Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham

Mar 25, 2023 | Posted by in Movies

Bruce Wayne takes on an ancient evil threatening 1920s Gotham City in Christopher Berkeley and Sam Liu’s Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham.

The Elseworlds brand is one of the many interesting things about DC. It allows them to place their iconic characters in unfamiliar situations and explore ideas without affecting the main continuity. Continuity isn’t generally a priority for DC but the Elseworlds stories tend to be far more abstract because they aren’t designed to have a lasting impact on the character. They merely exist in their own pocket universe that allows them to operate entirely on their own terms.


Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na…1920s Batman

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham takes place in the 1920s which is before Batman’s first real-world appearance. The story is based in the supernatural with Bruce Wayne aka Batman (David Giuntoli) becoming aware of a threat to Gotham that defies his understanding. Bruce Wayne is established early on as a man of science who looks for a logical scientific explanation for whatever he encounters. Part of his arc across the film is becoming a believer in things that defy science and putting his trust in alternative methods for dealing with them.

David Giuntoli’s take on the Dark Knight is a good one. There’s a rawness to his vocal performance that matches the idea of this being a version of Batman who is very early in his crime-fighting career. A portion of the film deals with his self-imposed exile from Gotham while he prepares to return and rid the city of the criminal element infesting it. That mission naturally transitions to purging the existential supernatural threat that he becomes aware of. Giuntoli plays the role with confidence, integrity and the right amount of uncertainty. His performance coupled with the writing stops the character from being hypercompetent and enables him to be overwhelmed by what he’s facing.

The story itself is mixed in execution. It starts off being very deliberately paced as it establishes its characters, core relationships and develops the story but then becomes rushed in the second half with too many elements being introduced in quick succession. The imbalance makes for a jarring viewing experience with the viewer expected to internalise a lot of detail very quickly. Characters become lost in the storytelling noise and the developments become somewhat difficult to follow. It also lacks a strong antagonist driving the narrative. The baton is passed between a number of threats that Bruce faces with none of them receiving much in the way of attention. Splitting the film into two parts with the first half focusing on Bruce Wayne establishing himself as Batman before facing the threat in the second part may have solved the problem. The running time isn’t long enough to do everything this film sets out to do which is unfortunate as there is a compelling story being told based on Lovecraftian Horror that never quite has the opportunity to breathe.


There ain’t no party like a Green Arrow party!

One thing the film definitely boasts is a strong thematic throughline. The idea of “sins of the father” weaves through Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, Gotham City and extends to questions of legacy around what Bruce and Oliver can leave behind for others to inherit. The stakes are raised by creating a personal connection between the Wayne family and Gotham which makes Bruce feel responsible for ending the threat that his family had a hand in creating. It’s an organic way to create meaningful personal stakes when time is limited and makes it easier to invest in the events that play out.

Visually the film is very impressive. The animation style has a classic feel to it, it’s consistently vibrant and the set pieces are wonderfully realised. The 1920s aesthetic is used very well in clothing, the general design of the world and Batman’s gadgets. Horror elements are also suitably creepy so there is constantly something to catch the eye and a unique look to everything that will stick in the mind long after the credits roll.

Characters outside of Bruce Wayne are generally well done. Oliver Queen (Christopher Gorham) as a wealthy hedonist hiding pain and guilt makes for a strong foil to Bruce Wayne and a compelling take on the character, Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle) is strong much needed emotional support for Bruce and Harvey Dent (Patrick Fabian) as a good man in bad surroundings number among the main connections Bruce has throughout. Other mainstays like Alfred (Brian George) and Lucius Fox (Tim Russ) fill their expected roles without straying too far from what viewers would expect.

It’s interesting by itself to see how this alternate reality plays with these characters and remixes their familiar roles in creative ways, just as it’s worthwhile to see a version of Batman active in the 1920s on a superficial level. The film does more than enough to captivate and its take on Lovecraftian horror visuals will leave a lasting impression


Be the Bat!


A compelling take on the Dark Knight with an excellent visual aesthetic and a strong take on Lovecraftian horror that will leave a lasting impression.

  • Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham


Kneel Before…

  • David Giuntoli’s vocal performance
  • a script that supports his vocal take on Bruce Wayne/Batman
  • a strong thematic throughline
  • impressive visuals
  • the well-used 1920s aesthetic
  • a strong take on Lovecraftian horror


Rise Against…

  • the second half of the film rushing through a lot of story
  • characters becoming lost in the storytelling noise in the second half


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User Review
3 (1 vote)

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