Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (2018)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 2/10/18
Director: Sam Liu
Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter, Grey Griffin, Tara Strong, Anthony Head, Kari Wuhrer

"Gotham By Gaslight" was the first Batman Elseworlds book, which re-imagined Batman in a Victorian era Gotham City. Jack The Ripper has come to Gotham and starts butchering women, and the police arrest Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood) for the crimes. Using both brains and brawn, he must break out of prison, clear his name, and stop The Ripper before more lives are lost.

While the setting is the same as the original book, the story has been completely rewritten to include Pamela Isley (Kari Wuhrer), Selina Kyle (Jennifer Carpenter), Hugo Strange, Harvey Dent, Harvey Bullock, and Leslie Thompkins (Grey Griffin). The identity of The Ripper was also changed, which comes as a shocking revelation. The film is dark, sexy, and bloody, with a refreshingly grim and adult tone. The character designs are great and reflect a strong Bruce Timm influence, and apart from a handful of awkward looking 3D models, the animation is fantastic. The action scenes are excellent and the fight choreography is superb. The soundtrack is appropriately dark and moody, and does a wonderful job of matching the tense and horrific atmosphere. While purists may balk at the radical changes in the source material, I found the story to be quite interesting and emotionally engaging. Selina Kyle is a welcome addition to the cast, and she brings a strong female voice to the story along with a much needed emotional hook. Jennifer Carpenter delivers an outstanding performance as Selina, and embues her with a sexy and sassy personality that's both smooth as silk and sharp as a razor. Seeing Pamela Isley as an opium-addicted erotic dancer provides another strong emotional hook into Batman lore. As long as you have an open mind about the story, "Gotham By Gaslight" is a marvelous murder mystery wrapped in a compelling Sherlock Holmes styled setting.