“Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” stars Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter, Anthony Head, and Chris Cox. Released on February 6, 2018, the film has Batman tracking down Jack the Ripper.
The film is directed by Sam Liu, and it is based on the one-shot graphic novel of the same name by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola. It is also the 30th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. In case you’re wondering, I did not attend a special theatrical premiere of this movie…because there isn’t one. I’m still attempting to review some movies that are released directly to DVD and Blu-ray since all of my reviews are for movies that I saw in a theater. Unlike what I did with The Killing Joke and Batman and Harley Quinn, I decided to watch the latest animated Batman film at the comfort of my home, and don’t worry, I’ll keep things spoiler-free in case you haven’t seen it yet.
The story takes place in Victorian era Gotham City, where a mysterious crook known as Jack the Ripper is murdering women one by one. With time running out, it’s up to Batman (Greenwood) to figure out Jack’s real identity and save Gotham City from his bloody wrath. This is another animated Batman film that received an R rating for its depictions of violence and some coarse language, so if you have any young Batman fans in your household, I suggest you think twice before showing them this. Like many other direct-to-DVD films, the story is very simple to follow, but it also falls short at any hint of emotional depth and creativity. However, as a typical Batman film, I would say that this is another solid addition to the Batman mythos. Most of the voice cast did a nice job with their characters, including Greenwood, who reprises his role once again as the Caped Crusader, and Carpenter as the Victorian version of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. Greenwood is no stranger in voicing Batman since he already voiced him in another Batman animated film, “Under the Red Hood”, and his role here is nothing different. Like Kevin Conroy, Greenwood did wonders in bringing the Batman to life. What I liked about the storytelling in this is how it blends the superhero genre with the usual old-fashioned mystery thriller while maintaining the tradition of the Batman legend. There’s also this twist during the third act that offers a different and unexpected turn compared to the other Batman films. It’s not clever enough to keep itself from being too generic, but it does well in keeping me entertained. The animation was also pretty darn good in portraying the bleak and violent world of Gotham City as well as some of the hard-hitting action sequences. There were a couple of scenes that looked a bit choppy, but other than that, it’s another type of direct-to-DVD animation that makes the entire film watchable.
Overall, as a regular animated direct-to-DVD film, “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” is simple and generic. As an animated Batman direct-to-DVD film, it’s another riveting addition to the Caped Crusader film collection. With a decent voice cast, solid animation, and an effective twist, the film continues the consistent success of the DC animated direct-to-DVD franchise. If you’re a major Batman fan, I would say that it’s worth picking up at the store. However, if you’re not the type of person who enjoys violent films in animated form, this one might not be able to win you over.