June 2005


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Review: Batman Begins

Lucky bastard that I am, the Girlfriend took me out to see the new Batman movie last night, and we had a very good time (aside from spending $10 on a soda and popcorn. Sheesh!)

The first thing I thought about the movie was “where are the opening credits?” The movie has none – it simply begins, with a young Bruce Wayne (about 9 or so) chasing his friend Rachel around the greenhouse a few minutes before he falls into the old well.

Like any remake of an old idea, this movie puts Bats into a more modern world than what he originally came into. Gotham is, as always, Gotham, in the way that it should be. (I was pretty disappointed with the portrayal of the city in the earlier films.) The writers do an excellent job of telling us why Gotham is Gotham while the cinematographer is showing us what it is – and it is a truly polarized city, with the rich on one side and the poor on the other. A glittering monorail plies the skies forty feet above the ground – because at ground level is where all the streetscum live, and nobody wants to see that.

Spoiler Alert

Casting was very well done for this movie – Christian Bale does an admirable job of going from disaffected college student to lost man looking for his path. From student of warfare to Batman, the Dark Knight. And he protrays a convincing belligerent drunk, too.

Michael Caine is an excellent choice for the inflappable Alfred, and brings that dry wit to life with flair. If more rich men had butlers like Alfred Pennyworth, the world would be a better place indeed.

Liam Neeson is an excellent bad guy. Everything he says and does is believable and perfectly logical – provided, of course, that you share his particular viewpoint. The good part is that his viewpoint is just the tiniest bit more extreme than Bruce Wayne’s.

Ok, now for the things I didn’t like.

Christian Bale is apparently unable to make his voice deeper, so the director went with having him talk like someone had dragged a rasp over his vocal chords once he dons the Cape and Cowl. Those of us who have gotten used to Batman: The Animated Series‘ Kevin Conroy and his Voice Of Doom will find this particularly annoying.

During the car chase, there are some pretty bad edits / poor shots of the car and it’s capabilities. Also, I see no reason why the driver would have to completely re-position himself while driving to access the weapons functions. Sure, it looked kinda cool, but it’s bad engineering; something Batman has never been known for. (Aside from that, the car is truly the Devil’s own SUV, and I want one.)

There isn’t sufficient explanation as to why Wayne Enterprises has thrown millions of dollars into paramilitary research over the past 20 years. Sure it’s all defensive equipment, but it goes just a tad far afield. I should probably mention that my favorite Batman wears the belt of many pouches filled with useful items, not the 500-nifty-plot-devices belt. All Bats has ever needed to get the job done are his brains and his skills. (Althought the memory-cloth cape / hang glider is a pretty good idea.)

Final thoughts? Well worth the full price of admission, and definitely should be seen in the theaters.

5 replies to “Review: Batman Begins

  1. The One True b!X Says:

    But did they show the trailer for “Serenity”?

  2. The Cyberwolfe Says:

    Now that you mention it, no they didn’t. Kind of surprising, thinking back on it. They did show the trailer for FF though.

  3. BtNG (formerly BtFR) Says:

    Weird, because when I saw it on Wednesday they showed the Serenity trailer. I remember it destinctly because Chris gave me shit about being so amped about it.

  4. GreyDuck Says:

    Gah. I want to see this. Okay, I already did, but now I want to see it more.

    And I don’t mind that it’s very likely I’ll see Batman before Ep3. Heh.

  5. Graumagus Says:

    I was pretty happy with the film. After the last three POS wastes of film in the Batman series, this one was definately worth the price of admission.

    I liked how they did Scarecrow too, the maggots were a nice touch :)