Gotham Pilot Review

The Pilot episode of Gotham is by far the best pilot episode of a show I’ve seen so far this year, and realistically one of my favorite pilots possibly ever.

At this point, if you don’t know what Gotham is, you’re kidding me. But here we go! Gotham is the origin story of all the characters from Batman’s Gotham City, mainly centering around Detective Jim Gordon and the police force.

And let’s discuss Jim Gordon, Ben McKenzie, in the main role. I said main role as opposed to lead because Jim Gordon’s story is the center of Gotham’s story, but his journey isn’t the show’s main focus. MANY characters are focused upon in this episode, and that’s what I liked. Because McKenzie’s character doesn’t have too much depth, not yet anyway, and having those other characters to build his character off of really helps. Donal Logue plays Harvey Bullock, Gordon’s partner if you don’t know, and he was functional in his role. His character is hard to judge right off the bat because it is such a different character at different times. But what I did love is his opposition to Gordon, like how he knows more about what’s going on, and how Bullock is giving Gordon the orders not the other way around. Logue pulls these moments off in a near-entrancing way.

David Mazouz, the kid from Touch, is in the show as BRUCE WAYNE and he works fine. He’s about as good as an actor on TV under 15 can get, but his role does work well in the show. What I really love is that Bruce Wayne wasn’t in the pilot much, and that’s really what I was hoping for. This is a prequel and if he’s a central character to the show, you feel like it’s a blatant prequel and not able to function as its own story. Bruce Wayne only popping up twice in the episode (Spoiler Alert?) is a really good thing from my point of view. Catwoman (or Catgirl) too, her role is just a bit of a wink at what’s to come for her character, and she too is just lurking around and not doing to much.

But then the ones that I really liked, nay, loved. Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, or Oswald Cobblepot, since he isn’t Penguin yet. Really all of the mob people were great. The former had a such a presence to her performance, I can’t wait to see more of what she does. And the latter was so horrifyingly entrancing, I’m hoping Penguin stays on for the rest of the season! (But not show, cuz that would be too forced…)

Then the story in general is absurdly incredible for the pilot. It’s Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock trying to solve the Wayne parents murder, but it isn’t really just that. It shows character relations, and really deals with a concept that Hawaii Five-0 and True Detective had: the politics of police work. This show deals with the GCPD in relationship to the mob and the two rivaling mob groups, and who owns who, and who can be bought out by who. It’s all really interesting and a cool storyline I hope continues throughout the series. (Yes, the whole series, not just this season…)

One of the things I loved most about the show was how grand everything felt in terms of setting. In a show called “Gotham” you’d assume that just the Batman characters being younger could make the show, but the director and writers actually made Gotham city feel like a central part of the show, like the city itself. I’ve traveled a lot and in my travels I’ve learned that Boston has always represented the Nolan Gotham, at least from where I’m standing (feel free to comment down below and I’ll explain!), but in Gotham, Gotham City felt like it was a real place, almost like the city in Se7en. (That would be awesome if Somerset and Mills were officers for the GCPD!) The wide shots and imagery of the city made Gotham feel so relevant in the telling of this story.

Another thing that I LOVED, cuz we NEED TO address this, the violence in this show, oh my God! This was just the pilot episode, so I’m sure we won’t see anything nearly this violent again, but for network TV, at 8 pm, where any 7 year-old can turn it on, there were some intense blood spatters and gun fights. I’m not trying to be that guy, I love violence in movies and on TV, but as a frequent network television watcher, I’m just saying that this was like AMC-level violence. If the Gotham Pilot were like a 52-minute short film event, it would probably be rated R because of the blood. Granted, it was still of my favorite parts of the show.

All of that being said, there were three short things I didn’t like about the show. There were a lot of nods and Easter Eggs to other DC comic villains in the pilot to the point I had to step back and wonder how realistic this really was. The Catgirl wink, sure. Fish Mooney and Penguin, definitely. But Poison Ivy? (Spoiler Alert?) Or The Riddler? (Do you care?) I feel like the pilot was trying to set up for future episodes more than it needed to. With that being said, the other issue I have with the pilot is that not much makes sense by the time it ends. There was this kind of big revelation towards the end that was alluded to throughout the episode, and you’re thinking to yourself at the end how little sense it makes at the end of the day.  And the third and final flaw requires an analogy you guys aren’t gonna want me to use.  Ready?  I kind of felt like Alfred in Gotham was like Splinter in the most recent Ninja Turtles movie.  Yup, I told you.  They’re both supposed to be father figures, but ultimately come across as these hardened dictators, keeping strict watch over there kids and will penalize them for doing wrong.  Maybe I’m just too used to Michael Caine, but Alfred just felt way too hard core, even for a Cogne ex-Marine.

However, I still LOVED the pilot to Gotham, and can’t wait to keep watching it. It took the great realism of The Dark Knight Trilogy and combined it with great comic book looks and storylines that I hope we see more of. If the writers are really careful here, Gotham could be on par with some of the great superhero movies we’ve had recently, if not better than some.

You guys should know I watch a lot of TV, maybe even more than movies, and have never given a perfect score to a television pilot, because none have ever been perfect. (So it’s almost a 4 point scale?) But regardless, Gotham was insanely awesome, I’m counting the minutes until next week’s episode, and I hope that this show is really good and the writers don’t screw it up (because there are so many ways to do so…). This is my favorite pilot of the year so far and one of my favorites in recent history. Gotham’s Pilot is a solid and a great ride all-around.

4/5

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on the Pilot episode of “Gotham”. Have you guys seen this episode, or are you going to? Let me know down below! And as always, thanks for reading guys.

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