The World’s Greatest Detective has certainly come a long way since his days of shark repellent Bat-spray and trying to get rid of a bomb. He’s spawned a kick-ass gaming franchise, DC’s most successful series of superhero films (where, yet again, Batman tries to get rid of a bomb) and, most importantly, the loveably adorable ‘BatDad’ Vine.
Now, just when you thought that the Caped Crusader could put away his cape and cowl after many years of success, it seems FOX want a slice of the Bat-pie (ew) ahead of the release of Dawn of Justice with Gotham, a show that sets out to ‘tell an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told.’
So, does this prequel to the Batman universe deserve a “Holy guacamole, Batman!”? Or should it be shunned to the dark depths of the Batcave?
The story starts off in a rather Nolan-esque fashion, as a crafty Selina Kyle robs her way through a broody Gotham, only to stumble across the iconic murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, parents to soon-to-be-Batman Bruce Wayne. Enter Jim Gordon (yes, played by ‘him from the OC‘) as he attempts to solve the case with crooked cop Harvey Bullock (not ‘him from the OC’, but Donal Logue).
I have to admit, I was initially quite nervous at the thought of another Batman origin story, but Gotham takes an approach different to the story most casual viewers would know – that of Batman Begins. Where the film focused on how the murder builds the whiney rich kid into a make ’em whine rich kid, Gotham uses it to highlight the city’s growing corruption, a theme so prominent in iterations like Arkham Origins.
That’s where the city’s crooks and cronies come in. You, like me, were probably sat watching this episode going, ‘OOO, IT’S PENGUIN!’ or ‘IT’S THE ‘BE STRONG’ MONOLOGUE!’ – if you did, then the show must be working. This episode was littered with easter eggs, references and potential set ups to story archs from the comics. It was exciting to watch, and hopefully that feeling doesn’t phase out over the coming weeks.
The characters themselves were also faithful adaptions to how we’ve come to know the characters (even if I had a slight dislike towards hot-headed Alfred). Ben Mckenzie really came to light as Jim Gordon, an actor who I thought would be too flimsy to fit the worn but wise shoes of Gary Oldman. His dynamic with partner, Bullock, worked especially well, and should create some brilliant tension as the events of the Wayne Murder unfold.
As I said before, much of the show, however, was based around setting the scene and ticking all of the right Batman boxes, which it did. If it can use that to gain some momentum in exploring some of the show’s explored plot threads and character developments, then I may just stick around until little Bruce dons the suit at the season’s end.
So, should Gotham give you a reason to brush off Dawn of Justice altogether? Not quite. Should it give both Batman die-hards and casual watchers a reason to tune in every week? If Alfred gets easier to warm up to, yes.