Billed as the “First-Ever PG-13 Batman Animated Movie,” Batman Gothan Knight is meant to act as a bridge between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Composed of six 15-minute short films, each by a different director, writer, and illustrator, this anime-inspired direct-to-DVD anthology film is meant to be watched as a whole.
Don’t let the phrase “direct-to-DVD” scare you off. Warner and DC comics have assembled a top flight gallery of talent, including Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer, Academy Award-nominated Josh A History of Violence Olsen, and comic book scribe Brian Azzarello to create one cohesive movie that is a little darker than the Saturday morning cartoons.
Chronicling Batman’s evolution from neophyte superhero to the Dark Knight, the six stories see him pitted against fearsome foes like Scarecrow, Killer Croc and Deadshot. High points include Working Through Pain from director Toshiyuki Kubooka which sees Batman reflecting on events in his life after a near fatal gunshot; the beautiful and elegant animation of Deadshot and the first segment and Have I Got a Story For You in which a number of kids at a Skateboard park describe their wildly different takes on their encounters with Batman.
Not all the stories are top notch—Crossfire is too talky and the Killer Croc animation is weak—but it does play well as a whole, building up slowly in intensity with each story. For Batman fans Batman Gotham Knight is worth a look, and should serve as an interesting appetizer until The Dark Knight opens.