If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with Batman. I don’t really remember when it started. I just know I am. It feels like it’s been this way since I was born. When I was younger, It was all about the movies and the cartoons. The comics didn’t really come into the picture until I was a teenager. Once that happened, my obsession grew to unimaginable heights. When I was a kid, the obsession was Batman centric. When I got older, and read the comics, it was everything. Batman AND his world became incredibly fascinating to me. I began to fall in love with characters like Commissioner Gordon, Dick Grayson, Selina Kyle, Alfred Pennyworth, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, and the rest of these colorful and dark people.
However, what I really grew to love was Gotham City itself. Such a dilapidated, scum filled, mysterious, rotten to the core city. A place, a hell on earth, that truly needed someone like Batman to save it. So, when DC Comics announced they were making a television show about how Gotham became the city we know, I was ecstatic. A show that explores the beginnings of one of the best fictional places ever? Who wouldn’t be excited?! Finally, after a long wait, Gotham has premiere on FOX. So, this first episode starts right at the beginning. A young boy and his parents walking down a dark alleyway after a great time at the movies. Suddenly ambushed by a mugger, a man of the night, eager to snag their valuables. To end this encounter, the mugger shoots and kills the young boys beloved parents. This boy, as you should know, is Bruce Wayne.
Moments later, Detectives James Gordon, our main character, and his partner Harvey Bullock arrive on the scene. While Bullock ponders ways to avoid being involved with this case, Gordon makes a promise to the young Wayne. He will find and capture the man who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. Afterwards, we travel to some of the blackest pits of Gotham as Jim and Harvey try to solve the Wayne murder case. This is episode one in a nutshell. Once the credits played, I was sporting a big grin on my nerdy face. This was really a wonderful pilot. There were a few points where I felt the show needed work, but I was satisfied non the less.
First of all, I gotta say how much I love the look of this show. Honestly, I haven’t loved the look of Gotham City this much since the Tim Burton Batman film from ’89. Not that I didn’t like, say, the Nolan Gotham City, but I’ve always been a fan of the more art deco/gothic style. I would say this Gotham is a perfect marriage of Burton and Nolan’s Gotham Cities. A bit more Burton than Nolan, but it’s a nice mixture. I also loved just how dark and brutal the city was. A first episode is mainly about showcasing what to expect tonally and stylistically from the rest of the series. I feel this pilot did that incredibly well. A true portrayal of how Gotham should be. Nothing like how R Kelly described it! Yea! I’m calling you out, man! I hope you’re still trapped in that closet, you jerk!
Anyway…Gotham also showcased some stellar performances. I really loved Donal Logue and Jada Pinkett Smith the most. Logue is the perfect Bullock. His look, charm, and attitude works so well for Bullock. Pinkett Smith plays a brand new character named Fish Mooney, a character I quickly loved. I can’t really think of many female crime bosses, so it’s nice to see one for a change. A really awesome one. I can’t wait to see more of her. As far as the rest of the cast, everyone was pretty solid. Ben McKenzie was quite good as a young Gordon. Not as humble as I’d like him to be, but still a man with a heart of gold. Fun fact! This isn’t McKenzie’s first time in Gotham. He actually voiced Batman in the animated Batman: Year One. While he was decent as a Young Bruce Wayne, I like him more as a young Gordon.
Speaking of Young Bruce Wayne, David Mazouz was spectacular as Bruce Wayne. He did a great job capturing the fear and intensity of Bruce. The most emotional bits in the pilot where because of Mazouz’s wonderful portrayal. Now, while I really enjoyed this episode, it wasn’t without flaws. For example, the episode was a bit predictable. Mainly because we’ve seen Batman’s origin story a lot. I mean, everyone knows how Batman became Batman. We’ve seen it and read it a million times. So, it was hard to really be surprised. Thankfully, the pilot took a few nice turns to make things less familiar. Along with predictability, This first episode was a bit cheesy. I don’t mind cheese, but it was a tad much at times.
Also, I wish we got more of Selina Kyle. She doesn’t really do much expect sneak around in the background. However, episode two is called “Selina Kyle” so I suspect she will be getting a bit more screen time soon. One little nitpick I have is the character Ivy Pepper. Ivy Pepper is supposed to be a young Poison Ivy. Now, this might be too early to say since I don’t know their plans, but that is not Posion Ivy! Why couldn’t she be named Pamela Isley? I hope this is just temporary, and the character gets a name change or something down the road. Ultimately, though, I really dug this episode. I remember hearing some Batfans complaining this show would suck simply because Batman isn’t in it. Well, can a Batman related show work without having Batman in it? Yes. I think it can.
I’ll give Gotham “Pilot” Episode an 8.5 out of 10.