‘Gotham’ Premiere is a Murky, Unfocused Start for Batman Prequel

Caution: This review contains spoilers on episode one of “Gotham.”

The highly anticipated premiere of “Gotham” aired last Monday evening on FOX. Such a show is to be expected with the success of the “Dark Knight” franchise and predictably begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) parents. The incident is witnessed by Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), whom we revisit throughout the course of the episode as we focus on Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Detective Jim Gordon exudes a bit of arrogance and confidence as a young man in the police force, walking the tightrope of police corruption and mobsters. The fiery spirit contrasts to Gary Oldman’s excellent portrayal of a seasoned Gordon; it will be interesting to see how McKenzie’s character progresses during the series.

The pace was somewhat slow during the episode, but picked up with the pursuit of suspect Mario Pepper (Daniel Stewart Sherman). During the investigation, we are also introduced to a number of characters: Harvey Bulloch (Donal Logue), Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) to name a few. Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) comes in as a strict, no nonsense butler for young Bruce Wayne.

Unfortunately, as promising as the show’s premise is, the premiere was disappointing for a number of reasons. There seemed to be too many cityscape shots between scenes. After the first two, viewers probably understand that Gotham City is a dark and corrupt place.

In addition, the episode was not focused with respect to the tone and camera techniques it would employ. The chase scene breaks awkwardly into extreme closeups of Jim Gordon. The atmospheres of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” as well as that of Bruno Heller’s “The Mentalist” compete for precedence throughout. Finally, there are too many “cameo” moments for the villains we know. Introducing perhaps a couple of villains per episode would have been a better solution. It’s far too convenient that everyone crosses paths with one another so early in the Batman history. Out of all the villains, Penguin stuck out as the winner of the evening, but it seems he’ll be out of the picture for a while if Jim Gordon hopes to stay in a secure position.

Overall, as many of you may agree, “Gotham” has some good ideas that could potentially launch it to a top show this season. It made a lot of errors on its first venture. Let’s hope it picks up in pace and focus in upcoming episodes.


Author: Pat Cuadros

TV & Film Blogger @blogcritics

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