Industrial Heroics - Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
DC Animated films takes an interesting stroll down an Elsworlds path in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, taking our favorite caped crusader to a time before computers and atomic powered cars. Set during the industrial revolution, despite Gotham ambitiously growing to the height of its decadence a menace plagues the streets at night. Jack the Ripper, the famed serial-killer who slaughtered female prostitutes in London's East End, turns his sights to Gotham to continue his bloody rain of terror. Not content to let a killer run loose in his city, Bruce Wayne dons the cowl to track down this madman before anyone else can be a victim.
Just as much a Batman story, Selina Kyle plays a major role in this tale. Here she doesn't don her signature feline-themed garb but the lady still wields a whip and is just as agile as one would expect from Catwoman. Other familiar faces show up like Harvey Dent, James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and a quick little cameo from Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake working together like a gang of orphans robbing rich folk for pocket change.
Thematically, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight retains much of what you'd expect from a Batman story. Death-defying thrills, an intriguing “who-dun-it” story, and a good amount of twists. I liked how the story didn't rely too heavily on putting Batman front and center. Selina Kyle played just as integral a role to the narrative as Batman did. Since Jack the Ripper is slaughtering ladies of the night in Gotham, Selina makes it her personal responsibility to defend the women that society deem unworthy of protection. She's a strong character and up until the final climax where she ends up a damsel in distress, she's the best thing going for this adaptation. I just wish I could have said the same thing about Batman.
As a die-hard Batman fan, this was by far the most boring Batman adventure I've ever watched. I have read Gotham by Gaslight but this animated film takes the original comic in name and adversary only. Despite some amazing action sequences, Gotham by Gaslight ends up slogging along at some points. If it wasn't for Selina Kyle and the surprise twist ending when they revealed Jack's identity... I would have tossed this aside.
Speaking of the twist, I won't spoil it here but what Batman: Gotham by Gaslight achieves in its twist is something I did not expect going in. I was genuinely surprised by it and honestly it served as the best part of film. Despite that all, much of it was boring and I feel like with the limited runtime these DC animated pictures get, the minutes could have been better utilized.
A solid picture, it doesn't take too many risks and gives the viewers a clear look into what DC Elsworlds stories are like. Overall it could have done more and that was the biggest let down of the picture.
Paint by the numbers but overall solid