Bruce Wayne is a wealthy explorer who travels the world with a group of adopted orphans, searching for answers to the questions that torment him. During an expedition to find a missing rich man, Oswald Cobblepot, he discovers an ancient demon frozen in a glacier. Will Batman, Green Arrow, and Etrigan be able to stop a threat of this caliber, or will Gotham face doom?
In 2000, “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, along with Richard Peace, created a story set at the beginning of the alternate 20th century, in which Batman must confront supernatural forces that go beyond his cold, calculated, and logical way of perceiving the world. world. After almost a quarter of a century, someone decided to turn this unique blend of superhero comics and HP Lovecraft’s prose into a movie, and while I’m glad we got another Elseworld project at all, and in many ways I really liked it, there were some things that… I didn’t really like it – some of it is an issue with the comic itself, some of it has to do with the way it was adapted.
Lovecraft and the Eternals is a difficult topic, but it’s still regularly discussed by all kinds of creators. In the last century, in gaming we had “Prisoner of Ice”, an Infogrames title inspired by Lovecraft’s book “At the Mountains of Madness”. The 21st century includes projects such as “Call of Cthulhu” or unofficially “The Sunken City” and “Bloodborne”. The cinematography also attempts from time to time to introduce Howard to a wider audience, but with somewhat mixed results. Movies like “Color Out of Space” or “Re-Animator” gained a legion of loyal fans, but never had the chance to break into the mainstream. However, the theme returns like a boom, this time appearing in the form of the Dark Knight of Gotham. Batman has faced mysterious enemies many times before, but never anything of this magnitude. This marriage is certainly interesting, but is it really right for this brand?
Batman: Gotham Fall (2023) – Review and opinions about the movie [HBO]. Feel the atmosphere
The way the authors construct the plot is certainly praiseworthy. We quickly learn that there is indeed something deep in the Arctic ice. Something unimaginably huge and dangerous. But later, Batman plants doubt in our minds, justifying the existence of monsters and everything that happens around him. Over time, events increasingly defy logical explanation, but for a long time we cannot be sure what is really happening. Of course, until all the cards come to the table and the plot turns into a relatively standard superhero finale.
Watching the film, you might get the impression that there are two very different approaches to storytelling arguing over priority. On the one hand, we have a plot that is slowly being discovered, playing with the mythos of DC heroes and uniquely written heroes, like a local version of Oliver Queen. On the other hand, characters appear for half a second – just so you can verify their existence – or meaningless dialogue, thrown into the movie for fans of the characters, not because they have any meaning in the story being told, such as Talia al Ghul telling Batman that he is in another world Maybe they were one or more friends. Every Batman fan understands what this is about, but in the context of the movie, this issue doesn’t make any sense, because both characters know each other so well that they’ve literally fought each other twice.
Batman: Gotham Fall (2023) – Review and opinions about the movie [HBO]. Not everything worked out
But what’s even more irritating is the constant repetition of previous dialogue in the second half of the film. Several times throughout the film, someone, either Etrigan or a magical bat speaking to Bruce in a human voice, makes statements that at first glance may seem like a strange metaphor or complete nonsense. Since the filmmakers have absolutely no confidence in the viewer’s intelligence, they feel compelled to repeat these lines of dialogue like echoes bouncing off the walls of Batman’s empty head whenever they start to make sense. There are few things that irritate me more than a really simple plot that feels the need to explain itself to the viewer.
New versions of well-known characters are usually rather interesting, such as the Demon Lord. Freeze or Harvey Dent. Some of them, practically unchanged, fit perfectly into the 1920s, like Alfred, Oliver Queen or the antagonist, whom I won’t mention by name here just in case. However, I don’t understand why it was necessary to change the names, origins, and entire personality of some of the characters. The aforementioned Freeze is no longer a scholar, and he has no wife to fight for her life. His name is completely different and he has simply “transformed” into what looks like an ice zombie. This is not actually mr. Freeze, just a faint shadow of him. Cassandra Cain is now Kay Lee Cain, and apart from the name, she has nothing in common with the original, and Jason Todd is now an Indian boy named Sanjay (Jay to his friends) Todd, and again – apart from the name, he has none of these. The classic version of the character. Just a reference for reference’s sake. It’s good that Batman is still the same character as always. Almost the same, but with period-appropriate tools.
“Batman: Gotham Fall” is another solid-looking, well-acted animated film that’s unable to fully capitalize on its potential. The first half of the film, and perhaps more so, is a beautiful, interesting, and fun marriage between the Dark Knight and Lovecraft, but the closer we get to the end, the less profound it becomes. It’s still a very solid film and you can easily watch it as a sort of curiosity, although I can’t shake the feeling that it’s more of an abbreviation of the original than a full adaptation of Mignola’s comic book for the small screen.
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