Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
on April 25, 2012
I love the Year One comic. It's my favorite Batman story. If someone were to ask me the best part about it, I would say, "The internal monologue." That's the storytelling device Frank Miller chose, and it's the spine, skull, and bones of the creature that is Year One. That's what made the comic so great: Whether it was fear, determination, or courage, the thoughts inside Batman and Gordon's noggin were very engaging.
So, I was a little surprised when I found that it seems the Year One movie-makers didn't seem to "get" this. There are two problems with how this plays out:
1. Bruce's voice sounds bored the whole time. All of his reflections, all of his convictions, sound, well... sleepy. When he punches and kicks a hard tree stump while deciding whether or not he can be the Batman, and he says, "I'm not ready... not yet," the comic had him gritting his teeth like he's a furnace of pent-up rage. But in the movie, he sounds passive, bored, and like he's about to yawn. This is a voice-acting role for someone to BRING IT. Year One's Batman voice needed to be someone who could growl out his fierce lines through clenched teeth. Brian Cranston brings a good gravelly tone to Gordon, but Batman sounds like the guy who makes your sandwich at Subway. He's just... there. In the comic, he keeps a cool exterior, but his internal monologue is so, so... motivated. Committed. Angry. Brave. He stares at people without flinching but in his mind and heart, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on. Here, they kill it. It's like Batman's having trouble paying attention to the whole "Batman" thing and is thinking about whether to get tacos or pizza on the way home from crime figthing.
2. There is not enough internal monologue. Again, this is the major story-telling tool, so it is surprising to find that they SKIP a lot of it. I get that the characters are sometimes doing boring stuff in the comic (like walking down a rainy street) but the reader never got bored because you could read as fast as you wanted: You didn't finish a word balloon and then sit there staring at the same frame before going forward. There are a lot of scenes in the movie where boring things are happening and INTERNAL MONOLOGUE WAS WRITTEN IN THE COMIC but the movie inexplicably skips it and has someone silently walking along.
These problems combine to make a great story ultimately boring. I bought this and regret it. It's a rental... sorry bat-fans.