Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I just saw Batman Begins

And I enjoyed it very much! I'll share some impressions that should titillate you without being "spoilers".

I liked Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox more than I expected. Still, the man should drink a little coffee before the cameras start rolling.

I was pleasantly suprised that Gary Oldman was so restrained in his performance as Jim Gordon. I've never before seen him on a set without teethmarks in it.

I like Michael Caine as Alfred even less than I expected. Alfred should sound like David Niven, not Alfred P. Doolittle. Oh, and Michael; learn to tie a tie.

Bale's perfect (except I don't like his "Batman voice").

The Batmobile is just what it needs to be; have faith in the Batmobile.

The woman seemed gratuitous. The kid was definitely gratuitous.

The Scarecrow is not the only Batman villain who appears in the film; a lesser villain appears repeatedly but has no lines.

Now I finally feel I have met Bruce Wayne's father, and adore him.

I was very impressed that Gotham appears to be modeled exactly on the map of Gotham as we know it.

The waterfall is wonderful.

The card is not correct, which is disappointing because there is no reason it shouldn't be.

Bruce Wayne gets the best headline in the film. BY FAR.

This version of Ra's has a more reasonable motive than the comic book version and one much more logically connecting him to Batman.

Best origin of the Batsignal ever.

If you live in Georgetown, the climax of the film will seem familiar.

What the Waynes attend the night of their murder makes more sense than "Mask of Zorro".

The film explains very well why Batman does what he does and why he does it the way he does it.

Some of the symbolic coincidences and expository dialog are a bit heavy handed but not beyond the bounds of a regular comic book.

I look forward to seeing it again and to a sequel.


Tim S said...

Now you got me itchin' to see it. And I suppose that was your plan all along, you Machiavellian plotter.

Robby Reed said...

Thank you for an interesting review that was revealing yet not spoiler-y! One Q: How LONG was the movie?

Vincent J. Murphy said...

Hey, according to the Arkham Asylum graphic novel, the Waynes didn't see Mark of Zorro: they saw Bambi, and Thomas Wayne berated his son for crying during the movie. Because of the painful memories of that night, Bruce has "re-imagined" the events leading up to his parents' murder.

Anyhow, I can't wait to see this! Your review gives me hope.

Anonymous said...

I saw it with Scip, and I heartily agree with his review. A damn good movie, period.

What struck me most is that the films's three acts are actually so different in tone and content as to make it three different films, each with a beginning middle and end: a martial arts flick, a hardboiled crime story, and a summer action blockbuster.

Scip pointed out that those happen to be exactly the three ingredients that go into a classic Batman comic book story.

Perhaps -- but of the three, the last "action" act is certainly the weakest.

Taken together, though, it's a solidly made and tremendously satisfying film.

For every quibble I had with the film's occasionally ham-handed dialogue, which asks the characters to pontificate about Fear and Vengeance and Guilt and other bloodless abstractions, there was a sharply characterizing moment that the director and actors just nail.

Looking back, what I remember most clearly about the movie are not any of the superhero trappings, but individual characterizing moments between Wayne and Gordon, Wayne and Fox, and even, god help me, Wayne and [Studio-Demanded Love Interest A].

Bale, Freeman and Oldman are getting lots of credit, and rightly so -- they keep the film's emotional center together. They ground the movie in reality better than any long expository scene about the suit's original military purpose could ever hope to do.

But Cillian Murphy. Damn, the guy is perfect as Crane. There's nothing showy -- he just creates a man who's impatient with being interfered with, who sees the people around him as keeping him from doing his work. There's a tetchy, distracted quality to his performance which takes the classic comic book persona and gives it full, rounded life.

I do disagree with Scip's last point about the films dramatic/expositional faults -- I think they're clearly the result of the studio and screenwriter chasing after what is and will always be the Hollywood ideal: a "tight" screenplay, one that's filled with rigid internal connections and telegraphed callbacks. In the last reel, the various demands of The Big Summer Action Film Formula start to kick in and threaten to flatten the careful character work done in the early going. But that's a discussion for when more folks have seen the film.

And see it they certainly should.

Scipio said...

The film is 2 hours and 10 minutes long.

For those interested, the Waynes attend the theater but NOT the cinema.

Devon said...

Reading this makes me feel like I'm in The Doom Patrol.

naladahc said...

The Wayne's die coming out of Cats??? Oh the humanity! =)

Scipio said...

Devon...wha th--?

Naladahc; that would be a mercy-killing!

David Campbell said...

Fuck! Has everybody seen this but me? I am brimming with frothy envy.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Did they cast Verne Troyer as Bat-Mite?

Did they?



Shane Bailey said...

I haven't seen it David...don't worry.

Shane Bailey said...

I'm going to see it Wednesday this week.

Robby Reed said...

I just saw the movie, and I found it WAY to dark and loud for my tastes. Also, I don't admire psychos. In this, Batman is psychotic. Full review on my site today...

-Robby Reed

Milo said...

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