Ok, I'm a little late to this party, but I'm definitely on board for this one. It's a Bruce Timm production, it's a bridge between "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight", and it's a return to the Batman role for Kevin Conroy. If ever anything was a can't-miss, it's this!
Well...missed it by that much.
The animation style, which was supposed to be interesting, actually took away from the story at times. A lot of times, it was just a distraction. And a lot of those stories were dull, especially the opener. The chapter with Deadshot, something I had been looking forward to for MONTHS, turned out to be way too short and unsatisfying. I did like the story with the Gotham Cops a lot; unsurprising that it was written by comic writer Greg Rucka, who's handled the Crispus Allen character for many years in the comics.
The special edition and Blu-Ray, on the other hand, is worth your money for the special features alone. The preview of the upcoming Wonder Woman DVD, the Bob Kane documentary (featuring Stan Lee), and the Mirror of the Bat featurette are all winners! Add that to four classic episodes of B:TAS and a solid commentary and that all makes a lackluster film more than worth the price of admission.
Leave the bare-bones edition on the stands. Get the 2-disc DVD or the Blu-Ray!
I watched this at a friend's house and I guess I should have insisted on seeing the special features. I thought the main chapters were extremely underwhelming. Some of the animation was nice. Some. But six different anime styles created a very disjointed viewing experience. I thought the Killer Croc and Deadshot chapters were generally the most successful, but I didn't think the writing or voice acting of any of the segments was so hot.
I was under the impression that Gotham Knight "bridges the gap" between Batman Begins and Dark Knight, but this DVD seems to me to be pretty non-essential viewing. You don't learn a whole lot besides the introduction of Boss Maroni and the Russians mob war in Gotham, and of a minor cop character in Dark Knight. I tend to doubt Deadshot and Killer Croc will be referenced in The Dark Knight so I question whether these cartoons are even going to be canon. I'll guess we'll see on Friday.
Overall though, compared to the Animatrix, which is the template Gotham Knight seems to want to follow, it's a failure. The Animatrix contained a riveting two parter explaining how the Machines gained control over the Earth and built the Matrix, and there was a very good, moody piece about how Neo freed The Kid's mind from the Matrix.
Gotham Knight sums up as six fairly interesting, somewhat weird, but ultimately unconvincing vignettes about Batman. It's set in the Batman Begins/Dark Knight universe but doesn't really represent it well at all, since Chistopher Nolan's Batman movie universe is about grounded, gritty realism, which anime is pretty much the exact opposite of.