7/15/2005

Batman Begins

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O

Batman Begins, the fifth instalment in the Batman series: a series that had proclaimed itself dead to me when George Clooney stepped up to the role under the direction of Joel Schumacher. Full of nippled costumes and awful dialogue I did not know what to think when Batman Begins -the film to follow the monstrosity that was Batman & Robin- was released. So I vowed never to see it.

But with nothing to do, it couldn’t hurt to see it, after all being directed by Christopher Nolan, who had made an interesting film of Memento,
and much like every other Batman film it boasted a star studded cast. I was more than pleased with the performances that they all gave.

To name a few, the cast was made of Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman. Not to mention Rutger Hauer, Cillian Murphy, Katie Holmes and Tom Wilkinson.

So what’s the film about? The film follows Bruce (Bale) from when he left Gotham after his parents were killed. Somewhere along the line of finding himself he is arrested, and eventually found by Ducard (Neeson), promising that if he becomes a member of a ninja cult then he will be free to go, as long as he follows under their rule. He is taught their ways, manages to escape and travels back to Gotham, to get back what was once his -as well as have a stab eradicating the troubles in Gotham. He begins with Falcone; the local mob boss. This is very much how it was played out in the comics. Once Batman managed to get Falcone the weirdoes in masks came out. So once he’s dealt with Falcone he’s got an even bigger foe to sort out.
In this case it's the scarecrow.

Watching the trailers for the film I was afraid that Batman Begins was going to be a mishmash of karate/kung fu fighting with a big car known as the Batmobile. But I was surprisingly wrong about that. The ‘Batmobile’ was not as bad as I had first thought. Congratulations are also in order for Mr Nolan to stick to using actual stunts rather than CGI with the Batmobile. Which made a huge jump across a long gap all the more amazing.
As for his suit, it was ok, I guess you could say it was more suited for the film. Although I do prefer the yellow bat symbol myself.

From mentioning the star studded cast, one has to worry, in cases such as this, most of the actors present would not usually be used to their potential. This was not the case in Batman.
First off you have Christian Bale; who can play both Bruce Wayne and Batman superbly. Most actors that portray Batman can either play a good Bruce or a good Batman. He had some great lines as the suave Bruce, which reminded me of the comics. And I thought he did a good Batman, although he seemed to shout a little.

Michael Caine was not someone I would envision as Alfred; especially after Michael Gough playing the character for years, I could not imagine someone else taking his place. But Caine filled the void rather well; he was witty, charming and above all actually felt like Alfred. I just can’t stand him though.

Murphy’s Scarecrow was the point of the film that made it darker than any other Batman film previous, his fear gas, along with the CGI that accompanied it made everything spectacular. And seeing as it was a 12A I was dumbfounded. Batman may not of contained the amounts of blood that War of the Worlds had, but the Scarecrow had a quality that I believe would scare any small child. Hell he looked like the chainsaw-wielding-bag headed-monster-zombie from Resident Evil 4
I can’t say that Liam Neeson’s character was anything special; nothing like his better roles. Must say he wasn’t too noticeable.

Gary Oldman played a great Commissioner Gordon, but then Oldman always seems a pretty solid actor. Even though when I look at his resume, I have not seen him in that many films. He and characters acted by Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson and Rutger Hauer all helped propel the movie forwards. Although poor Rutger Hauer was unrecognisable by my sister.

The downfall of the film was the choice of Katie Holmes as the heroine.
In the past Batman was given such beauties as Kim Basinger, Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer. Holmes looked too young for her role. She was supposed to be the District Attorney! No offence Miss Holmes, you look about 18.

What made this Batman film extraordinarily different from all the others was its focus. The original 1989 Batman was not hailed for Keaton’s role as Batman or Bruce. It was Nicholson’s force as a great actor that the film will be remembered for.
Never before has the audience been shown so much of Batman and so little of the villains.

The greatest achievement of Batman Begins was to actually take from some of the best Batman stories around. Sure you can nitpick it, but it will not stop the film from feeling like Batman. He’s darker than ever and part of that is created by Gotham’s atmosphere.
Gotham certainly is not Burton’s extravagant imaging of it. Far from it in fact. Gotham looks more suited for a film like Blade Runner. Because of this slight change it makes the film grittier than any before.

I’ve praised the film enough, so what are its problems?
Let me just state I’m a nitpicker.
It was a pretty long film, at about 3 hours long it's not the longest film out there, but because of its length I got home pretty late. That also means the chances of me watching it a lot when it is released on DVD will be pretty slim, because I’m a nut when it comes to time management.
The Fight sequences were too fast paced, with a cut every few seconds it was too hard to tell what was happening in most fights.
A couple of my problems were also with the incident of his parents’ death. Simply that they had gone to the theatre to see Die Fledermaus rather than Zorro; to stick with tradition. Although it did fit context.
Second, focus on the pearls. No matter what Batman comic you read that focuses on their death you always focus on the pearls. Pearls symbolise innocence. The innocence is gone when they drop to the ground in pieces. I believe they even focused on it with some of the other Batman films.

On the plus of being a bit of a Batman fan I must say the screenplay took from some of the best comics out there. Most noticeably Loeb’s The Long Halloween and Dark Victory and although David Goyer denied it. Some of it is comparable to Frank Miller’s Year One. (The bat signaller on his shoes, and the end)

Overall I have to say it was a great film, an even better Batman film! With a great villain, and some great actors, it was one of the best films of the summer I have seen.

Cptalbertwesker Rating 8/10 Great film, bit long but well worth the watch. Especially if you’re a fan of Batman.

Can’t wait to see who they cast for the Joker!! I can only hope that the next film will be just as good as this was.

1 Comments:

At 1:15 am, Anonymous Catherine said...

again check it through I read

That also the chances of me watching it a lot when it is released on DVD

a few times and it made no sense. So check through it, great review tho, and I did know it was him :'(

 

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