The mythos of Batman has always fascinated me. I believe it’s because of my own personal desire that I can be significant and purposeful within an interdependent world. Sometimes I believe it’s hard to feel like I’m making a difference when the world is so big. The story of Batman satisfies that desire, as an ordinary man with extraordinary discipline and funds takes on injustice. If you’ve seen the movie or not worried about spoilers, continue on. To the batcave!
I’ve enjoyed most of the Batman movies. The original “Batman” was great in Tim Burton’s dark style. I enjoyed the interpretation that the Joker’s former ego killed Bruce Wayne’s parents and thus ‘creating’ Batman. Then in the movie, Batman ‘creates’ the Joker because he falls into a toxic dump. Michael Keaton served well as Batman, his voice and face looked good in the cape and cowl. However, as Bruce Wayne, he looked a little too old for the role.
My favorite line from the original “Batman” from Jack Nicholson’s Joker character, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?!”
In “Batman Returns,” the story turns a little too strange for me. The relationship between Catwoman and Batman makes for good conflict. However, the story is a little too dark and warped. The Penguin is somewhat a loose villain, just not as exciting as he must be in the comic books if he’s a recurring villian.
“What do you want,” Batman stoically calls out to the Penguin.
“Ah, the direct approach. I admire that in a man with a mask,” the Penguin replies.
When I first watched “Batman Forever”, I quite liked it. Sure, the style was more whimsical than the previous two, but after Batman Returns, I can see why it went to this direction. There was some much needed humor injected—too much in fact. Every subsequent viewing has made me cringe at the one-liners.
Val Kilmer looked pretty good as Bruce Wayne in “Batman Forever”, serious yet comical when he smiled. He could pull off the playboy nature of Bruce better than Michael Keaton. But he looked a little odd as Batman. Aside from the weak story, the there were too many characters to invest any amount of time in them. I think the mentality of “more, more, more!” got the best of this movie, and the one thereafter.
“Holey rusted metal, Batman!” Robin yelled, indicating that the metal ground had holes.
“Batman and Robin” is laughable at best. The cast of characters are profoundly silly that I was sad that the series went this direction. George Clooney looked better as a playboy Bruce Wayne. He smiled too much to be Batman. The continuation of one-liners from Batman Forever was terrible. Rather than divulge all the things I didn’t like about this one, we’ll just leave it as is.
Batman commented to Robin, “That’s one trouble with dual identities, Robin. Dual responsibilities.”
And now, we have Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” a powerful reinvention of the Batman mythos. I think it’s only fitting that Batman is started over again, and done right.
“Batman Begins” wonderfully weaves through its theme of being the origins. Not all things are set in place, even at the end of the movie. The batcave is being rebuilt, the asylum is running loose, and Lieutenant Gordon is yet to be the future commissioner.
The story is just exceptional. It’s tightly woven, details carefully placed, characters developed, and well paced. Bruce Wayne is not a one-man army. He needs the help of others. He doesn’t know everything, he utilizes the knowledge of others. He relies on help from others to succeed his mission of justice. He makes mistakes. He is human.
Ra’s Al Ghul has dimensions as a villain, something I love in villains. I have a difficult time with one-dimensional villains. Life is not that simple. I enjoyed Ra’s goals for justice goes beyond what Batman would do. It was great that Ra’s was Batman’s mentor. It’s interesting that Ra’s said that Batman lacked the courage to do what is necessary for justice, when it is Batman’s courage that gave the people of Gotham more than the justice they deserved—mercy.
The ninja skills Bruce learned makes Batman terrifying as he is works in the shadows. Silent. Fast. Unknown. Exactly the qualities Batman needs to put fear into criminals. It was perfect how Batman would take criminals into the shadows.
I admired the quality of the actors and actresses. Christian Bale balances perfectly Bruce Wayne and Batman. He has an intensity for both. His voice as the Batman was especially terrifying. His fear for bats is a wonderful enigma in that he becomes what he fears. The scene where the bats are all flying around him brings me to goosebumps as Bruce Wayne realizes his destiny as Batman.
Michael Caine is impeccable as Alfred, his loyalty and dry humor is fantastic. I like that his character is highly intelligent and he’s watching out for Bruce. Katie Holmes made for a great idealist, and I enjoyed that at the end of the movie she took on the role that usually the hero takes. To deny a romance because of their respective directions against crime. I thought it was great storytelling.
Morgan Freeman was the perfect role for Lucius Fox. He is a perfect “Q” to Bruce Wayne’s “Bond” gadgets. His wry and coy mannerisms just tickle the funny bones. I especially liked the scene when Bruce first sees his future batmobile.
Speaking of batmobiles, this version is very practical. I’m a practical man. I like things that make sense. The batmobile had a lot of great “toys,” and it was great to see them used purposefully. I liked that its main feature is its ability to “jump” distances. It made sense with the waterfall entrance of the batcave. While its form isn’t as organic as the first movie, its form is defined by its function. The batmobile is very real, something that could exist in our world on this side of the screen.
Liam Neeson is perfect as the role of a mentor to Bruce. He was the saving grace of “Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” teaching the future Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here he trains Bruce to be his forerunner in taking Gotham down. The dynamic of the student taking on his master is a common conflict, and I enjoyed the uneasy exchanges Liam’s character has with Bruce. The manipulation of fear, attacking the core that made Bruce into Batman, and seemingly to always have an upper hand to Bruce Wayne’s naive youth.
I could go on and on about this movie, but it’ll never add up to seeing it. It’s a masterpiece not just as another Batman movie, but an artform in storytelling. Few things work out as well as “Batman Begins,” and the best part is inherent in its title. It’s only the beginning.
Oh yeah, one of the my favorite lines in the movie was Bruce asking Lucius about the batmobile-to-be, “Does it come in black?”
But utlimately, my favorite moment watching the movie, actually came after the credits started rolling.
“That was a sweet movie,” Jenni exhaled.