Can Gotham Survive Without Batman? | Gotham “Pilot” Review
We all know the origin story of the Caped Crusader. The untimely demise of Bruce Wayne’s parents has been delved into by the countless iterations of Batman media, and it started the series off with a bang, well, two to be exact.
Gotham, Fox’s new cornerstone series for Monday, has some hefty shoes to fill in the DC Universe of television. First, it was Smallville that gave new life to the Man Of Steel; now it’s Billionaire Playboy Oliver Queen saving Starling City. And it will soon be Barry Allen fighting crime at superhuman speed. So where does Detective James Gordon fit into the fray?
Jim Gordon, played by Ben Mackenzie, is the rugged detective always trying to do good; although, he does have more of an edge than we are used to seeing him have in other iterations. Mackenzie’s take on the famous Det. does not necessarily line-up directly with any Det. Gordon we have previously seen. It does make sense since he is far younger and more adversarial at in Fox’s new take. The Pilot shows Gordon pursuing the endless scum of Gotham alongside veteran Detective Harvey Bullock, the more “shoot first ask questions later,” Detective played by Donal Logue. Throughout the Pilot, a ton of famous Villians of the Batman Universe are hinted at, almost too many. Hopefully, season one will let us focus only on The Penguin.
Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Taylor, is the creepy umbrella wielding villain we’ve come to loathe. Taylor does a great job conveying the creepy, ruthless persona of the criminal mastermind. Although the episode was pretty heavy-handed at making sure you knew that he is in-fact the Penguin, it was really the only showing of great characterization of a soon-to-be Supervillain. Having said that, all the other villains hinted at, at least five of them, had little characterization.
Being overbloated with characters is the main thing that made this episode feel slow. Having so many characters forced the creators to spread the screen time out such that we didn’t really get a good feel for where the series is going, except for the perceived rise of The Penguin throughout the first season. Where the villains were slighted in screen time, Bruce Wayne seemed to have the perfect amount.
It’s hard to remember that this show isn’t really about Bruce Wayne, but instead it’s about his Detective pal Jim Gordon. Fox enforced this idea by giving Bruce Wayne, played by David Mazouz, just enough scenes to satiate the desire for The Batman. While he was only in a few scenes, Mazouz did a great job conveying the grief-stricken drive that will one day turn Bruce Wayne into the savior of Gotham.
The Pilot episode has built a ton of potential for diving through the darkness of Gotham. Detective Gordon said it best himself, “however dark and scary the world may be right now, there will be light.” The Pilot may have been overloaded and force fed to us a tad too much, but what is to come is why we’ll stay. The framework of another great DC show is here; it just has to be fleshed out sooner rather than later.
+ Great casting for Gordon and Cobblepot
+ Shows Det. Gordon in his more hands-on days
+ The Gotham we’ve imagined is brought to life on the TV screen
– Too many Villains are hinted at with very little screen time
– Some pretty cheesy lines and over-handed storytelling