Gotham Series Premiere Review
Being the first live action Batman adaptation since the ending of Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy is no easy feat. This task is made even more difficult when Batman isn’t even allowed to appear onscreen, but the team behind Gotham might just be able to pull it off. Rather than following the adventures of our beloved Caped Crusader, Gotham instead focuses on James Gordon as he attempts to solve the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Fortunately for us, he also meets a cast of familiar faces along the way.
The pilot episode introduces us to Gordon as a man who’s trying to do good in a bad city, which seems like it will be a central theme of the show. By the end of the episode, it’s clear that Gordon will end up seeing and doing some things that make him question his morality. While Gordon may be a nice guy, that doesn’t mean he can’t throw a few punches. Ben McKenzie is very likable in the role and seems just as comfortable with the action scenes as he does with the more poignant ones, especially the scenes he shares with a young Bruce Wayne.
Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock, is a bit harder to read. What seemed like it would be an ordinary seasoned cop/rookie cop relationship becomes so much more when we discover that Donal Logue’s character is much more crooked than his younger counterpart, almost serving as a direct opposite of McKenzie’s Gordon.
McKenzie and Logue do a great job, but the real standout has to be Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot. I don’t know how they found this guy, but he looks exactly like a younger version of The Penguin and he steals every scene he’s in. This episode showed him more as a nervous lackey to Jada Pinkett Smith’s character, but it’s clear that he’s going to become a major force by the end of the season and he has the potential to be downright terrifying. Speaking of Smith, she really shines as Fish Mooney. I’ve never pictured Jada Pinkett in a villain role before, but she proves to be pretty intimidating during her time onscreen.
The real star of Gotham might just be the city itself. The set seems to take components from various Batman films, but still manages to be a fresh take on the fictional world. It even has a comic book feel to it at some points, without stepping into any corny Joel Schumacher territory. Every scene is shot beautifully and on such a cinematic scale.
Overall, it seems like Gotham is off to a strong start and the premiere did a great job showing us which direction the show will be heading. If this episode is any indication, we’ll be getting plenty of action, mystery and some awesome villain reveals throughout the season. I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but maybe we don’t need Batman after all.