Batman: Year One is the best DC animated film I’ve ever seen. The original source material is represented faithfully and brought to life in a wonderful way. Year One is nearly sublime and I dare you to watch it and not drop your jaw a time or two.
Bruce Wayne is returning to Gotham after a 12 year absence while a young James Gordon is hired by Gotham. One of the best things about Year One is that you see the lives of both these men unfold together. Bruce Wayne isn’t the fear inspiring Dark Knight yet, but a rookie beginner that nearly gets his ass kicked during his first moment as Batman. Gordon joins an obviously corrupt police department and his integrity isn’t welcome. He struggles with infidelity while Barbara is pregnant, while battling crime lords, mob bosses, and his own police force.
Benjamin McKenzie as Bruce Wayne/Batman can get a little tiring at times. He sounds very unsure of himself, which I realize is his position in Year One, but he sounds like he is reading his lines vs acting. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) however, Cranston delivers a perfect younger Gordon. The added character of Selena Kyle is essential to a true representation of the comic, but not required in my opinion.
Year One clocks in at 64 minutes. It can feel a little rushed towards the end. I would have preferred a 90 minute version, but it still flows quite well. Batman’s disembodied narrative adds to the noir feel of the film. Let’s face it, animated Batman films set in winter are the film equivalent of milk to cookies. Even the mundane is beautifully captured. The creative team behind this were spot on.
If you don’t cheer at the end when Bruce saves Gordon’s baby and their mutual trust and alliance are formed, then maybe comics aren’t your thing. All in all, this is destined to be a standard Blu Ray addition for any nerd home.