TV Review: Gotham

This review was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 7 October 2014.

In the comic adaption wars, Marvel may well and truly own the silver screen but DC has rapidly cemented its domination of our televisions. I’m a recent convert to Arrow, now about to enter its third season. With compelling characters and a gritty revenge based overarching storyline, it is easy to binge on an episode or five.

Joining the DC ranks will be the Arrow spin-off The Flash, premiering in the States tonight. Existing in the same universe, I’m looking forward to enjoying the adventures of Barry Allen following his encounter with an exploding particle accelerator and then being struck by lightning (as you do). Let’s hope it fares better than the 1990 series which starred John Wesley Shipp (who will appear in the new Flash series as the lead’s father) in an awkward Michael Keaton Batman inspired rubbery suit.

Already out of the gate this year is Gotham, a drama series set in the Batman universe. Actually, make that the pre-Batman universe. Focusing on a young Detective Gordon (The O.C.’s Ben McKenzie), the pilot episode opens with the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Gordon bonds with the now orphaned Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) at the scene of the crime. At this moment, they are both set on their paths to become the future straight edge Police Commissioner and masked vigilante Batman. If you don’t know whom becomes who, then you probably should stop reading here.

For the casual Batman movie watcher, the references to future members of the Rogues Gallery is about as subtle as Bat nipples. A young girl tending to her plants introduces herself as Ivy. An ambitious criminal receives a beating that renders him with a penguin-like limp. A forensic specialist at the Gotham City Police Department likes to tell riddles. A young thief clad in all black likes to climb on things and often coughs up fur-balls (I made that last bit up).

Die hard fans will also appreciate the appearance of mob leader Fish Mooney (a fantastic Jada Pinkett Smith), as well as Detectives Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), all relatively minor characters in the Batman universe.

The rendering of Gotham City is quite spectacular, in a comfortable hybrid of Christopher Nolan’s modern boom town and Tim Burton’s gothic megalopolis. At a glance, there’s no doubt that this is Gotham.

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen the first two episodes and come to the conclusion that what this show needs is Batman. Sure, the similarly veined Smallville kept Clark Kent out of the Superman suit for ten seasons (with the exception of the very last few seconds of the show) but the series still centred on Kal-El coming to grips with his powers. The only great change coming up for Gotham’s Bruce Wayne is puberty.

Comic book readers and film fanatics are programmed to appreciate Detective / Commissioner Gordon as a supporting character. I honestly don’t know if I can sit through at least a decade of this show waiting for Batman to appear.

Published in: on October 5, 2014 at 14:23  Leave a Comment  
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The Dark Knight Rises: a near perfect film but not without plot holes

I’ve just returned from experiencing The Dark Knight Rises in glorious IMAX. As my 129th movie for 2012, I am pleased to say that I have given it 9 out of 10. Christopher Nolan has managed to conclude his Batman trilogy with an epic thriller that will enthral audiences worldwide. However, I still left the theatre wondering about a few plot points that didn’t make sense.

SPOILER ALERT
Below are my plot holes for The Dark Knight Rises. If you can explain them to me or have others to add, please let me know.

1. How did Bruce Wayne / Batman return to Gotham City following his escape from the prison? All of the access point to the city were blown up or blocked.

2. Why didn’t the prisoners attempting to climb out of the prison use the rope (that they were all tied to for safety) to be pulled most of the way and thus save their energy for the final and most difficult part of the climb?

3. Why did Miranda (Marion Cottilard) not reveal her true nature until Batman returned to Gotham? Once she had control of the bomb and Batman broken, what possible advantage was there to maintaining her secret identity?

4. Why didn’t Batman focus his attack on Bane’s mask in their initial battle? It was pretty obvious to me that it was his weak point.

5. Was Bane’s mask electric? Batman used a gun that knocked out electronic devices early in the film. It might have been worth a try.

6. Is Wayne Manor located in Gotham City? Why wasn’t it attacked by Bane’s thugs?

7. If Bane knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman, why didn’t he look under Wayne Manor for Batman’s weapons and vehicles too?