So, I just watched Gotham by Gaslight, one of the most awaited releases from DC Comics and Warner Bros’ DC animated universe/line, and I have to say I was not at all impressed by it. Of course, you probably have already gotten that just by reading the title of this article, so allow me to tell you the reasons why I think it isn’t worth all the hype it got prior to its release.
Now, before I start, I want you guys to know that I don’t necessarily hate the Gotham by Gaslight movie; I just think it’s boring. Perhaps I was expecting more from it, but I found it lacking in a lot of categories.
First of all, it suffers from the usual flaw that almost all titles coming from the Elseworlds imprint have: a ridiculous amount of fan service. As such, all those Easter eggs and references to their popular properties are ultimately empty, not contributing to the story at all. Suffice it to say, a lot of Elseworlds stories are more concerned with making those disgusting nerds grab rub their genitals in excitement than welcoming new, potential fans. So, no, this is one movie I would definitely not recommend to people who are just starting to get into the whole capes and tights crap.
Second, the animation, as much as it tries to capture the whole iconic Bruce Timm feel to it, really doesn’t work for the story. I mean, sure, there are some moments in this movie where it seems like they went above and beyond, like the climactic fight in the third act, but I really just can’t find myself being a fan of its general look. Don’t get me wrong: I love Bruce Timm and the DC animated universe. I think Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and the Batman series from the 90s are some of the greatest cartoons ever made, but used on Gotham by Gaslight, it just doesn’t feel right. But, perhaps my main problem here isn’t the art style but has something more to do with the way the style was done, which is what I’d say is different from the other DCAU movies I’ve seen.
As for the story, it’s something that’s pretty much enjoyable but nothing groundbreaking. It is refreshing to have (SPOILER ALERT) a Batman story that doesn’t have the Joker in it. Though we still get the usual “Batman porks Selina Kyle” yarn. The voice acting here is topnotch, too, but that’s what you’d usually expect from the DCAU.
Lastly, I think maybe one of the reasons Gotham by Gaslight has become one of the more popular stories to come out of the Elseworlds story is because of Mike Mignola’s art. Remove that and all you get is your typical superhero story, except this time some of the characters have a British accent and you get to see Bruce Wayne going to the freaking theater. But hey, it’s still better than that creepy Killing Joke movie they did.