Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Some Comic Geeks(Including Myself) Ruminate About Batman Begins

batman begins...Spoilers, obviously.I've had a few people ask me what thought of Batman Begins. I saw it on Sunday night. I didn't see it opening night because I wasn't sure if it was going to be good.There are two different ways to approach Batman. There is gadget Batman and detective Batman. This movie focused more on gadget Batman, whereas the animated series in the 1990s was more detective Batman. I prefer detective Batman. Ra's Al Ghul calls Batman "The Detective" so it was weird to see him with gadget Batman.Christian Bale was excellent. I enjoyed his Bruce Wayne. Most people can't pull off both because the lifestyles of Batman and Bruce Wayne are so radically different in everything. Bruce Wayne is supposed to come off as a shallow, stupid, self-involved "millionare playboy". It was kind of annoying that it took over an hour for Batman to get into costume. The origin with R'as Al Ghul took longer then expected, however, Liam Niesson does kick ass. After watching him teach Batman and Obi-Wan Kenobi, I wish he had taught me how to ride a bike. I would be a more spiritual person today. Maybe I would be pope. Liam Niesson kicks a ton of ass.Batman held up his "I don't kill principle" which, by the way, he should break maybe once in a great while. There was this really, really crappy story a few years ago called "Last Laugh" where a doctor told the Joker he had cancer and was going to die so that he might atone for his crimes, but instead he went on a huge killing spree. (He didn't have cancer.) Anyway, Nightwing did something and the Joker was dead but Batman gave the Joker mouth-to-mouth. STUPID! Anyway, that was me bitching about the poor writing style of Chuck Dixon, not reviewing the movie. That brings me to my next point: Liam Niesson's death (or did he die??) was very cool. I enjoyed the "I'm not going to kill you but I'm not going to save you" which is reminds me of old and bitter Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond.The Scarecrow was pretty sweet. He had a different origin. He wasn't a professor from Gotham State that got fired for his experiments on fear, but the dude that ran Arkham Asylum. Also, I liked how they used all stuff from the comics. Some movies use other stuff when they could just use stuff from books or comics. Like they could have just used any old name for the asylum but they used Arkham even though not everyone KNOWS Arkham Asylum. I thought I recognized the Scarecrow from something else but then I realized he just looked like Josh Hartnett's creepy older brother.Carmon Falcone as the mob boss was good. It was one of Falcone's guys that hit Harvey Dent with acid and made him Two-Face in the comics so maybe we'll see Two-Face in another movie because Tommy Lee Jones sucked so hard as Two-Face. Actually, in the previous Batman movies, which pretty much all sucked, except the first one, no one did a good job as a villian, except maybe Jack Nicholson as the Joker. On a related note, the first Batman movie was cool in 1989 but does not stand up to time very well. Michelle Pfieffer sucked ass as Catwoman, although I'm sure Halle Berry was ten times worse. I'll have to check with Seth on that one. And speaking of the first Batman movie, Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent. And then he gets splashed with acid and turns into Tommy Lee Jones? Bullshit! Lando would have made an excellent Two-Face. Especially if he said, "I had no choice. They arrived right before you did." Okay, maybe not.Back to Batman Begins. Katie Holmes played the Jack McCoy wannabe, but it was okay. Perhaps in the next movie, her new (not dead) boss will be Harvey Dent. I like how they showed how corrupt Gotham can be. I would have liked to have seen Detective Bullock or Montoyna, maybe next time.Back to Katie Holmes. There was no reason for the "I wish this was the first Spider-Man" scene where they realize that as long as Gotham needs Batman, they can never love... that part was retarded.Stately Wayne Manor burning to the ground was hard core. Wayne Manor isn't like the Baxter Building or the Avengers Mansion where it gets trashed, burned down, overrun by the Masters of Evil (who beat the shit out of the butler), launched into space, etc. Usually Wayne Manor escapes the icky stuff that happens to other superhero headquarters. It got damaged during the earthquake before No Man's Land but burned to the ground? Hardcore. Alfred was good. He was a little TOO helpful in the crime-fighting thing. Usually he just kind of puts up with Batman and doesn't think he should be spending all of his time dressed up as a bat.Batman's parents were awesome. The fanboy in me wishes that they had gone to see "The Mask of Zorro" at the movies instead of an opera, but... it was cool. The Frank Miller Year One homage was cool. The Batmobile looked dumb. The whole scene with him getting Katie Holmes back to the Batcave was a little excessive. Batman tries to minimize damage while doing his thing. Lorne said it was probably because he was new at being Batman, blah blah blah and maybe he's right.Also, Batman was a lot nicer then he is in the comics. In the comics, he's an ice cold jerk. He was nice in the movie. Maybe he will get bitter later.I liked Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. In the comics, Lucius Fox runs Wayne Industries for Bruce Wayne and thinks he's a total idiot. Overall, I liked the movie quite a bit. It was no Spider-Man 2 and it was better then any other Batman movie. I liked it a lot and can't wait for the next one.I think that's everything. I got kinda distracted while writing this. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I had very little to bitch about. I thought it was a near-perfect rendition of BATMAN. Of course, every fan is going to have some issues about this or that. Bats is an icon after all. Same when SHERLOCK HOLMES gets interpreted. I can't tell you how many Brits prefer Basil Rathbone to Jeremy Brett. But Rathbone's stories took place in WW II and had WATSON being a doddering old fool. So there you go. There is no way to make everyone happy.(Digression: If you dig Sherlock and H.P. Lovecraft, check out SHADOWS OVER BAKER STREET. Neil Gaiman is among the contributors and has contributed one of the better stories in there. Cool anthology. Two great tastes that taste great together.) So all told, I think this was a far more concise and faithful distillation of Batman than the first Burton flick. Didn't mind the Batmobile. Stands to reason that it would be a tank if you're waging urban warfare. Now what we need is a full on PROPER Joker. And a proper TWO-FACE. Batman always had the cooler villains...Thanks for letting me sound off...G.

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