Monday, 13 June 2016
T.V. REVIEW: GOTHAM-RISE OF THE VILLAINS Season 2
22 Episodes. Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Morena Baccarin, Michael Chiklis & B.D. Wong.
Prokofiev's operatic classic 'Dance Of The Knights' fittingly and perfectly plays as young Master Wayne panickly pushes the button of a clicker he remotely finds in the middle of one of his fathers forlorn libary books. We hear stone slabs move like a giant is raising the dead as it's the epic fireplace, not the bookshelves that come apart to reveal what lies beneath the ashes. Bruce Wayne and his Butler Alfred Pennyworth both with urgency but not with haste, step to the gaping hole that's now being made in their living quarters. They look down these dark depths as our point of view is their reaction to what they see where we are. If their faces didn't say it all, the noise of bats circling and ascending the sodden, stone steps tells you all you need to know, staring down the barrel of this cliffhanger. Roll credits. Season One done. 'Gotham' really is the worlds most famous, fictional city. A Metropolis with dark shadows and shades of New York City. The home of Wayne Manor. And the place where Batman begins. But after a formidable finale to the pilot series (that gave us Detective Jim Gordon putting a few mobsters out of commission during a son of a gun shootout, the enigmatic Edward Nygma finally going all the way crazy and riddling with himself...and of course the Bat Cave) it's the villains that rise and not the Dark Knight in 'Gotham' Season 2. It's like the forthcoming bad guys 'Suicide Squad' movie but with more killing. Jokes on you! You thought D.C. couldn't hit back after the cruel critical slaying the actually awesome 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of (In)Justice' got (just you wait for the 'Ultimate Edition')? Well you should have know they always had a little fight in them. Like it or not. So you're going to love them...and this. Even in this 'Civil War' blockbuster domination the small screen team of 'Arrow' and 'Flash' is still scrapping with Marvel's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D' and all the 'Daredevil' Netflix has to offer...no chill. Don't cosign them to the Deadpool just yet. From the ashes of more cities being destroyed in the 'Man Of Steel' sequel the fire rises. And this one, this cut is going rogue.
Take a tour through this cities origins and you may just find yourself in an Asylum just West of Blackgate. And yes you guessed it...the inmates are running Arkham. These prison breaks are the most vivid comic capturing of the cells since those graphic video games. But there's lots of content here and you don't need to worry about whether it's in game footage or not. There's plenty of Easter Eggs to hunt for here that you'll even believe Christmas has come early. From young Selina Kyle lapping up a glass of milk, to the green glow bathing Nygma's rooftop apartment in neon. And you best believe the best of the last series are only getting more seasoned. Camren Bicondova has really got the cream as Catwoman. Clawing away at the crop of all the feline fatales. The best since Pfeiffer with shades of Michelle....and Hathaway was no half-way measure either. Sorry Halle! Whereas Corey Michael-Smith really catches the Riddler by the toe, no question. Now riddle me this...who uses an umbrella even when it doesn't rain? No not catwalk models, but the suited and booted Penguin. After standing on a rooftop and screaming that he was the King of Gotham to end the first season, the pointed Robin Lord Taylor may be kept under the parousel a little bit this season...wrapped in Arkham black and white stripes like a straight jacket. But this is the new orange black and he wears it like his best waddling suit. Along with the likes of bridezilla Erin Richards, more Ivy laced with the seeds of Poison and enough villains that will leave this rising show fishing at the bottom of Gotham river (or sewer) by moonlight for more. The whole gallery of Rogues is here for you to walk through. Even what looks like a Court of Owls. From a striking Mr. Freeze that even in this modern, realism grounded Gotham City works like...you know what it just works, we don't need a pun on this one...Schwarzenegger and Schumacher fired them all...forever! To a kid who just may have the first laugh as prince of Gotham. But if we're going to keep riding can we get a Harley? Call us clowns all you want but this town really is seeing Strange days. And who better than Dr. Hugo to run it all? And 'Jurassic Park' and 'World' star B.D. Wong focussed on the small glasses and beard of Arkham's chief doc is the perfect prescription for Hugo Strange we must profess. Sure the last time we saw him he may have lost millions to Deadshot's Will Smith (Mooney's man), but here he's on the money as the quack with a Lazarus Pit in his own operating theatre. He may just be the best thing about this oh so messy, but oh so fun series' rise. Strange...but true!
Gallaries of villains are so bad, they'll need a good cop to go rogue. And Gordon isn't playing this one by the book...he's throwing it at everyone...along with his punches. A long way from Orange County, Gotham's finest Ben McKenzie is the badge and gun law of Jim Gorden. His hair is even getting longer. All we need now is a beard. But it doesn't matter if he doesn't look a thing like Commissioner Gorden. Neither does D.C. Universe's J.K. Simmons (but you're still excited)! He looks more like a newspaper editor that hates superheroes. Gotham Tonight anyone? Come to think about it with the exception of Gary Oldham the only ones that look close enough to the comic version of Gorden are former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson and Colonel Sanders. It's a good job Donal Logue looks like he was born or artistically rendered to play the comic book cop Harvey Bullock...he has it beat. Now that's a partner you can trust...sort of! He's a copacetic, comic character composition just like Sean Pertwee who just like the Caine's and Irons before him show us a Monopoly of Brits can play Butlers, but only a few with dirt under those silverware spit and polish white gloves can show us the real Alfred. Very good sir...very good! Just another example of a comic crossover that works like the marvel that is Morena Baccarin on double agent duty, two-timing as Gorden's golden girl and Marvel movie Fox Deadpool's spandex squeeze. From Fox's to Dent's there's plenty of room for more players in this small screen line of silver (but more on that in a G.C.P.D. minute). As former 'Shield' agent (and this time we aren't talking about Marvel) Michael Chiklis throws his badge as his new book chapter as chief of police. But above the law and rooftops of this gargoyle covered city lies a would be knight. And as the kid David Mazouz grows and matures before our eyes, it's not only a pleasure, but a labour of love to see the effort behind a young man searching for answers and meaning whose about to take wing as the bat. And we can't wait! Mazouz is a master as Bruce Wayne...one day it'll be his dark night. Just look for the pale moonlight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.