Sunday, December 30, 2007

Movie Log: Batman Begins

I finally caught up with Batman Begins tonight. It's overlong and massively enamored of its own melodrama, but undeniably stylish. Since everyone else in the world saw it two years ago, I'm not going to bother with anything like a real review. You get some random thoughts instead.

Christian Bale whispers a hell of a lot, and gives enough headbutts to make his crazy behavior semi-plausible.

There are apparently no security cameras in the visiting rooms at Gotham's prison. Sure, it's a poor town, but it makes me wonder what decade this is set in. (Of course, it does feel like the '70s much of the time, which could explain things.)

And why on earth does rich doctor Thomas Wayne walk out the side exit of the opera house into what is so, so obviously the scuzziest alley in a massively scuzzy town? Are the elder Waynes supposed to seem like idiots who would have died sooner or later anyway?

The plot is one part '70s Denny O'Neil Batman, and one part Batman: Year One. It generally meshes well, but I can't help missing a real Year One adaptation. And there's no chance we'll ever get one now.

This movie really does have too many characters for its own good.

And it's very much in the big-blockbuster mode, down to the "funny" throw-away lines and shots.

Why does Batman drive his tank by hiding under the dashboard?

This is possibly the worst case of the Talking Killer I've ever seen.

They sure do run their Els high up in Gotham.

At last, a reason for an action movie to have a climax sheathed in steam!

Sure is fun watching five guys in black suits hit each other in close-up. Gosh, I can almost tell who is who.

Gosh, it's too bad the water system doesn't have any controls or valves in it anywhere. Nobody's ever needed to turn water off anywhere before.

And once again the Rule of Character Scarcity comes into play: a Big Name actor needs to have something Big to do.

It's kind of sad to see a Ras al Ghul pronounced incorrectly, without the Lazarus Pit, and generally tamed. And he never even calls Batman "Detective" that I can remember.

The movie doesn't really understand how corporate governance works, but hardly any movies ever do.

Hm. It didn't have opening credits, did it?


Rose Fox said...

The "five guys in black fight each other" scenes drove me crazy. Seriously, people, there are other colors! Even ninja can wear other colors!

Also, why did the microwave emitter have enough water-expanding power to blow up water mains, but not to blow up people? At one point some of the bad guys walked right in front of it! I'm not that blase walking in front of a microwave oven!

Jess Nevins said...


The side exit of the Boston Symphony Hall empties out into just that sort of alley. At least, it did in the 1970s, when my folks took me to Symphony weekly. I was *always* nervous about getting mugged there.

So that, at least, rang true to me.

Anonymous said...

I'd seen the name in print in a few books growing up, but it wasn't until David Warner's portrayal in the '90s Animated Series that I knew it was pronounced "Raysh". So now it bugs the heck out of me that people who only know the character from BB go around saying "Rahhz". I just smile politely and bite my lip. This is exactly how Ralph Fiennes and Ralph Macchio have different pronunciations.

Otherwise, this might be the best Batman movie I've ever seen. I liked the Burton ones but in hindsight those feel like Burton movies, dark and gothic with an Elfman soundtrack, but not unique in his repertoire. Schumacher, of course, ruined the franchise. Out of nostalgia, the Adam West feature holds a special place in my heart, and Mask of Phantasm was great on the animated front.

Yeah, pronunciation pet peeve aside, this probably has been my favorite so far. We'll see what The Dark Knight is like, even though I know it won't be Miller's Dark Knight.

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