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Gotham Season 2 DVD

‘Gotham’ Season 2 DVD Review

I love Gotham. I think it’s a lot of fun and I think that the crazier it gets, the better. Here’s my Gotham Season 2 DVD review.

In a lot of movies, TV and comics, there is an idea that Batman created his own Rogues gallery by dressing up as a bat and lurking in the night, somehow inspiring a lot of crazy people to put on costumes and try to kill him. Gotham does not subscribe to this point of view. In Gotham, years before Batman decided on a cowl instead of a mask, the city is already completely nuts, hopelessly corrupt and the lunatics literally running the asylum— this lunatic being the excellent Hugo Strange, who comes out to play with people’s minds and turn them loose on an unsuspecting city.

Let me back up a few. Gotham is the story of a young Jim Gordon, a detective, who comes to Gotham and learns that you can’t effectively police the city by following the rules and the laws. This sets up Gordon as a future police commissioner who will, in a few years, welcome the assistance of an obviously crazy guy in a bat suit, who is somehow extremely effective at fighting crime. Jim’s partner, Harvey Bullock, has essentially a good heart, but, born and bred in Gotham, he’s not great at following rules, And he’s not above a little healthy graft. They both like their crazy with some shades of gray. Jim is dating Dr. Leslie Tompkins, who is brought in as the Gotham coroner to give her character something interesting to do.

GOTHAM: (L-R) Bruce (David Mazouz) and Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) in the Rise of the Villains: ÒKnock, KnockÓ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Sept. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

GOTHAM: (L-R) Bruce (David Mazouz) and Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

And that crazy guy in a bat costume? He’s young Bruce Wayne, about 13, learning the hard way how the city works and getting schooled in the sweet science by his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, who has a military history in this incarnation. They both hang out with young Selina Kyle, the girl who would be Catwoman, a street smart urchin who has a little thing for Bruce.

Gotham Season 2 saw the advent of Theo Galavan, a mayoral candidate looking for nothing less than the destruction of Gotham’s infrastructure and the death of Bruce Wayne. Galavant was a lot of fun and embraced just how crazy Gotham could be, right down to a secret society arranged around Saint Dumas, something something, kid killing.

There’s a lot less Fish Mooney this season, which made me quite happy. I am just not a fan. But I do love the Riddler, who starts to come into his own in Gotham Season 2, right down to killing someone. And the Penguin just never stops being fun. He even has a weird side-story, where he meets his family, who are right out of Tim Burton Batman, including Paul Reubens surprising everyone by reprising his role of Penguin’s father from Batman Returns.

GOTHAM: Guest star Jada Pinkett Smith in the "Wrath of the Villains: A Legion of Horribles" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

GOTHAM: Guest star Jada Pinkett Smith in the “Wrath of the Villains: A Legion of Horribles” ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Gotham Season 2 also brought on Michael Chiklas as Gordon’s by-the-book boss, Nathanial Barnes. I love Barnes and think he brings a lot of fun to the show, a mentor for Jim. But I feel kind of bad for Chiklis, who deserves his own Breaking Bad quality show to dominate. But in the meantime, watch Chiklis try to dial it down for a supporting role.

My favorite part of Gotham Season 2 was a compassionate origin story for Mr. Freeze, that had a guy doing something that didn’t make a ton of sense, but nevertheless worked. Also, Bruce actually makes some headway in the search for his parents’ killers.

The Blu-ray quality is, of course, excellent. I know that a lot of you “download” stuff now, but I think that you really can’t beat the picture on a Blu-ray. Also, the extras on the Blu-ray are a lot of fun, if you’re into that type of thing, which I am. In particular, the featurette on Alfred is a lot of fun.

If I had to complain about anything, I think that Bruce needs to start hitting the books and the gym a little more than he already is. But that’s sort of minor complaint.

If you’re a Batman fan, Gotham is made for you. Sure, Season 1 has some missteps trying to find it’s identity, but I felt like Season 2 let it’s freak flag fly. Looking forward to Season Three!

GOTHAM: L-R: Gust star Paul Reubens, Robin Lord Taylor, and guest stars Melinda Clarke, Kaley Ronayne and Justin Mark in the "Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 21 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Cara Howe/FOX

GOTHAM: L-R: Gust star Paul Reubens, Robin Lord Taylor, and guest stars Melinda Clarke, Kaley Ronayne and Justin Mark in the “Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn” ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Cara Howe/FOX

Episodes

  1. Damned If  You Do
  2. Knock Knock
  3. The Last Laugh
  4. Strike Force
  5. Scarification
  6. By Fire
  7. Mommy’s Little Monster
  8. Tonight’s The Night
  9. A Bitter Pill to Swallow
  10. The Son of Gotham
  11. Worse Than A Crime…
  12. Mr. Freeze
  13. A Dead Man Feels No Cold
  14. This Ball of Mud and Meanness
  15. Mad Grey Dawn
  16. Prisoners
  17. Into the Woods
  18. Pinewood
  19. Azrael
  20. Unleashed
  21. A Legion of Horribles
  22. Transference

Bonus Features

  • Gotham: 2015 Comic-Con Panel: Warner Bros. Television Presents a Night of DC Entertainment at Comic-Con 2015: Gotham
  • Gotham by Noir Light: Gotham is deeply cast into the film noir technique and edgy attitude. The camera’s lens is able to pick up on the subtlety for the fans to enjoy a modern update to an age old tradition, of how to paint with shadow and light.
  • Alfred: Batman’s Greatest Ally: This story is about Gotham’s take on the father/son bond between Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred. The depth of the mythology from the comic books comes to life on the series. Poignant and powerful.
  • Cold Hearted – The Tale of Victor Fries: The mix of cold blood and a warm heart. We examine the humanistic melt-down of Victor Fries in pursuit of a cure for his love, Nora.
  • Character featurettes

Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

‘Gotham’ Review: New Villains Apply Here

Gotham will be about why a city might need a guy to dress up as a bat and go out at night punching people.

Gotham is a new show about a pre-Batman Gotham City, a cesspool of corruption, rampant street crime, and a breeding ground for psychopaths, in particular The Riddler, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and down the road, possibly a Joker or two? The question, “What’s it like to be a cop in Gotham City?” has been asked before. (Pick up the excellent comic Gotham Central to read some interesting stories about Gotham cops dealing with extremely dangerous lunatics who are quite simply out of the police’s league.) However, the new TV show promises to take us to nascent Gotham City, where the lunatics are just beginning to bubble to the surface of a good old fashioned mob run city. Think Chicago in 1925 except with criminals who are OCD in some very specific way, say, stealing cat-themed art and jewelry.

The Batman universe is ripe for expansion in a way that I don’t care about with, say, Superman or the Hulk. As fictional cities go, Gotham has a lot of heft. First of all, we know and care about the police commissioner, James Gordon, the moral rock that rights a terminally corrupt police force. But the crime in Gotham was so perverse that it spawned a new kind of villain, people so insane that their pathology plays out as criminal enterprises. For instance, Gotham features a young Edward Nigma, who will become the Riddler, whose crimes are secondary to his need to admit them in the form of riddles. Everything is a game to him, but crime is serious and violent, so there’s also that part of him. But at this point, he’s a socially awkward crime scene tech who likes riddles. So I think that the show is going to be about Jim Gordon slowly rooting out corruption, but more so, it will be about why a city might need a guy to dress up as a bat and go out at night punching people.

Now me? I’m predestined to watch this because I read the comics and love the Batman universe. At least two of the best five Batman stories ever begin before Jim Gordon became police commissioner, Year One by Frank Miller and Scott Snyder’s recent Zero Year. Sure, Gordon is a great leader, but it’s also interesting to see him in the trenches. So I’m in. But why should you watch it? Well, right off the bat (snicker), it is the best reviewed pilot of this season. So I guess it’s not just for nerds.

The first episode was good, but had a lot going on in the way of pilots. We spent a lot of time on exposition and met many, many characters– and maybe a few too many who were winking at the camera to say, “I’m going to be important later,” like a young Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy. But that’s pilots. I was really interested. But it wasn’t a movie with a start to finish plot. It was an introduction to the universe. I might have had an advantage over the casual Batman fan since I’ve been waiting to see Renee Montoya onscreen for fifteen years. (You’re doing great, Victoria Cartegena.) Jim Gordon is partnered up with Harvey Bullock, a grizzled veteran who knows the streets of Gotham backwards and forwards. But just how corrupt is Bullock?

One funny thing in the episode was that no one knew who the good guys were. So Jim Gordon butting heads with the ultra moral Crispus Allen and Renee was a lot of fun. Also, I enjoyed it when John Dorman as Carmine Falcone really turned out to be Gotham’s moral center, drawing the line at killing cops (in a slaughterhouse with a cleaver). Dorman did a great job, but he has some big shoes to fill since Tom Wilkinson played Falcone in Batman Begins. But I did enjoy what Dorman was doing with the character.

I liked how crazy some of the characters were. Oswald Cobblepot gleefully whacking a cowed foe while some criminal cohorts look on. Eddie Nygma having a full body orgasm when Jim Gordon answers one of his riddles. A young Bruce Wayne standing on the edge of his roof just to see how scared he’d get. Gotham is a land of over-the-top characters, so it fit.

The plot was more like a bunch of stuff that happened. We start off investigating the random murder of two of Gotham City’s most prominent citizens, the Waynes, whose son Bruce was spared by the gunman. Quickly though, we’re just walking through the underworld of Gotham and getting introduced to increasingly crazy people. One thing I never like, particularly in a first episode, is the main character, Jim Gordon, getting into a scrape that there’s no way he can get out of. I won’t spoil it too much, but you might find yourself muttering “deus as machina.” But that’s okay. The sets and city scapes are spectacular, the directing was quite good, even stylish, and I am anxious for the next episode and the season.

The acting was all over the place with Jada Pinkett Smith doing a full on Cruella De Ville impression, which seemed weird. Donal Logue almost ruined his performance as Harvey Bullock by seeming to have so much fun with it. David Mazouz was excellent as Bruce Wayne and the best male chid actor I’ve seen in a long time. (Why, oh why, couldn’t they have gotten someone who could act in The Phantom Menace?) And I can’t wait to see more of Sean Pertwee as Alfred, who seemed to bring a lot to the table.

I almost never say stuff like this, but the clothes really jumped out at me as being movie quality. Everyone is so stylish in that timeless way that lets us know that it’s modern day, but still kind of looks like a movie from the ’40s. I will give a particular shout-out to Alfred who was the toughest looking dandy I had ever seen. And there’s this moment with a big guy in a bag mask with a cleaver that is absolutely hilarious and it’s all the costume.

For Batman fans, this is a weird take on the Penguin. He almost seemed like a serial killer. I’m used to the Penguin as entrepreneur with no scruples, more like a war profiteer than a guy who would slit someone’s throat for a sandwich. But it’s not the comics, I get it. We’ll go with it for a bit.

Will we see the young Bruce Wayne visit his first dojo?

Selina Kyle seemed like she was already, essentially, Catwoman, stealing some milk to feed some alley cats and wearing a leather cat costume, even though she was 13. We’ve already seen the Penguin with his first umbrella. And who among this cast of crazies is going to eventually be the Joker? Who knows? Probably not that comedian, but I think we’re supposed to think it. Anyway, I think this is going to be a fun show. Check it out!


Gotham Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Early Review of ‘Gotham’

Gotham has been buzzed about since pilot season, when casting news was coming fast and furious, giving fans a chance to predict how the show would unfold. The series premiere is upon us. Will Gotham meet our expectations?

Gotham is about the city of Gotham before Batman comes into being. The first episode sets the stage for the rise of Batman, showing Bruce Wayne watch the robbery and fatal shooting of his parents. But the series isn’t about Bruce Wayne. At the center of Gotham is Detective James Gordon, who gets his eyes opened to how the law works in his city. (Hint: It doesn’t.)

I was lucky enough to receive an early screener for the first episode. Of course, I had high hopes simply because I want it to be good. Anything set in a superhero universe has my attention. Like most pilots, this first episode has its ups and downs. It isn’t awful, by any means, but it also isn’t the stellar first episode I had been hoping for.

Ben McKenzie (The O.C.), who plays Jim Gordon, is wonderful. He deftly shows all the facets of personality of the soon-to-be police commish. He starts out slightly cocky, but honest and brave. As the underground workings of the city start to reveal themselves, he goes through disbelief, doubt, and then finally shows resolve to stand his ground. McKenzie has a great “hero” look and was perfectly cast.

His partner, Detective Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy), is the jaded veteran who baptizes Gordon in the ways of organized crime. Logue was a little too glib for my taste, a little too much of a carny. But perhaps his performance will even out as time goes on.

Speaking of over the top, I love Jada Pinkett Smith, but as Fish Mooney she lays it on way too thick. She’s an actress whose used to playing a good guy, so this is unfamiliar territory. She falls into a common trap of playing the bad guy like a bad guy. See, bad guys don’t know they’re bad; they think they’re right. If she backed off the hooded eyes, the slow and heavy manner of speech, she’d be dead on.

Other characters from Batman’s world are sprinkled throughout the episode. Selina Kyle, a young Catwoman played by newcomer Camren Bicondova, opens the whole episode with some criminal shenanigans. We don’t know much about her, but the episode hints she will be playing a large role in Bruce’s life. The Riddler is briefly seen as Edward Nygma, the coroner. Cory Michael Smith (Olive Kitteridge), who plays him, is delightful. He provides much needed comedy and quickness in his one scene. Robin Taylor (Walking Dead, The Good Wife guest star) plays Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin. The character is written too broadly for my taste, but the actor rises to the occasion.

In fact, my biggest problem with the episode is the storyline involving The Penguin. The ending comes out of nowhere. I can stretch my suspension of disbelief so that it makes sense, but just barely.

The entire episode is a little too over the top. Maybe I’ve become too used to the grounded, gritty reality of Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but heightening the characterizations and plot points so much rubs me the wrong the way. Gotham is a little too much Tim Burton and not enough Nolan.

However, I’m guessing FOX will go against its usual M.O. of ditching a show too early and give this one time to find its groove. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

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