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Trailer Review: Gotham


 

Fox has announced that it has picked the series up. This may be both a sign of faith in the production and an acknowledgement of the bankability of any property associated with Bruce Wayne. As Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder would say, "I'm the [G.D.] Batman!" We were treated to a two minute look into the world of 'Gotham.'

 

 

 

The trailer opens with a wide skyline of the city and loud percussive score that preludes the ominous. A well dressed man begins in a dark alley telling our new Jim Gordon about the city having a 'curse,' but that he won't 'let it fall without a fight.' A small bit of press conference footage of the Mayor ('Spin City's' Richard Kind) lamenting the growing criminal presence, and also vowing to not let the city give in to thugs, "not on my watch."

 

Oswald Cobblepot (played by Robin Taylor) then teases the true fire and brimstone of the coming war and the 'rivers of blood in the streets, I know it.' The next fifteen seconds set up our main character Gordon as a man with danger in his eyes and someone who has killed people before and that the city is at war.

 

There is a well staged glimpse at the death of the Wayne family, which Bruce kneeling between them straight out of nearly every representation of their death. While it seems that this would be an oppurtunity to re-create a classic image, such as the cover of Batman #404, it appears they chose to aggregate many representations into one. This section of the trailer ends with Jim Gordon promising Bruce to find the killer.

 

The trailer gives us a rapid cut between several exciting looking moments while Detective Bullock (Donal Logue) tells us that "this is not a city for nice guys." The trailer ends with tease of classic Batman villians and that this series will take place "BEFORE PENGUIN, BEFORE CATWOMAN, BEFORE RIDDLER, BEFORE POISON IVY, BEFORE BATMAN."

 

My thoughts on this trailer are very positive, so the trailer's mission is accomplished on me. This is honestly a concept that I have had a hard time swallowing. I have to admit that I hate most prequals. Especially prequals that show us younger versions of characters we already know. These types of productions feel like cash grabs, and they serve to corrupt the ascpets of a character we like and shink the world in which the characters exsist. This show was originally thought to be totally about a police procedure type look into the Gotham police department and the beginnings of the crime culture in Gotham that Batman grow up to fight against. Instead, this trailer makes this production feel more like Star Wars Episodes I-III and a way to trade on the name value of classic Batman villains. But, as I said, the trailer leaves me cautiously optimistic that this show will deliver.

 

The main reason for that is the talent in front of the camera, which I have to say I am not so familiar with. I didn't watch 'The O.C.' or the short-lived 'Touch' but both Ben McKenzie and David Mazouz seem game for the material here. Their two direct exchanges in the trailer are particularly well done, especially the clip about couquering fear versus owning fear. Fear is a big aspect of Batman's arsenal and knowing fear is a big theme of the Nolan Batman trilogy, in particular using fear to let you know 'where the edge is.' I hope that Ben McKenzie's disporportionate screen time in this trailer to Bruce Wayne IS indicative of the direction of the show. As I said, this series concept excited me as a study of Gotham as a structure and not as much a prequel for Batman villains. So I do hope that Jim Gordon, conflicted cop, is the focus of the show. While watching McKenzie in this, I couldn't help but draw direct comparisons to Russell Crowe's Bud White in 'L.A. Confidential' in look and line delivery.

 

As for the other members of this cast that we see, I am very familiar with Donal Logue as a character actor. He's got just the right kind of 'dirty hands' look to pull off how I see Harvey Bullock. Seeing Jada Pinkett Smith show up in the trailer was a pleasant surprise. She's got some delicious menice to her line readings in the trailer. I don't think Fish Mooney is a comic character, but if she is, please comment and let me know if there is some recommended reading.

 

While no one may know Robin Lord Taylor, this actor's small part in the 2006 comedy 'Accepted' burned his mannerisms and face into my mind. I remembered him instantly, and he gets a great feature here in the trailer as Oswald Cobblepot. It doesn't seem like the character is directly involved in crime from the looks in the trailer, but he definitely seems connected to something.

 

We get little more than glimpses of Selina Kyle, Edward Nygma, and Pamela Isley but they seem cast well in image. News from the production indicates that Edward Nygma will be a forensic scientist with GCPD in what may get played as a 'Dexter'-like role. We also get the impression that Selina Kyle and young Bruce Wayne will meet cute and become a tag-team of sorts in this series which would be an interesting take on their relationship. While not seen much, the cast includes portrayals of both Barbara Kean and Sarah Essen. Fans of the comics, and especially the Frank Miller Earth-31, know that there is a love triangle and adultry surrounding these two women and Jim Gordon. It is interesting that Barbara is neither married or pregnant as she was entering Batman issue #404, but I can't imagine these circumstances would be drawn up by the show, and not have the triangle play out.

 

Overall, I think the trailer does its job of setting a tone and providing enough forboding music and voice over to get fans excited. I am still in fear that this show will turn into a poor interpretation of young versions of the character and be tossed away and forgotten after May 2016. If I had to rate the trailer, I would give it:

 

3.5 out of 5 Batarangs

 

The Fox press release indicated that the series pick-up would be for 'at least' 13 episodes, so we will see if more get green-lit mid-season.

 

As a final note, isn't it interesting that we don't get a moustache on Ben McKenzie's face. I am not aware of a visage of Jim Gordon without the upper lip hair, so it is an interesting choice. I think it is the right choice because this actor feels like he would look ridiculous with a moustache. As Kevin Smith said while making a commentary track for the animated 'The Dark Knight Returns Part 1' "That [sh#*] doesn't play in the 80's, Alfred."

 

Posted by Bob Holt

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One thought on “Trailer Review: Gotham

  1. W Jensen

    Saw the episode last night and I also thought “Bud White” immediately after seeing Ben McKenzie’s Det. Gordon.

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