This post will contain spoilers.
Ever wondered what Batman would be like in a Victorian era version of Gotham? Then the newly released Batman: Gotham by Gaslight could be the animated Batman film for you. For me personally it was great to see an old styled Gotham, the streets of Gotham looked to be filled with more peril in Victorian times than that of our modern day Batman, perhaps that could be because in Gotham by Gaslight the caped crusader takes on the immense task of tracking down one of the most iconic, famous and chilling serial killers of all time, a man who was never caught, he had 5 confirmed murders on the streets of London. I am of cause talking about the notorious Jack the Ripper, slaying prostitutes on the streets of London wasn’t enough for good old Jack, no, he needed some fresh meat, a new town to terrorise, new streets to stalk in the dead of night.
The streets of the Victorian Gotham were eerie to say the least, when I was watching Ivy walk through those dark deserted streets alone I felt uneasy for her, that goes for all the victims who met their end on the streets of Gotham. The scene in the graveyard captured the heavy atmosphere surrounding this immense crime perfectly, hearing the victims scream as we switch back to our hero realising he is too late only adds to the feeling of dread.
This newest addition to a long running list of animated Batman movies is an enjoyable experience to say the least, it is your standard who done it? horror flick, though I will say it wasn’t as surprising as I am sure people hoped it would be, the twists and turns were not completely unexpected, yet this didn’t do too much in the sense of damaging a good movie. There are some familiar faces as you would expect to see in any Batman movie, for me personally I liked the Ivy met her end at the hands of Jack the Ripper at the start of the movie as opposed to having some random lady we have never met before be the first to be slaughtered by this man from hell. It doesn’t take long for this film to set its pace, there are no dragged out areas so to speak helping to keep your interest peaked, even though I did guess the identity of our grisly friend fairly quickly.
The story the writers came up with for their rendition of a brutal murder was quite clever, I am sure there are better ideas out there but the approach they took wasn’t bad by any means. There are many theories out there for who Jack could have been and why did he commit those gruesome crimes. Well, in Gotham by Gaslight the Ripper believes he is ridding Gotham of its filth so to speak, it isn’t just low class women working in the sex trade that this Jack considers to be filthy, no, rather it is anyone who dares to ruin its reputation, though and I quote “wives are the worst of all”. I am sure for many the mystery may have been held until the closing chapters but for me personally I knew we were looking at a seemingly “good” guy being this brutal being.
The way that Catwoman fitted into this movie without actually being the feline thief we all know and for me love. In this terrifying tale she is simply Selina Kyle, a performer though she still knows how to handle her whip and put up a fight. I always enjoy seeing the interaction between Batman and Catwoman in general as I think they make quite the attractive (and powerful!) couple. There is an attraction between them in this movie naturally which I enjoyed seeing, watching Harvey Dent attempt to frame his friend for bedding Selina instead of him was somewhat amusing. Ah jealousy such an ugly headed friend.
The final showdown between the Bat and the Ripper doesn’t disappoint, two formidable foes going toe to toe for dominance, now I don’t want to reveal the actual identity of Jack so you have something to keep you guessing for at least a little while as Batman hunts the streets for the prowling Jack. Just know that the final showdown is worth the wait, with Ripper while being known by Batman ensuring he won’t be brought to justice, much like the real Ripper of London. If I am being honest all the fight scenes were on point, they were fast paced, action packed, exactly what you would expect between not only two formidable fighters but two intelligent men.
If you are a true Batman fan who also enjoys a good who dunnit drama, or if you simply enjoy movies based around serial killers then you will at least have a good experience with this movie, I have always had a fascination for serial killers, I actively watch documentaries and all sorts of crime shows, as I live in the UK I have definitely been enthralled with the mystery clouding Jack the Ripper since I was a kid. I am also an avid fan of Batman, trust me the two go together really well.
There was room for improvement with this movie, namely it should have been more clever, the twists should have been unpredictable not a case of ah now what have I seen that before? Oh yeah nearly all movies with this notion. There was real potential here and while I think it hit a lot of its potential it by no means hit its full. A mystery like this should ideally remain just that until the closing chapters, a mystery. Guessing how it is going to go early on and being confident of it rather than some ill fated guess does mean that the writers could have perhaps done a better job in that regard. But that isn’t a deal breaker as it is still an enjoyable experience, it has the correct film rating giving way to a good amount of violence, gore and swearing which is much needed when dealing with a grotesque subject such as the famous serial killer. There is nothing worse than having a good story with potential be made child friendly, that just ruins what could be an amazing thing, which happens far too often these days.