Batman: Year One (film)

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Batman: Year One
Bat year one film.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by
Produced by
Written byTab Murphy
Based on
Music byChristopher Drake
Edited byMargaret Hou
Distributed byWarner Home Video
Release date
  • October 18, 2011 (2011-10-18)
Running time
64 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million[1][better source needed]
Box office$6.1 million

Batman: Year One is a 2011 animated superhero film, based on the four-issue story arc of the same name printed in 1987. It premiered at Comic-Con on July 22 and was officially released October 18, 2011. The film was directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu.[2][3] It is the 12th film released under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner, and was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital copy.[4] The film received positive reviews upon release for its animation and faithfulness to the source material, although the story was criticized.[5] The film was also a commercial success, bringing in $6.1 million on a budget of $3.5 million.[6]


Billionaire Bruce Wayne returns home to Gotham City after 12 years abroad, training for his eventual one-man war on crime. James Gordon moves to Gotham City with his wife, Barbara, after a transfer from Chicago. Both are swiftly acquainted with the corruption and violence atmosphere of the city. Gordon is assigned to be the partner of Det. Arnold John Flass. He witnesses his partner's cruel methods in stopping a crime and assaulting a teen for fun. Gordon focuses on purging corruption from the Gotham City Police Department, but several officers led by Flass beat him on the orders from his corrupt superior, Commissioner Gillian Loeb, with Flass personally threatening Gordon's pregnant wife. In revenge, the recovering Gordon tracks Flass down, beats him, and leaves him naked and handcuffed in the snow.

Bruce believes he is still unprepared to fight against crime despite having the skills he learnt from abroad. He goes in disguise on a surveillance mission in Gotham's red-light district, but his plan goes awkward after refusing a proposition from teenage prostitute Holly Robinson. He is reluctantly drawn into a brawl with her pimp and several prostitutes, including dominatrix Selina Kyle. Two police officers shoot him and take him away in their squad car, but a dazed and bleeding Bruce breaks his handcuffs and causes a crash, dragging the officers to a safe distance before fleeing. He reaches Wayne Manor barely alive and sits before his father's bust, requesting guidance in his war on crime. A bat suddenly crashes through a window and settles on the bust, giving him the inspiration to become the Batman. Bruce quickly rings up his butler Alfred Pennyworth to patch up his injuries and proposes the idea of saving Gotham as Batman.

As Gordon becomes a minor celebrity for several brave acts, Bruce strikes as Batman for the first time. He attacks a group of small-time criminals and then spends months working his way up the ladder, resulting the decline of crime and corruption. He even goes after Flass who's in the middle of accepting a bribe from Jefferson Skeevers, a drug dealer of Carmine Falcone. A dinner party is held in a mansion with Loeb, many of Gotham's corrupt politicians and mobsters, and Falcone attending. Batman interrupts the party and announces they all shall be brought to justice for their crimes someday. Loeb is infuriated by Batman's threatening message, he orders Gordon to arrest him by any means necessary. While Gordon tries in vain to catch Batman, assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent immediately becomes Batman's first ally and Dent conceals this secret from Gordon. GCPD Detective Sarah Essen suggests Gordon that Bruce Wayne as a Batman suspect. The pair come across a runaway truck nearly hit an old lady with Batman manages to save the old lady while Gordon is momentarily dazed after stopping the truck. Essen holds Batman at gunpoint, but Batman disarms her and flees to an abandoned building.

Loeb orders a bomb dropped on the building. Batman is caught in the explosion and he survives by hiding himself in the fortified basement, but is forced to abandon his utility belt as it catches fire. A SWAT team led by a trigger-happy commander, Branden, is sent in with the attempt to kill any survivors in the building. Being cornered into a disadvantaged situation with a few gadgets left at his disposal, Batman outwits the SWAT team by using a signal device to attract bats from the Batcave. The swarm of bats cause a chaos to the crowd of witnesses, Batman beats the SWAT team into submission and then escapes. After witnessing Batman in action, Selina is inspired to begin a life of crime by donning a costume of her own.

Gordon and Essen resume their investigation on Batman, Essen's intuition makes her believe Bruce is indeed Batman. They both have a brief affair together, but Essen leaves Gotham after learning Gordon has an unborn child. Gordon travels to Wayne Manor with Barbara to investigate Bruce's connection to Batman. As they leave the manor together, Gordon confesses the affair to her. Bruce acts as Batman again to intimidate Skeevers for information after recovering the injuries he got during the building explosion. Skeevers panics, he reluctantly contacts Gordon and agrees to testify against Flass. Upset with Gordon's exploits, Loeb blackmails Gordon to drop the case by threatening to give his wife proof of his affair. Skeevers is then hospitalized when his meal is drugged with rat poison, so that he remains silence about the ties between Loeb and Falcone. Batman sneaks into Falcone's manor and overhears him and his nephew, Johnny Viti, discussing a plan to deal with Gordon. Selina suddenly attacks Falcone and his bodyguards in her cat costume in order to steal his valuables.

Bruce plays the audio device he used to record Falcone's conversation and confirms Falcone wants to target Gordon's family. In his mission to help Gordon, Bruce dresses as a motorcyclist over wearing his Batman costume since the attack is on daytime. While leaving home on Loeb's orders, Gordon spots Bruce entering his home garage at high speed. Suspicious, he turns back only to discover Viti and his men already holding his family hostage. Viti flees the scene with Gordon's infant son. Gordon shoots Bruce and takes his motorcycle to chase after Viti, Bruce quickly recovers and chases after them. The car chase ends up on a bridge when Gordon blows out Viti's car tire. While still holding Gordon's baby with his own hands, Viti attacks Gordon in a surprise and Gordon loses his own eyeglasses. Gordon struggles in the hand-to-hand fight when Viti uses a pocket knife to attack until the baby eventually falls. Bruce catches up on time and leaps over the railing to save the baby. Still without his eyeglasses after falling together, Gordon is unable to recognize the unmasked Batman who is standing in front of him, but chooses to let him go for saving his infant son's life.

Flass turns on Loeb by supplying Dent with the evidence and testimony needed to implicate him, and Loeb resigns in disgrace. Gordon is promoted to captain; he stands on the rooftop waiting to meet Batman to investigate the threat of poisoning Gotham's reservoir, a potential plot orchestrated by a criminal calling himself the Joker.

Voice cast[edit]


Producer Bruce Timm noted that the adaptation of the film was relatively straightforward due to the cinematic nature of the original story arc. Bryan Cranston originally turned down the role as James Gordon because he was unfamiliar with both animation and classic comics. Cranston said "I wasn't aware of this level of storytelling in animation."[7]


Critical response[edit]

Batman: Year One received positive reviews upon its release. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 88% based on reviews from 8 critics, with an average rating of 6.8 out of 10.[5]

An IGN review of the film, after its Comic-Con screening, praised the voice actors and concluded with, "This is real, serious adult entertainment that should satisfy longtime fans and newcomers as well."[3] Another review from IGN panned the film, describing it as "dead on arrival – a lifeless bore with stale voice work and a disjointed, sporadic narrative that was best kept on the pages of Frank Miller's stellar graphic novel."[8] Tommy Cook of Collider called the film a "faithful adaptation".[9] The A.V. Club gave the film an A-, saying, "Batman: Year One is a stellar adaptation, copying Miller's words and Mazzucchelli's images almost verbatim at times." Concluding that, "It all recalls what it felt like to read Batman: Year One for the first time, and sense that this was a story that had always existed."[10]

Cinemacrazed criticized the short run time of the film as its main downfall.[11] James O'Ehley of SciFiMoviePage notes that the faithfulness to the source material works for and against the film, with voiceover and dialog slowing down the action, and he goes on to say how the animation could be bolder, the voices gruffer and the sound more stirring but that overall the film is better than other DC animated films.[12]

In an article for The Missing Slate discussing the influence of the comic version of Batman: Year One on film depictions of Batman, Michael Dodd praised the casting of Bryan Cranston as James Gordon. Referencing Cranston's famous role as Walter White on Breaking Bad, he argued that the choice of casting "truly encompassed the character's determination and downright badass attitude in the comic Year One".[13]


The film earned $6.1 million from domestic home media sales.[6]

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray release includes a short animated film titled Catwoman. In the film, Catwoman deals with the crime boss Rough Cut (voiced by John DiMaggio) while trying to stop a cargo shipment.[14] There is also a sneak peek for the 2012 film Justice League: Doom, two featurettes, a commentary, a digital comic book, two Batman: The Animated Series episodes ("Catwalk" and "Cult of the Cat"), a standard edition of the film, and a high definition edition of the film.[4]

On August 11, 2015, Warner Home Video re-released the film on a combo pack, which includes a DVD and Blu-ray copy, a digital copy, and with the graphic novel it was based on.


  1. ^ "Batman: Year One (2011) (V) - Box office / business". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  2. ^ Bory's Kit (July 9, 2011). "'Batman: Year One' Animated Movie Trailer Hits (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ a b "Comic-Con: Batman: Year One Review". IGN. July 23, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Charles Webb (July 15, 2011). "The Animated 'Batman: Year One' DVD/Blu-Ray Gets a Release Date and Specs". MTV.
  5. ^ a b "Batman: Year One (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  6. ^ a b "Batman Year One - DVD Sales and Blu-ray". The Numbers. Nash Information Service. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  7. ^ a b Bory's Kit (April 20, 2011). "'Batman: Year One' Lines Up Voice Cast, Sets Comic-Con Premiere (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ IGN R.L. Shaffer October 18, 2011
  9. ^ Tommy Cook (July 23, 2011). "Comic-Con 2011: BATMAN: YEAR ONE Review". Collider.
  10. ^ Noel Murray (October 19, 2011). "Batman: Year One". The A.V. Club.
  11. ^ "Cinema Crazed". November 20, 2011. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "BACK TO THE BEGINNING: THE EVOLVING INFLUENCE OF 'BATMAN: YEAR ONE'". August 21, 2014. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  14. ^ Rich Sands (July 6, 2011). "First Look: Eliza Dushku Pounces into Animated Catwoman Role". TV Guide.

External links[edit]