Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Film Review: Batman Begins

director Christopher Nolan and screenwriter David Goyer have done for the Batman films what artist Neal Adams and writer Denny O'Neal did for the Batman comics in the late 60s/early 70s, that is they have reconnected Batman with his roots.

the Batman of Begins, played by Christian Bale, is an ominous prowler of the night, a foreboding predator for all evil to fear. in short, he is what i'm sure Bob Kane and Bill Finger envisioned all those years ago. the first act of the film shows the details of Bruce Wayne's training spliced with flashbacks of his childhood, where he first encountered bats and crime, witnessing the murder of his parents. the second act sees Wayne returning to Gotham, a sprawling pulp metropolis ruled by corruption and insanity, and explores in great detail his building of himself as Batman. the thrid act is where all the action happens, and we'll leave it at that.

while Batman has been perfected on the page in many forms by many different writers and artists, in the cinema the character always fell short, often playing second fiddle to over-the-top glouring celebrity madmen. this is not the case in Begins. the villans, including Cillian Murphy's eeirly soft-spoken Dr. Crane/Scarecrow (who i must say reminded me a lot of David Cronenberg's character from the Clive Barker film Nightbreed) while eccentric, can't even begin to steal the show from the Dark Knight, and for this film, which is an origin story, that is extremely important. so those who are looking for another Nicholson as the Joker (or god damn you, Shwartzenegger as Mr.Freeze), you will be sorely dissapointed. this is a film with the word BATMAN in the title, and finally he takes the center stage. the film should also be comended for finally giving Lt. Gordon (soon to be Commisoner) his proper due. Gary Oldman did a great job here, downplaying his usual gloriously evil self to give Gordon a quiet dignity.

i won't delve into the plot in great detail, but i will say that some of the scenes reminded me of Frank Miller's Year One, and some of the more hallucienegetic scenes reminded me of the psychotic work of art that was the Arkham Asylum one-shot. and i was giddy like a bitch when a certain Mr.Zsaz made an all to brief cameo. if all is truly right with the world, he will get utilized in any sequels that may be produced, but i digress.

i look forward to future installments. and to all of those who walk away sour because of the lack of a more prominent colorful villan, i'm sure the next one will deliever in spades...or some other card....ooooo i'm an unfunny dork.

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