Holy Guano, Batman!

Well, we finally got around to seeing Batman Begins. I’d wanted to try to see it in IMAX up in Toronto, but BW didn’t want to shell out the $$ for it. Since he’s the Bat-freak, I figured it was his call.

Anyway, I have no idea what to write, as my feelings about this movie are all over the place. There were many points during BB where I was so bored, I almost walked out. Yet, I look forward to the sequel.

In my opinion, the problem was that BB felt like 2 or 3 different movies going on at the same time. So there were parts I absolutely hated (the Top Secret Ninja School!) and parts that were good (the last 45 minutes or so.) I admit that I also think that doing “Origin Stories” of comic-book characters does more harm than good. Comics characters are inherently ridiculous. You can either just accept them and go with the story, or not. Trying to come up with a realistic explanation of how they came to be just exposes the flimsy house of cards upon which comic characters are built. The more you try to explain their sillyness with a logical backstory, the sillier you make them seem. Case in point: I can accept that a rich guy dresses up as a bat and fights crime. But when you start telling me about how he learned to fight crime at a Secret Ninja School high in the Himalayas, then you lose me….there’s only so much ridiculousness a person can process in one sitting, after all. That’s why I feel that the Burton Batman movies, or the X-Men movies were superior to BB: they just said “Here’s the X-Men/Batman. Deal with it”, and we were off on the story.

So as you may have guessed, it was during all of the backstory that I came close to walking out. (Let’s call it Movie1.) Boring, boring, silly, stupid, boring. Once Movie2 (the one about Batman fighting Scarecrow and Ras Al-Ghul) kicked in, I was fine. Though I still had some issues. The new batmobile was so ugly it made my head hurt. I can’t stand all those ‘Ooh, lookit the gadgets’ Male-Masturbation-Material scenes. Katie Holmes was useless. And as BW pointed out, the camera work was really boring; there was very little in the way of visual style. Also, a music score so boring it seemed non-existant. (Compare that with the Burton Batmans. They were visually stunning, and I still can get the theme music from them stuck in my head without even trying.) It added up to a movie that was trying so hard to pander to Batman fanboys that it forgot to be a movie.

And I guess that’s the bottom line. Batman Begins was amazing as a Batman story, but as a movie, it left much to be desired. Which is why I am so looking forward to the next one. With all of the tedious origin crap out of the way, they should be able to focus on a tight, coherent plot and a nice exciting story. It should be much, much better than BB.

Lest I sound entirely negative, I want to stress that I did enjoy the last portion of the movie. Also, the cast was amazing. Christian Bale is the perfect Batman, hands-down, no competition. Liam was superb. (Tangent: why do I keep seeing Liam Neeson in so many “Asskicking Instructor” roles lately? And where can I sign up for one of Liam’s classes?!?!) My only complaint there is that none of them besides Bale and Liam had very much to do; such a waste of stellar actors! I’m so glad they didn’t kill off Scarecrow, because Cillian Murphy was jaw-droppingly hot, hot, HOT! He and Gary Oldman were what kept me in my seat through all the boring bits. Speaking of Gary Oldman, I can’t begin to tell you how THRILLED I was to see him cast as an honest-to-god HERO. I NEVER thought I’d see the day! Not only a good guy, but a HERO who gets to Save The Day at the end of the movie?! I almost wept tears of joy. For that alone, I have to admire Batman Begins. But until the sequel at least, I’m still hardcore in the “Burton is Best” camp.

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