BLU-RAY REVIEW: BATMAN GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT
Warning, spoilers ahead…
What happens when you pit the Dark Knight against Jack the Ripper? You get a well-constructed and executed (no pun intended) adaptation. Based on the DC Comics Elseworld stories, Batman Gotham by Gaslight is a one shot animated feature and is the thirtieth film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series.
Set in Victorian era Gotham City, a series of murders haunt its citizens and the only thing they know about the killer is his name… Jack the Ripper. With the emergence of the vigilante Batman (Bruce Greenwood), the people of Gotham fear that Batman and the Ripper are one of the same. After confronting James Gordon (Scott Patterson) and Chief Bullock (John DiMaggio) on their futile attempts at capturing the Ripper, stage actress Selina Kyle (Jennifer Carpenter) tries to lure Jack by acting like bait. Her plan works as Jack does attack her but avoids being captured when Batman arrives and the two fight. Gaining the upper hand, Jack escapes leaving Batman to seek Gordon and ask for his help.
The next night Bruce Wayne along with his friend Harvey Dent meet Selina at the Monarch Theatre. Bruce and Selina immediately hit it off and Bruce soon learns that Sister Leslie had taken in both him and Selina and that some of the murdered women were also orphans under Sister Leslie’s care. This discovery leads Bruce to rush to the church to save Sister Leslie but he is too late. At the crime scene, Bruce finds a pen from the Dionysus Club that he is a member of.
At Sister Leslie’s funeral, Hugo Strange who claims to know the identity of the Ripper tells Bruce that he wants to meet with Batman. While waiting for Batman’s arrival, Strange is attacked by the Ripper and is killed by his own patients. Batman does arrive and the two fight again and once again Jack escapes. Selina after discovering his true identity saves an injured Batman and takes him to her home to tend to his wounds. The following morning, Bruce is arrested at Selina’s after another murder had occurred.
At Blackgate Penitentiary, Selina encourages Bruce to reveal that he is actually Batman. Bruce declines and Selina takes it upon herself to tell Gordon. After bribing a guard to deliver a coded message to Alfred (Anthony Head) and staging a prison fight, Bruce was able to escape Blackgate. Later Selina meets with Gordon at the Gotham City World’s Fair where she learns the truth that Gordon is Jack the Ripper. At the same time, Batman arrives at Gordon’s home and discovers a secret room that exposes the gruesome reality of Gordon’s alter ego. Batman is confronted by Gordon’s wife, Barbara and sees scars on the left side of her face. Batman races to find Selina and notices a Fair’s searchlight with a bat signal on it lighting up the night sky.
Batman arrives in time to save Selina and fight Gordon. Gordon confesses that its his holy duty to rid Gotham of the filth that plagues his city. As the two battle, the Ferris wheel is engulfed in flames and begins to collapse. All Batman could do is watch as Gordon burns himself alive.
Because of its graphic nature and theme, Gotham by Gaslight is not for children. It is very much intended for adults. Overall this is one of DC’s better animated features. I love the noir feel to the story and would welcome more such films in the future. Next up for DC is Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay due out later this Spring.
BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT – **** (OUT OF 5 STARS)
Directed by: Sam Liu
R 78 Mins
Bruce Greenwood as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Jennifer Carpenter as Selina Kyle
Anthony Head as Alfred Pennyworth
Chris Cox as Father Callaghan
John DiMaggio as Chief Bullock
David Forseth as Cyrus Gold
Grey Griffin as Sister Leslie/Selina’s singing voice/Jason
Bob Joles as Mayor Tolliver
Yuri Lowenthal as Harvey Dent
Lincoln Melcher as Dickie
Scott Patterson as James Gordon
William Salyers as Hugo Strange
Tara Strong as Marlene / Timmy
Bruce Timm as Arkham Radio Man
Kari Wuhrer as Ivy
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight