Who’s the man?

§ June 21st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

Michael freakin’ Caine, that’s who. Your Batman movie is only as good as your Alfred, and in Batman Begins Caine does a great job giving us an Alfred with wit, compassion, and a bit of steel. Now this is an Alfred I can imagine, for example, donning a spare Bat-suit to serve as a decoy/distraction for the bad guys while the real Batman does his thing. You know, like he sometimes did in the comics, and the 60s TV show. Don’t look at me like that.

(Probably SPOILERS ahead, if you haven’t seen the film.)

I enjoyed Batman Begins quite a bit, which came as a nice surprise since, as I’ve noted before, the trailers just came across as dead boring. However, the decision to build up to Batman’s first appearance, rather than just jumping right into the action, gives us something unique in the various live action versions of the character: suddenly, Bruce Wayne is as interesting a character out of the costume as he is in it. We get to learn about him, and what drives him, without that pesky Bat-stuff getting in the way.

The building of Batman comes across as a natural progression…the constant reminders that Wayne needs to a symbol, more than a man; the finding of the cave; the adaptation of his own fear of bats driving the creation of said symbol — the suspension of disbelief is gradually increased until Batman finally appears, and we all go, “oh, sure, he had to dress as a bat. Makes sense to me.” (Of course, anyone going to see a movie called Batman Begins is probably predisposed to accepting a guy in a bat-outfit anyway.)

Granted, some of the elements of the Bat-legend come together a little too readily (“Mr. Fox, what do you have down here?” “Why, I have a bunch of stuff that’s ready made for use by a costumed crime-fighter!” “Oh, say…could I borrow some of that?”), but I can live with it. And the plot to poison Gotham City is one we’ve seen before, but at least the villain has a motivation for doing so beyond killing just for the sake of killing. Overall, a well-made, mostly well-written film, with its overriding theme of “fear” being a nice contrast to the usual theme of “good guys punching bad guys.”

I’ve heard some complaints about the fight scenes being shot/edited too confusingly, and there is an element of that, but for the most part I didn’t have any problem following the action. And it was nice to have a Jim Gordon (played by Gary Oldman) who actually looks like the Gordon in the comics.

And yes, it is deadly serious, with only the occasional humorous line of dialogue (usually from Alfred, but sometimes from Gordon, and a vagrant or two), but it still manages to be dark without being oppressive, and more fun than moody.

Anyway, good flick. Not perfect, but darn sight better than some of the last few Bat-films. Christian Bale is probably the second best live action Batman we’ve had (this guy is still tops), and let’s hope a sequel, if it happens, manages to keep the same tone.

Unless we can get an adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns starring Adam West instead. I’d kill to see that.

One Response to “Who’s the man?”

  • dfdfdfd says:

    I disliked the movie because it’s unforgivable inaccuracies. People now believe this is how Batman “began”, but his origin is completely different.