging his shield in further…yay!). I think that Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is superb filmmaking and perhaps the best rendition of the Caped Crusader to date, and if the UK’s Rocksteady has any say in my video game habits I will (once again) be purchasing the CE of next June’s Batman Arkham Knight and blitzing through a spectacular campaign and all-around awesome game.
Nevertheless…I digress, my hate/love relationship with Batman is rather moot, considering that Fox’s Gotham is the Bat media in relative question. I was trepidatious about the whole affair. I felt that the media gurus at DC and Fox were pushing for something that couldn’t be successful. It was announced early on that none of the DC properties would relate, so there was no hope for an Arrow crossover or any bleed through to the films, and the castings are mostly unknowns…and comparatively young— Taking a page from the casting news of Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot, releasing 2015.
If I was going to watch Gotham I wanted Batman, not boy Wayne and the teen villain brigade. However, what I did not expect…happened. Instead of focusing on Bruce Wayne and the Batman, Gotham focuses on a young (not yet, Commissioner) Gordon and the exploits of the Gotham Police Department. Throughout the GCDP’s ongoings and happenings audiences are privy to a plethora of Gotham City easter eggs. This was a pleasant surprise because it takes a well-worn and critically acclaimed page from Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One (1987).
We get to see Poison Ivy as a girl, Catwoman as a thieving teenager, the Penguin as a conniving subordinate, a young comedian yet touched by chemicals, and a host of other side characters in the Gotham universe. It is quite interesting, and I found myself giddy guessing who was whom and how their futures would eventually intertwine within Gotham.
Ben McKenzie plays a fantastic young, Detective Gordon. His voice is just gravely enough, and he plays the part of the outsider trying to do good in a corrupt city. The show primarily follows Gordon and his partner, Harvey Bullock (played by the talented Donal Logue). The pilot starts out strong and in manner that I did not expect— It was almost surprising. Throughout the pilot’s plot (a murder investigation), Gotham sets the tone, mannerisms, and host of characters to be fleshed out in future episodes and seasons.
The only downfall to Gotham is that it seems geared to fans who know a little bit more about the comic book lore and healthy does of knowledge concerning all of the nuanced characters of Gotham and how they relate. This is great for an old school comic book fan like myself, but in inquiry I found that quite a few people found the show corny at moments and not as cohesive as Arrow, or its older, quality counterpart, Smallville. More often than not, these individuals are willing to give the show a couple more episodes to see if they’ll warm up to it, but the general consensus is that was good but not great like comic book fans are making it out to be.
Nevertheless, I am willing to give it more time to come into its own. It hooked this anti-Batman fan, and I am curious to see if Gotham can be groundbreaking or not— Time will tell. Check back here next week for a recap of the second episode of Gotham airing on Fox on Mondays at 8/7c.