Simply Superheroes Blog

DVD Review: Batman Year One

DVD Review: Batman: Year One | Simply Superheroes Blog


Please note: we are giving away this DVD as a contest.  Please leave a comment and we will pick one random comment by Friday, October 21st.   

It is 12 years since a young Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents gruesome deaths.  The story begins when he returns from traveling abroad after 12 years.  Meanwhile, a Lieutenant James Gordon is getting started in the Gotham police force and quickly learns about its corruption.

These are the opening scenes to Batman: Year One that is adapted almost too faithfully to the comic book Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli created in 1987 in a four-part series.

There are some great moments in this movie such as the standoff in the warehouse, how Bruce decides how he will become Batman and what Batman does to "The Roman" Falcone.  Though overall, the dedication this movie has to the comic book is its biggest flaw.  Batman fans expect interpretations from a two-dimensional comic book to transcend to a three-dimensional world on the screen whether it's live action or animation.  Nolan got it right from what he took from the Year One comic book for Batman Begins.  He took liberties at translating what had been done by Miller and Mazzucchelli and made it into something else.  This movie, unfortunately, doesn't add more to the story Miller told more than 20 years ago. 

One direction they could have gone with this is what happened to Bruce Wayne during those 12 years abroad?  Batman fans have never seen what occurred to Bruce between when his parents are killed and when he is about to become Batman. 

For those who have not read Year One (yet), seeing this story unfold for the first time will seem like a shock: Batman is not an established superhero.  Rather, he is deemed a vigilante stirring up trouble for everyone except (eventually) Gordon.  Bruce Wayne is obsessed just as James Gordon is as a police officer.  Catwoman is a prostitute who is inspired by Batman to try a new vocation while Harvey Dent is an up-and-coming district attorney.  And there's a criminal who is spoken about named The Joker who wants to contaminate Gotham's water supply.  

The DVD is intended for audiences over the age of 10 and rightfully so due to the violent scenes that circle around the corrupt police officer Flass.  A couple of these violent scenes could have been shortened since they both border on gratuitous when the victim is shown getting pounded over and over with a baseball bat or two.

In addition to this 64-minute movie, the highlight of the bonus features is an animated short about Catwoman.  It's unclear whether she is a criminal or some kind of superhero for most of episode.  The viewer only knows she wants to learn more about a collar on a cat she found.  It's quite clear she has a lot of curiosity, like a cat.  It's worth mentioning there's a strip club scene that is probably not appropriate for young children to watch.  While the short has a nice ending, it's hard to see a Catwoman animated series germinate from this.

Other bonus features include previews of Justice League: Doom animated movie and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.

The special features disc contains two episodes chosen from Bruce Timm (executive producer of the movie) that involve Catwoman and a 20-minute documentary called Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to His Roots.  While this piece may be boring to young kids, it's a great intro to the movie.  The documentary is a collection of interviews of animators past and present at DC who discuss the evolution of Batman from the first comic book issue to Frank Miller's transformation in The Dark Knight Returns and how Year One fits into this evolution.  Glaringly missing are interviews of Frank Miller.

Overall it's great to see a classic comic book turn into a movie but it leaves you wanting more.


Robert on October 21, 2011

I want one of these!

David Upton on October 21, 2011

Batman Rules!!

Brian Miller on October 19, 2011

I did not like the anime take they did on The Batman, and I’ve been a fan since the ’70s… but I am a HUGE fan of animation that appeals to an older more mature crowd. Looks like this will be worth viewing?

Let’s hope so!

Brian aragon on October 19, 2011

I am a huge fan of Frank Miller’s Batman works. I have Year One, Dark Knight Returns, DK2, and All Star Batman and Robin. I also have Death in the Family and Killing Joke and would love to see DC make the latter into a DVD. I am a fan of the other DC Animated films and I am really looking forward to seeing this and, like Chris, Dark Knight Returns.

Chris Mentzell on October 19, 2011

Seems like most of the reviews of this are of the “good, not great” variety. I’ll have to check it out and see if I agree; I’m a big fan of the story. Sounds like I probably will want to watch it before I let my 6 year old view it, too.

Really looking forward to the Dark Knight Returns animated film.

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