Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is an alternate take on Batman and Gotham City. The story is set in the 19th Century, backdropped by a Victorian Gotham. The film sources from a one-take comicbook of the same, which reimagines Bruce Wayne as the Batman in a whole new universe, with an overall new take of the hero/vigilante while he tries to save Gotham from a passioned menace who takes sport in killing innocent women.
Here we find The Dark Knight in pursuit of women-hater and butcher, Jack the Ripper. Jack stalks women in alleyways and especially targets women who entertain men for a living. He regards these particular women as impure thus poisonous to society. He believes that by carving them up with a butcher's knife in cold blood both teaches them a due lesson and purifies the city of Gotham off their tainted womanhood.
Jack's motive and philosophy goes out the window when he realises that the Batman is out to get him. The villian begins to antagonise the women close to, and those who have interacted in some way with, Bruce. This is where the film perfectly mashes horror with the murder mystery genre. In the process we get a Halloween spin-off, starring The Caped Crusader, with a bit of Sherlock Holmes. The movie is peppered with significant elements of a "whodunit". It does not particularly center around the actual crimes, and instead the focuses on asking the crucial question of "why", for a better chance to trace who the culpable monster is among the many mysterious men of Gotham before he butchers every woman in town. This is how Bruce and his ally Selina eventually get the chance to unmask the cloaked murderer.
The film is a comfortable short watch that gets all its dramatic beats. The story arc is nourished by the care put into each character. It takes an even more interesting turn as some of the character are slightly altered to explore their corrupted sides. Characters such as Harvey Dent and James Gordon are poisoned for their darker selves- we get to witness them in the light of womanisers, woman-haters and someone who's overall malicious and untrustworthy. We're also introduced to completely new characters created to give the 1989 comic a fresh perspective. This fortunately compels the audience- especially those who follow Batman comic books and are familiar the regular characters- toward wanting to follow the story arc more closely instead of overwhelming us.
There is a sufficient balancing between all the infused genres, character development and the the story and plot itself in just the 1h30min or so. This is a feat only a few feature-length films can claim, whether live-action or animated. And believe me it's for the better that it's animated. Warner Bros. would've taken the hour or so putting on a show for the Internet while completely forgetting that there is an actual fanbase out there craving for a genuine, coherent story. (We Justice League and Zack Snyder!)
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is an electrifying, wholesome film that manages to cover all its corners in just under 78 minutes. The heart-rending subplots and unnerving plot twists come appreciated as we take to uncovering the cold-blooded woman butcher between the men that we've been introduced to.
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