Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins

Batman Begins is, as its title so straightforwardly promises, a beginning. But my goodness, what a grand beginning it is! Christopher Nolan's film is stylish and atmospheric and intense...showing us young Bruce Wayne's childhood ended so abruptly by fear and by devastating tragedy to his journey to find a way to reimagine himself for a life of vengeance and justice to his first steps (and missteps) as Batman with well thought out detail and nuance. By the end of the movie, the status quo is set and a rather blatant foreshadowing of the villain for the next film is revealed.

Christian Bale is the first screen Batman who is able to fully inhabit both sides of Batman's persona (both Val Kilmer and George Clooney found Bruce Wayne's character in their own ways but didn't quite fully come to grips with Batman; Michael Keaton nailed Batman but played Wayne as a kind of bumbling dolt...kind of the way Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent in the Superman movies.)

The rest of the cast...Liam Neeson, Michael Caine (as the gently-acerbic butler, Alfred), Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman (as Sgt..."someday I'll be Commissioner"...Gordon), Cillian Murphy (as the truly creepy Dr. Jonathan Crane) top-notch and each takes a plot-serving turn in the spotlight without detracting from the main players: Bale's Batman and the shadowy expanse of Gotham City (not as gothic as in Tim Burton's version but still daunting, foreboding, and a wonder to behold.)

I make no bones about being a fanboy when it comes to these things...but that enthusiasm isn't always well-met (*cough* Daredevil *cough*) when it comes to comic book heroes making the leap onto the big screen. Batman Begins joins the pantheon of cool comic book movies...along with Superman I & II, Spider-Man, Tim Burton's Batman, and X2...that appeals to both the fickle adult and the wide-eyed child co-existing in my cynical optimist's heart :-)


Minka said... made me wanna see it. Maybe tonight I will check it out, if I can get tickets and see if you are right.

Jason said...

The best superhero flick ever! Dark, brooding, deep. George Lucas made all the prequel requisites (i.e. answering all historic Star Wars questions) feel forced, but Chris Nolan makes it flow naturally.

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Anonymous said...

The success of this movie can be sumed up in one word: Justification. They did and awesome job justifying everything, from the tremendous guilt of his parents death, Alfred's attachment to the Wayne's and the manor, the Wayne legacy, fear, overcoming fear, flaws that made our hero human, Gordon's and Batman's relationship, Ras As Gul, the horrific nature of the criminal element beyond petty theft. I could go on, but I was just amazed at how well thought out every motivation and relationship was. As much as I like the movies What'sHisName mentioned above in his blog, this one might have set the bar
One... notch... higher.

J. said...

I saw Batman tonight! It was good, I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Jen! You purposely understated your awe and utter amazement at Batman Begins. You're on Time Out! You can come back when you are ready to demonstrate your FULL feelings for Batman Begins.


Steve said...

Jason said:
"The best superhero flick ever!"

I haven't seen this movie yet, but there's no way it could possibly beat the Spider-Man movies. There's something about Spider-Man that makes you realize he's just a normal guy like you.

Most superhero movies are lacking that association.

Games are for Children

Anonymous said...

Steve/Jason. This one includes that aspect, too. It's a tough tough call. This movie did SUCH a good, smart, well-thought out job of everything making interesting, logical leaps. I think it's going to come down to which character appeals to you most.

Unless you cound Heather Hunter as a superhero.

miyna said...

steve: you're right that it's not quite Spider-Man, but that's a whole different publisher, yes? From DC Comics to the Marvel Universe is quite a leap.

Batman Begins was the best Batman movie I've seen. Scrap all that campy BS, too. Sorry, Clooney. You kinda realize that Bruce Wayne is just a guy in this movie too, even though he's paid, he's not granted any powers, all he has is his rage and his determination, and that's all some of us have anyway (okay, minus at least half of the rage, and the billions of dollars in spending money).

Bale is the best Batman/Bruce Wayne out there. Makes you wonder why they didn't get him before now.

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