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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Batman Year One - animated feature

The movie is based on the game changing, Batman: Year One by Frank Miller - the four story arc originally appeared in 1987 spread across four issues of DC's Batman, before being collected as a graphic novel and selling shed loads of books. It's been collected in various formats since, including several deluxe hardcover editions and is a recognised classic of the genre.

The 2011 animated film followed the original story and remained incredibly faithful to Millers story - often lifting chunks of dialogue directly from the comic book and putting them into the mouths of the characters. It's basically an origin story but it took the original path of treating Batman almost as a secondary character, with the main emphasis of the story centring on Jim Gordon who has newly arrived in the hell hole that is Gotham.

Like the original story arc which was suggested for mature readers, the film is aimed at the more mature fan and carries much the same tone as Nolan's Batman Begins, which itself  borrowed several elements from the Year One storyline. The animation is of the best quality and often looks like a live action film, but overall it keeps the classic Batman look but presents it through a noir tinged filter.

Lt Gordon kicks arse!
As I've said, Year One is as much a story about Lt. Jim Gordon as it is about Bruce Wayne and the Batman. The action unfolds over the course of a year, beginning as Jim and Bats both arrive in Gotham at the same time. While Jim is looking to start a new life, Bruce Wayne tries to fit back into his old one. Their stories parallel each other as they each try to clean up the city in their own way. They're two different instruments of justice, and neither of them has much of an idea what they're doing, and both get beaten to a pulp before they get it together.

The film features mature themes and is a totally engrossing viewing experience that is a million miles removed from the cartoons of old. Not for nothing is Batman: Year One considered one of the greatest comic stories of all time.

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