Batman is one of the most iconic comic book characters and being able to see his origin story unfold in the new “Gotham” TV series is frankly too good to pass up. Right from the first moments of the pilot episode you can clearly see that Bruno Heller, the producer of Gotham has taken quite a lot of inspiration from the latest Batman movies created by Christopher Nolan, as here you can experience a dark, gritty, corrupted city, pretty much like you can see in the comic books.
Creating an origin story can be really hard, especially since there are multiple Batman versions and each one of us already has a favorite. Despite that, Gotham manages to take the old elements and imbue them with some exciting ones in order to provide something that will spark the interest in both fans of the superhero and newcomers alike.
The beginning of the pilot is centered on the murder scene of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Since this is the origin story, here we see a young Bruce Wayne who doesn’t have the courage to face the killer of his parents and instead he witnesses their death, something that clearly affects him during the episode. David Mazouz’s performance of Bruce Wayne is stellar in Gotham’s Pilot, because we can clearly see in him a young Batman that tries to get a hold of his feelings and commending Jim Gordon for his efforts.
The scene is which Bruce’s parents are murdered is memorable and nicely portrayed. It takes place in a dark alley, and the iconic moment is captured brilliantly with the use of clever camera angles that focus on the action, then provide us a panoramic view of the whole scene.
After this scene we will get acquainted to detective Jim Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock. There is a major difference between the two, as Harvey is a long lasting cop in the GCPD, corrupted and sometimes with a low morale. However, Harvey is a loyal partner and even throughout this pilot episode he will save Gordon at least once. Jim Gordon on the other hand is an iconic character and in Gotham he is definitely in the center of attention. Unfortunately, instead of getting an origin story for him as well, we are placed in the middle of the action. Jim was in the military and now he came back to Gotham (we don’t know from where) to help the people here. He is already engaged with his girlfriend (whose character is filled with intricacy and some secrets even from the beginning) and he is already partnered with Harvey.
During this episode, as the cop duo tries to solve the Wayne crime, we will be able to see the young versions of many villains in the Batman franchise. The most important one in this episode is the Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot which we can see here as a goon that works for the club owner Fish Mooney. For some reason, he decides to betray her and this is where the story takes an abrupt downfall, with his death hanging in the balance at some point during the episode.
Speaking of her, Fish Mooney is a new character brought by Gotham, and her focus is clearly to take over the city. She is wonderfully portrayed by Jada Pinkett Smith who clearly has a way to make the character feel fresh and interesting.
Alongside the Penguin, we are also able to see the Riddler and Poison Ivy, although they aren’t an important part of the story. Instead, they only appear for a brief moment, but enough to show us that they are a part of this world. Maybe we will have the opportunity to see their characters develop further in the future episodes. We also get a young CatWoman who doesn’t talk, but instead is the key witness to major events in the episode, including the death of Bruce’s parents.
As a Pilot, this episode does a lot of things right. It shows the intensity, brutality and violence on the streets of Gotham. Mostly, this is an action packed episode and that’s really good, considering the fact that we are talking about a superhero series. It’s pretty clear that Gotham has a few script problems in the beginning as it doesn’t manage to bring us that many details in regards to the character origins, especially when we are talking about the two policemen. Despite that, the connection between Harvey and Jim does seem to unfold until the end of the episode, which shows great promise in regards to the next episodes.
In conclusion, the pilot episode of Gotham brings a solid experience and it successfully manages to enter us in the dark world filled with intricacy, corruption and death that is Gotham City. Despite its rough edges, the episode is one of the best TV experiences we had in a while, so we can’t wait to see how the characters are developed as the story progresses.