Wednesday, November 16, 2005

eyeCandy: Batman Begins (2005) 5/5

The Batman franchise has certainly seen its share of ups and downs. In fact, just about everything after Tim Burton's 1989 film (with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson - an inspired choice as the Joker) has been a lot closer to a down than an up :-) . Well, finally fans of the comic (and of good movies) have a big screen Batman to be happy with.

Batman Begins is a different kind of Batman movie. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) has foregone the gaudier pulp comic book interpretation presented in the recent Batman films and has created a darker, grittier tale - a lot closer to Frank Miller's Dark Knight than Adam West's ;-) . The cast is top-notch: Christian Bale, reaching into his roles from American Psycho and the Machinist to deliver a very compelling Caped Crusader; Michael Caine providing a little comic relief as the faithful butler Alfred; Gary Oldman, playing somewhat against type as Commissioner Gordon; Morgan Freeman, as what can be best described as Batman's "Q"; and many others.

The movie does a lot of things right. Firstly, it presents a relatively believable backstory for Batman which has not been fully explored in previous films. Secondly, the source and justification for Batman's arsenal of weapons and tools is explained (through Freeman's character mostly). Finally, even though they got the lovely Katie Holmes (who looked a lot better a couple years ago before she decided she needed to weigh 90 lbs.), the writers have avoided the cliche of an involved love story to good effect. The choice of villains (Ken Watanabe as Ra's Al Ghul and Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow) is a little strange, as few non-comic aficionados would know of them, however they fit the mood of the film nicely.

Batman Begins brings great hope to the resurrection of what was, essentially, a ruined franchise. If Warner Bros. is sensible and sticks with this team of great writers, actors, and director then you'll find me standing in line for the opening of the next film (hopefully on Imax, which is how I saw this one - just beautiful)! Now if someone can just make a good movie version of "Arkham Asylum" or "the Dark Knight Returns". ;-)
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11/16/2005 10:12:00 p.m.  


Anonymous Amber Mac said...

Sweet review! I LOVE Batman!

November 17, 2005 8:00 a.m.  
Blogger B. McKechnie said...

Great review Jeff.

I didn't think any Batman could be better then the first Tim Burton one and I didn't think anyone could play Batman better then Michael Keaton.

Chris Nolan is a film genius though and Christian Bale is a madman - perfect combination for an amazing telling of Batman that kicks the other four in the ass.

After the horror of Batman & Robin this has made me excited for this series again.

November 17, 2005 4:44 p.m.  
Anonymous Alana said...

I fully agree Jeff. I loved this version of Batman.

November 18, 2005 9:47 a.m.  

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