BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM Review

511

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace, and Troy Nixey, BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM is a 1920s-based tale that finds explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashing an ancient evil, expediting his return to Gotham City after a two-decade hiatus. The logic/science-driven Batman must battle Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham, along the way being aided and confronted by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and Bruce’s beloved wards. Prepare for a mystical, often terrifying Batman adventure unlike any other.

When it comes to these animated Batman movies, I like the “inspired by” approach — THE LONG HALLOWEEN, HUSH, GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, etc. — to those that are straight-up adaptations — YEAR ONE, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.  Now, I’m not saying I dislike the latter version — I’ve really enjoyed most of these animated Batman movies — I just enjoy them a bit more if changes made to the source material produce some cool surprises.

This new animated Batman movie is based on the three-issue comic book miniseries published from November 2000 to January 2001 under DC Comics’ Elseworlds banner.  It was written by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, illustrated by Troy Nixey (pencils) and Dennis Janke (inks), and Mignola providing covers.  It was released as a collected graphic novel in 2022.

When it comes to this film review, however, I can’t speak to any changes that might have been made to BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM comic book story for the animated film since this is one Batman story that I’ve yet to read.

Sorry…don’t take my Batman Fancard away!

Truth be told, I’ve actually ordered the new edition of it that DC is releasing on April 4, 2023, so it’ll be fun to read it, compare the two, and see the changes, if any, that were made.  Now, let’s get straight to the review…

 

While I prefer Batman stories that are more “grounded and realistic,” that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy one that has fantastical elements.  And boy, does BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM have some fantastical elements!  I found it to be basically a Batman horror movie.

In short, the film is set in the 1920s and Bruce Wayne has been gone from Gotham for a decade — traveling the world on a ship on a voyage of discovery.  We learn that at a young age, Bruce’s parents were murdered by an assailant with a knife 20 years prior.  Along with Bruce is his trusted butler/father/partner Alfred Pennyworth, as well as three orphans (Dick Grayson, Sanjay Tawd, and Kai Li Cain — all versions of “Robin”) he’s taken in along the way.  While exploring the Artic, Bruce and his team come across the remains of a failed expedition that had originated in Gotham and was led by Professor Oswald Cobblepott.  Bruce soon discovers that there are two survivors — including Cobblepott –but something just isn’t right.  Cobblepott is running around butt-naked in subzero temps and frozen terrain, while the other has become some sort of frozen zombie.  Bruce ends up fighting off some crazy creatures and takes the frozen zombie survivor back to Gotham (in a cell) with him and his team.

Something apparently supernatural is happening.  But Bruce — and man of reason and science — believes that there must be a logical explanation to it all.

Upon his return to Gotham, Bruce is quite shocked by the city he finds as it has become a city that’s been devastated by crime and corruption.  It’s time for his long-panned mission to come to fruition and unleash The Batman upon Gotham City.  But it’s not typical street thugs, gangsters, and corrupt city officials that prove to be Gotham and The Batman’s biggest threat.  No, something evil was awakened in the Artic and the doom has now come to Gotham…and it’s up to The Dark Knight to take it on — even if he doesn’t believe it’s real — to save the city.

Oh yeah, what does the Wayne Family have to do with this ancient evil that has returned to Gotham?

In addition to the aforementioned characters, THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM also includes Elseworlds versions of Etrigen the Demon (Of course he’s in it!), Man-Bat, Lucius Fox, Mister Freeze, Talia, Ra’s Al Ghul, Killer Croc, Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Jim Gordon, Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Poison Ivy, and Barbara Gordon/Oracle. While given a Lovecraftian and supernatural spin, all are not far from their traditional incarnations.   I liked the changes made — some more than others — and they fit the story perfectly.

The voice cast is great, highlighted by David Giuntoli as Batman, Tati Gabrielle as Kai Li Cain, Patrick Fabian (my man Howard from BETTER CALL SAUL!) as Harvey Dent, and Christopher Gorham as Oliver Queen. It’s brilliantly cast throughout.

As far as the animation, I thought it looked fantastic.  I felt just a bit of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES vibe to it.  All the characters looked great, and the action and movement were fluid.

Make sure you watch and listen carefully for a variety of Batman Easter eggs that are dropped in throughout.  THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM is weird, crazy, and scary. I quite enjoyed it, and I recommend you give it a view!- Bill “Jett” Ramey

GRADE: B+

BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM is available on Blu-ray and DVD starting March 27th.  Order your copy HERE!


David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) reprises his Batman: Soul of the Dragon role as the voice of the Dark Knight in this all-new 1920s-based DC Elseworlds tale. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) makes her DC animated debut as Kai Li Cain, Batman’s closest ally.

Elevating the action and drama are DC animation veterans Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Harvey Dent, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire) as James Gordon, and David Dastmalchian (Dune, The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon.

Rounding out the cast is Gideon Adlon (Legion of Super-Heroes) as Oracle, Karan Brar (Jessie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise) as Sanjay “Jay” Tawde, Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners) as Kirk Langstrom, Darin De Paul (Mortal Kombat Legends & Overwatch franchises) as Thomas Wayne, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Jason Marsden (Young Justice, A Goofy Movie) as Dick Grayson & Young Bruce Wayne, Navid Negahban (Homeland, The Cleaning Lady) as Ra’s al Ghul, Emily O’Brien (Days of Our Lives) as Talia al Ghul & Martha Wayne, Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) as Lucius Fox, William Salyers (The Regular Show) as Cobbelpot & Professor Manfurd, and Matthew Waterson (The Croods: Family Tree) as Jason Blood/Etrigan.

Sam Liu (The Death and Return of Superman) fills the dual role of producer and co-director of Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, working closely with co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) to bring to animated life the script from screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse). Producers are Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Legion of Super-Heroes). Executive Producer is Michael UslanSam Register is Executive Producer.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham will be available on March 28 to purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray Discs will be available to purchase online and in-store at major retailers. Pre-order your copy now.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Batman: Shadows of Gotham (New Featurette) – An examination of themes of existential dread in a world drenched in gothic overtones that combine to create one of Batman’s most unique adventures.
  • Audio Commentary – Filmmakers and storytellers, including producer/co-director Sam Liu and screenwriter Jase Ricci, take in all the gothic horror and intrigue of Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham.