The animated Batman: Year One returns in glorious 4K just in time for its 10th anniversary. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since this was released but a decade is more than enough time to turn this fascinating take on Batman into so much more.
This film is an achievement both in front and behind the camera. The animation is striking and feels just enough like the classic 90s TV show to feel familiar with edging into R-rated territory just enough to be shocking. The story is a direct adaptation of Frank Miller’s stellar comic by the same name, a graphic novel that set the bar so high that Darren Aronofsky attempted to make it before it turned into Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
Fans of Batman Begins will notice a lot of familiar elements to the story but that doesn’t take away from it at all. The 4K restoration brings out the beauty in the animation and highlights all the gritty little details that bring the characters to life.
One of the perks of hindsight is realizing how fascinating it is having an actor play a role. Batman: Year One carries the same distinction. Ben McKenzie, the voice of Batman this time around, was clearly feeling out the characters. Just a few years later he would play the role of Jim Gordon in the cult classic Gotham.
A time capsule of the era the rest of the voice cast includes some heavies and surprises. Bryan Cranston voices Gordon in the movie and he brings such gravitas to the role that it could have easily stolen the movie. They are joined by Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle and Katee Sackhoff as a fellow Gotham detective.
If anything, this film stacks the deck with such great talent and amazing visuals it was bound to be a home run. It’s a shame more people don’t talk about this movie. Hopefully with the 4K release this month that will change.