The Nerd here and I’ve got something really special for you.  I was able to get my hands on an advanced copy of Batman: Year One, and I have to tell you it was everything I was hoping for.  I’ve been a fan of DC’s series of animated films since the beginning.  I’ve seen and own every one and just from a movie fan’s point of view; these are some of the best feature length animated movies ever produced.  You can say what you want about Disney and Marvel, DC beats them hands down when it comes to their stand alone animated films.

The voice talent they collect for each film is outstanding.  Beyond the fan favorite standbys like Kevin Conroy and Tim Daley, producer Bruce Timm and voice director Andrea Romano put together a lot of great talent for each of their films.  But enough of the glad handing and back patting, let’s get on with the review.

If you loved or even liked Frank Miller’s comic Batman: Year One, then you aren’t going to be disappointed with this film adaptation.  Animation and story follows the comic almost precisely with just a few elements added or taken away.  All the crime noir locals, subtle humor, dark, gritty images and violence indicative of Miller’s style are all present.  I don’t find Batman: Year One as visually pleasing as Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, but this film is still a pleasure to watch.

I have a couple of minor complaints about this film that some will say are superficial.  They probably are in the grand scheme of things, but giving an honest review is what I am here for.  Ben McKenzie’s performance as Batman wasn’t noteworthy to say the least.  Even though Batman/Bruce Wayne was only 25 in the film, Ben’s performance was flat and a little understated.  His Bruce Wayne portrayal was spot on, but he just couldn’t pull off both roles.  As with most actors, animated or live action, it is difficult to pull off both roles as well as Kevin Conroy, Christian Bale and Bruce Greenwood have.

Even though the film is a very close adaptation of Miller’s original work, I wish they would have beefed up the character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman a bit more.  I found that Eliza Dushku was really underutilized when she was capable of so much more.  I hope we will get to see Catwoman in a larger role in future films and that Eliza will be given the opportunity to portray her again.

On a positive note, Bryan Cranston does an absolutely astonishing job as Lieutenant James Gordon.  I wasn’t too sure about how well he’d be able to pull off the character.  As a fan of the Timmverse, I have been use to Bob Hastings voicing the Gordon over the years.  Sadly, the character has been somewhat missing from the previous Batman animated films.  It’s was gratifying to see that they took great care in casting the role and giving him a center stage presence in this film.

What you can take away after watching this film is that Frank Miller’s original story has been well adapted for this medium.  Bruce Timm and his team and produced another amazing film that does justice to Miller’s work.  I can only wait with hopeful anticipation for the upcoming The Dark Knight Returns sometime next year.  If you’re a Batman fan or a fan of Frank Miller, you should enjoy this film immensely.

The film features the voice talents of Ben McKenzie (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Bryan Cranston (James Gordon), Eliza Dushku (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), Katie Sackhoff (Sarah Essen) and Alex Rocco (Carmine Falcone).  Long time DC universe animator Bruce Timm is executive producer and the film is co-directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu.

Batman: Year One comes to Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and for Download on October 18th.