Hey gang, Valkor here. I don’t get the DC/WB combo as far as how they handle their film and television projects; on the one hand, they have amazing small screen offerings, featuring more hits than misses. But when it comes to the big screen stuff, it’s they've barely hit the mark. But at least the stuff we’re getting on the small screen is killer and that trend continues with their latest animated outing – Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which is based on the comic of the same name. And this one is a definite hit! And beware of some minor spoilers ahead!
"Gotham by Gaslight" takes the Batverse into an alternate universe where we see a Victorian-era Gotham that’s plagued by the serial killer Jack the Ripper. And the dude has a fondness for slicing up destitute women, which the film pushes the envelope on the gore. It doesn’t get truly bloody, but it does go there in a few scenes that might be a bit squeamish for most who are used to tamer Batverse (such as myself). Thankfully, Gotham isn’t without its protector. Yet, even the Bat is having a hard time tracking down this villainous scum. Fortunately, he’s not alone in his efforts as Selina Kyle comes through here and there with her first attempt at tracking down Jack nearly ends with her death until Batman shows up to save her neck. However, the pieces eventually come together and Jack’s true identity is revealed, ending with a face-off I thought I’d never see on any screen!
I’ve never read Gotham by Gaslight, but DC/WB’s efforts to translate the comics to the animated screen, thus far, have been big hits with me. While “Son of Batman” wasn’t the “Court of Owls” I was expecting, and "The Killing Joke” has that awful tacked on first 30 minutes, I find films such as “Batman: Year One” and "The Dark Knight Returns” to be the animated offerings fans deserves. So how does Gotham by Gaslight rank by comparison?
"Gotham by Gaslight" takes a more serious tone than what I’m used to when watching a Batman film; the character was always dark, but usually the animated films are much more “fun” even at its most serious. This isn’t a negative for Gotham by Gaslight as the film plays out more like a slasher horror film, complete with brutal slicing and dicing of victims, which makes the film wicked entertaining. What I liked most about the film is how Bruce Wayne is given more shine, getting to show off some of those detective skills, plus be the roundabout playboy that mask his true Bat identity. Also, Selina Kyle is given a bit more attention too as she gets to show off more of her sexy style, which matches her modern-day Catwoman persona. And as for Batman, well he plays out more like a background character (such as in Assault on Gotham); thankfully, he’s still there when he’s needed, which is the action scenes. And there are some great scenes to check out! I was expecting to see more in terms of Victorian-age weaponry. But given the limitations of that era, I can see how the character needed to focus more on his fighting chops rather than his toys. DC/WB continue to push the envelope in terms of how much violence is depicted in their films; even though they’re working with Jack the Ripper, I was expecting the film to be toned down. However, they really go there making this film a worthy addition to any horror film rotation. Finally, I have to give a couple of nods to the voice acting; Bruce Greenwood, while not new to the animated cowl, was an excellent choice for the film. I think I’ve only ever known him as the voice of Batman, but he has a hint of early "Batman: The Animated" series Kevin Conroy in his Bruce Wayne. And while Jennifer Carpenter isn’t new to voicing a sexy femme fatale (she plays Black Widow in “Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher”), in this film she does a fine job of portraying a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man – except a Batman, to get by. In the end, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is a worth addition into DC/WB’s animated offerings and one that if you haven’t seen yet, you should definitely pick up a copy!
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is available now on digital formats, Blu Ray combo pack, and even 4K Ultra HD! But no matter what format you choose, you’ll still be in for one hell of a good time! I highly recommend it. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Batman: Gotham by Gaslight a 4.5.