5 days ago
Thursday, June 16, 2005
So the other night I finally watched Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith, and just last night, Yvette and I caught Batman Begins on the first day of its run here. One of these films had atrocious dialogue, plenty of bad acting, some cool fights and a lot of mostly wasted potential. The other film was Batman Begins. (Not that SW3 wasn't entertaining in its own right: as we discovered, a great way to pass time on a rainy car ride is to quote lines from the movie to each other. Hilarity, inevitably, ensues).
Four words will serve to sum up the new Bat-flick: Best Batman movie ever. While the utter craposity of the last one will forever remain a low point in the annals -- huh huh, I said annals -- of comics fanhood (damn you, Schumacher!!), this new one reinvents the Batman story from the ground up, with the use of a good, solid script, a whole roster of A-list actors, and of course, the talents of director Christopher Nolan, of Memento and Insomnia fame. "A rousing, reverent, often brilliant re-creation of a seminal comics character, Batman Begins proves Batman is at home in the 21st century as he was in the 20th," says Keith Phipps. "The movie works dramatically in addition to being an entertainment," says Roger Ebert. "Batman Begins is so fresh and feels so definitive that there might as well not have been any such creature as Batman ever before," says MaryAnn Johanson. "Hey, Katie Holmes' nipples are showing through her blouse," observed Yvette.
The basic concept of Batman remains, of course, insane. But hey, as Jay Pinkerton writes in Why Batman Works: "That's the simple beauty of Batman's enduring legacy. We don't identify with him. We don't laugh at him. Mostly we just marvel at him, I think. In most movies, the villains get to have all the fun, and the heroes tend to be fairly bland. Batman's one of the few characters I can think of who's as monumentally fucked up as the criminals he's chasing."
Christian Bale brings life and complexity (and, according to Fran, major hotness) to the role of Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine brings humor and warmth to the role of stalwart butler Alfred. Liam Neeson plays the mentor role again, but kicks even more ass as Ducard than as Qui-gon Jinn. And amidst all the pseudo-ninja training techniques and cool gadgetry and fight scenes, through the interplay of characters and circumstances and viewpoints, we gain a new appreciation for the Bat-story. Yay! Good stuff. Go watch.