Gotham before Batman: The mere thought of it is inexplicably fascinating. But when the pilot for a new show about the famous fictional city aired a couple of months back, everyone understood that “Gotham” was going to be something much different than what people expected it to be. The collaboration between DC Comics and Fox premiered to a shaky start, only to improve as its episodes went by, albeit not enough to latch on to its viewership.
“Gotham,” as the title indicates, tells the story of the city before the caped crusader was introduced, back at a time when Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) were fighting organized crime. It also gives viewers a glimpse at the origins of a few known characters from the franchise, such as the Riddler, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Bruce Wayne himself following the death of his parents.
That said, it does not focus on the origins as much as people thought it would, but rather on Gotham when organized crime was at its peak; a mashup of sorts between “The Godfather” and Detective Jim Gordon.
From a technical point of view, the series fails to impress. Poor camera work, lackluster editing, and a bland, unoriginal script make it somewhat painful to watch. As the series moves forward, however, these elements somewhat improve. Yet at this rate, it will never become aesthetically appeasing for the eye to convince viewers to stay and watch.
Alongside the disappointing technical aspect, the actors were hard to identify with. After the Dark Knight trilogy, it is only normal that viewers would find it difficult to digest a completely different and much younger cast playing characters people have come to love over the years. Luckily, after a certain number of episodes, each performer gradually syncs with his role, and watchers come to accept them more and more, but by then, one worries that the damage is already done.
“Gotham” is not as dark and poetic as a comic book fan would have hoped for, and a stark difference from comics such as Batman: The Long Halloween or Batman: Dark Victory. It follows a path of action, spectacle, and sometimes humor, yet keeps its distance from the philosophical, romantic, and intriguing path the Dark Knight trilogy – and the comics – followed. Unless that is changed, “Gotham” will become a failed addition to the “Batman” franchise.
Comic book fans can enjoy “Gotham” if they bring themselves to accept the changes, while others can consider it as a chance to get to know the history of Batman better. Either way, the future of “Gotham,” the way the show is now, remains in jeopardy.
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