David and I sat down and watched Gotham the other night. I have seen a lot of reviews out and so far the reactions seemed to be mixed. From my perspective I was not quite sure what I was getting into with a prequel to the Batman era so I was definitely open to what they were going to show. Now initial impression is that I enjoyed the first episode and am definitely willing to watch more. I think there were some good and bad things about the setup in the pilot. One thing that I found odd was it felt like they were trying to introduce all of the characters that we would recognize in the first episode, which came across a little off to me in terms of the story. The part that I thought was good is that they started with the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha. That is such a well known case to start on that it makes sense and then we hopefully get to see the ripple effect from there.
Too Many Characters
It is funny to talk about a comic book type show having too many characters, but when you introduce them all in the first episode you wonder where you are going to go. I think they basically introduced every character that the audience was already aware of in the first episode. Now they were only glimpses of the characters, but some of the reasoning for some of the characters seemed a bit contrived. At times it felt like things happened specifically to be able to show a glimpse of all the characters. The thing this episode could have been is a good introduction to maybe one of the villains, but it ended up being a hodgepodge and a few stood out, but not enough.
Now the thing the first episode did well is that it introduced James Gordon and the type of man he is going to be. We know that he is a vet and his dad was a district attorney. One of the biggest things that I noted is that James is not quick to kill. He has plenty of opportunities to shoot a criminal who is running from him and tries to run him down instead. There is a chance in the precinct where a man tries to hold a cop hostage and everyone else has an itchy trigger finger, James gets the gun away without taking a shot. The other cops are almost disappointed that they did not get to kill someone. James Gordon is obviously an honest man in a den of thieves and that is a dangerous place to be standing.
The First Crime
The crime that Gotham starts off with is the obvious one, which is good. The killing of Thomas and Martha Wayne parents to Bruce Wayne. For one thing it is good to get this crime out of the way because we all know it is coming, so let’s just get it over with. This worked as a great introduction because it is a high profile case and we kind of get to see how various people deal with the news. Initially James’ partner does not want the case, but since he is already talking to the witness, it sort of forces them to take it. We quickly find out that this was not a typical mugging and that there is more going on to this case. This case does do a great job of introducing us to the seedier side of Gotham and how that might be playing out as time goes on.
As I mentioned before David and I will definitely keep watching. One thing that I liked from a cinematic perspective is how they showed Selina Kyle throughout the episode. She was often shown seeing, but not being seen, which I think fits her character beautifully. She is almost used, at times, as a transition between locations because obviously the thief gets around. I really hope that after this initial glut of character glimpses we get to spend some time really focusing on individual characters, with their own motivations and desires and not keep shoving them all together. The great part about the various characters from Batman is their personalities and how those play out.