9+*9-*On our newest Batyard’s Finest podcast, the boys from the Batyard and I reviewed last year’s Batman: Gotham by Gaslight animated film. “Batyard’s Finest: Bringing you the finest of Batman and Superman in pop-culture.” DC Animation is our favorite form of Batman/Superman pop-culture to review, so a flick like Gaslight is right up our gaslit crime alley. Joining the Comic Book Intl pod network, Batyard’s Finest is a team up of my Above and Batman Beyond podcast and the super filmmakers and artists of Batyard Productions.
Hush! Quick DC animated tangent:
If you’re a follower of these DC animated movies, then you’re probably asking your device why we’re not reviewing Batman: Hush. Hush came out just last week on Blu-Ray, then hit DC Universe for streaming on the 13th. Well, check out my most recent piece here at C506, where I go into my own feelings on the movie before even seeing it. And, unfortunately, now that I’ve since seen Hush, my feelings haven’t changed.
So, stay tuned for a possible C506 review of Hush, or from my podcast network, ComicBookIntl.com. But, don’t necessarily count on one. I was such a fan of the original Hush comic that it’s hard for me to like the movie. Adaptation aside, I also don’t think it’s that good a film on its own. And, when I dislike something this much, I tend not to review it. I’m going to watch Hush animated again to give it another shot before my final decision to review, but for now, that’s where I stand with Batman: Hush.
Anyway, back to 2018’s Batman: Gotham by Gaslight:
Quick plot synopsis of Gaslight from IMDB: In an alternative Victorian Age Gotham City, Batman begins his war on crime while he investigates a new series of murders by Jack the Ripper.
I pulled out a few interesting pieces of our Batyard’s Finest podcast review of Gotham by Gaslight. We recorded this a few months ago, so it was fun to rediscover some of the points we all made, impressing our future selves from the audio past. On the podcast network, we don’t tend to review things on a one to ten or ten out of ten apples, or any kind of numeric or grade scale. More straightforward likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn’t, recommend or don’t recommend; good old discussion.
Before quoting the actual podcast, we all loved and highly recommend Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. On this recording of BYF, there was Josh and Connor from Batyard Productions and then I, all of us agreeing on the high quality of Gaslight and liking it overall.
Benjamin: Let’s get into it. Likes, dislikes, what did you guys think, overall thoughts: Gotham by Gaslight?
Connor: Yea, sure. I was super psyched when I saw first saw this get announced. I thought it was a really cool idea, really cool adaptation. Because, they sort of just boil Batman down to his essential formula: He’s a guy who knows how to fight, pull of acrobatics, he’s a detective, a genius. And, all he really needs to get the job done are his fists, his wits, a grappling hook, and some batarangs, and there you go. You’ve got Batman. Drop him anywhere. Drop him in 19th Century Gotham, ya know?
Benjamin: That’s a great point.
Josh: I would have to agree with Connor on all aspects of that. Ioved the art direction of it. Like, the whole misty, kind of grungy Industrial Revolution setting. You could kind of smell the smog just by looking at the atmosphere.
Connor: Just like the modern interpretations of Gotham. Hashtag “Keep Gotham gross.”
Josh: (Laughs) Yea, basically. I thought the art direction was really cool. I think that’s my favorite aspect of it, the visuals. The designs of all the characters, you could definitely tell, very Bruce Timm influenced. Especially, with the female characters, you could tell, “Oh, that’s Bruce Timm’s art direction.”
I thought it was overall definitely a great watch, and a rewatchable film. Like, once you know the big twists at the end, you can rewatch it and kind of get more out of it, see where you can find the breadcrumbs. So, yea definitely recommend it. What about you, Benjamin?
Benjamin: I’ll start off with what I loved. I love the story, I thought it was a great movie. And, I say that because a lot of times, especially with adaptations as this was. Even though, as we established, it might as well be its own story ’cause of how much they changed, an adaptation nonetheless. That has problems. It’s like, you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
Benjamin: But, even like the nerd level of “Were they faithful?” aside, a lot of times, these things just aren’t good movies. It doesn’t play like a good movie. Maybe it plays like a good adaptation of that comic book, but the thing that we’re watching is not an adaptation of a comic, the thing that we’re watching is a movie that happens to be an adaptation of a comic. If you don’t make the initial thing good, that is a movie, you got a problem.
This [Gotham by Gaslight] just played–and, it was a little longer too. It was an hour twenty, or an hour and a half, I think. Which, most of these are like under an hour or an hour straight, hour ten. Didn’t feel like it was too long, all the beats played out like they should.
I absolutely loved that there was detective work in it. I don’t want to get into details yet, but, I have a huge list of likes here, and looking at it now, it’s a way bigger list under likes than dislikes as I was watching this movie.
Connor: Always a good thing.
Benjamin: (Laughs) Yea. Just some highlights [from the “Likes” side of my list for Gaslight]:
- Detective work
- I loved Selina Kyle
- The tech
- The gadgets
- The idea of a live action version of this would be incredible
- Bruce Greenwood killed it
- Really good horror beats
- The action was fantastic
- World’s Fair
Later on in the podcast, talking plot details:
Benjamin: With Batman–this is a Batman movie–detective work is something that is almost always lacking in a Batman movie, in my opinion.
Connor: For someone who usually holds the title of “World’s Greatest Detective.”
Benjamin: Yea, I kind of expect that to happen. When it doesn’t, it’s usually a gripe that I have with the movie. This did great work with it, I thought. He’s reading the letter from Jack the Ripper by the fire at Wayne Manor; profiling Selina right to her face, telling her her entire life story without hesitation. It kind of felt like a Bond movie…and, then you had that, like Connor said before, that “improbability” quote, him quoting Sherlock Holmes and tying that mythology into it.
Connor: The two world’s greatest detectives.
Benjamin: And, then the deduction at the end. He’s got that attic. I love how he’s got the Batcave in the attic.
Josh: The Battic.
Benjamin: The Battic. (Laughs) What did you guys think of all that stuff?
Josh: It’s right in the era of Sherlock Holmes and everything like that, so it just feels like if Batman was Sherlock Holmes for the time.
Connor: I agree with you. This is definitely the most detective work I’ve seen Batman do. And, I appreciate it a whole lot. Because, again, that’s exactly what Batman would be–
Josh: I could almost expect him to be smoking a pipe within this context (Laughs)… I loved, even like the spritz of blood and everything with the Poison Ivy kill. I was like, oh my god, that was really effective! You see her hand twitching and tingling, and it’s like ah jeez, pretty graphic. And, I was like, this is rated R?
Benjamin: Oh yea, so let’s talk about that.
Actually, if you want to hear us talk about how Gaslight is R rated, and a whole bunch of other stuff, then you gotta listen to the newest Batyard’s Finest podcast.
Off Air, on the “Dislikes” side of the list:
Was the movie perfect? Is any movie? We did have some problems with it. For example, the vehicles. Anytime you see a horse and buggy, a steam powered Batcycle, or requisite Gotham dirigible, the animated movement just doesn’t look right. That said, as listed above under my “Likes,” the action was fantastic! The fighting in this was animated really well, not to mention well choreographed and assembled. So, it’s not like fast moving objects is a problem across the board. But, DC Animation seems to still have a problem getting vehicle movements right in these movies. It’s been happening for years too, way before Gaslight. I can remember as far back as Under the Red Hood (2010), even that kick ass Batmobile just didn’t move right.
I don’t think Batman’s character design and animation were well executed, even though I love them in concept. This is coming from the guy who has the DC Multiverse Gaslight Batman action figure on constant display. I have a long running affinity for anything steampunk, and I adore old tech. This version of my favorite character should be something I’m obsessed with, and for most of the movie, I was. I just had a problem with how this particular steam Bat was animated into the movie. All the other characters, in my opinion, looked great and were animated and designed to Bruce Timmian perfection. Batman was just a little off to me. Though, Josh and Connor disagreed, so perhaps, it’s just a matter of taste–as can happen when reviewing.
There are a few more dislikes we talk about on the podcast as well, but as I said before, the Likes side of the list is a lot longer for Gaslight.
Again, if you want to hear more of this Batman: Gotham by Gaslight review, then check out Batyard’s Finest podcast. Keep in mind the huge spoiler twist at the end of this movie, too! It ties in really nicely with the Jack the Ripper mystery. Great fan service to Bat fans in the end, as well. Again, Gotham by Gaslight is highly recommended to buy, to watch, to rewatch, then buy the steel jacket version, then the digital, then start all over!
Today’s review was from the Batyard’s Finest podcast. Subscribe to our show on iTunes, the Anchor app, and many more pod places! BYF is part of the Comic Book Intl Network. Check out all the shows on the network at ComicBookIntl.com.
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