In preparation of “Batweek”, I took some time out of my go-go gadget life to check out what I could of the latest direct-to-DVD animated Batman anthology “Batman: Gotham Knight.” If you haven’t heard, Gotham Knight is meant to set up the next Batman film much in the same vein as the Animatrix did awhile back. With the only element tying together these pieces being voice actor Kevin Conroy, (“Batman the Animated Series”) who dawns that infamous cowl this is very diverse collection of shorts. Unfortunately I was only able to find about 4 of the 6 shorts on the internet, being that I would never pay to rent this kind of thing, so I’ll share what I can.
Over the years the Batman mythology has proven itself to be a rich backdrop for slews of different stories and interpretations. On Gotham Knight we get 6 very different interpretations from six different writers including the talents of David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), Josh Olson (A History of Violence) Alan Burnett (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) and others. Not all of them may hit the right notes, but every one of these pieces is still ambitious. With stories ranging from quick paced tech savvy field missions, to stories through civilian eyes, to stories reflecting the meaning of pain, Gotham Knight covers a lot of ground to show the complexity of this character.
If there was one thing your going to take in from the viewing experience, I’d say it’s the animation. Every segment here has been directed by a notable Japanese animator and every piece has there own style to set the mood. You have the kind of dough-eyed anime in Field Test, to a more basic approach in “Have I Got a Story For You” (which kind of looks like something Hayao Miyazaki would put together) to complexity of the Aeon Flux esque. “Deadshot”. Unfortunately I’d say this collection is actually more style than substance, but when they’re just animated shorts than that’s acceptable.
So should a Batman fan check this out before the new flick? Maybe if by reading about my mild reaction you got intrigued, otherwise this is just kind of a so-so artsy experiment. I like seeing Kevin Conroy taking on the voice again, and some of the stories here spark some interest but overall you should probably only watch this if you feel like killing some major time, see you around fellow Bat-fanatics