BATMAN BEGINS

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 127 minutes
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SPOILERS AHEAD!

The state of superhero movies is becoming more and more questionable as time progresses. With the exception of X2, there really hasn’t been anything exciting within the genre in years but that movie will soon be destroyed when Brett Ratner teams up with atrocious screenwriter Simon Kinberg to make the next one (thank you 20th Century Fox). The über lame Spiderman films have more problems than most people are willing to admit and The Hulk had a decent script plagued by some not-so-special effects. It’s safe to say that most of the human race pretends that Daredevil and Elektra don’t even exist and while this movie isn’t as horrible as the last two Batman films, you have to wonder, we waited 8 years (since 1997’s “Batman and Robin”) for this?

This is supposed to be the beginning of Batman, based on the title, and for the most part it is. We once again see Bruce Wayne witness the murder of his parents by street filth and we once again see him put on the black costume for the first time. Sure, there are little details we may not have seen in the other films – like where exactly the Batsuit came from – but Bruce Wayne is understandably one of the most psychologically messed up characters in comic book history, it’d be nice to see more of that (especially with Nolan co-writing and directing).

With “Batman Begins” however, no new insight about the psychology of Bruce Wayne is revealed. All we get here is, “My parents were murdered in front of my eyes and I have a terrifying phobia of bats.” So he puts on a pretty suit and fights crime. Not exactly the psychological depth we were hoping for, was it? Didn’t we kind of see that before in other films or even television cartoons? Hate to spoil it for you but throw in some samurai training, and that’s pretty much the first unexciting hour of this film.

Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky were once hired to make “Batman: Year One.” Warner let them go for some unknown reason but I’ll bet it must be an interesting one.

Christopher Nolan was then hired and it seemed like a great choice at the time. Based on his previous work (Insomnia and Memento), he has shown that he truly understands how to psychologically delve into a character’s psyche. This is exactly what Batman needed. Instead we are subjected to yet another cheesy and clichéd superhero story.

Of the two villains in the film, one thing that could have been a right decision in “Batman Begins” was the choice of Scarecrow as one of the main villains. Sadly he is wasted here like Bane was in “Batman and Robin.” Scarecrow is easily one of the best evildoers in all of Gotham; it’s a shame that the film doesn’t spend more time exposing his evil deeds. Was there really a need for two villains? Since most of the film is focused on Batman’s so-called beginning, it would have been nice for the filmmakers to use a more simplistic villain and save Scarecrow for a future sequel.

Thankfully, the film looks amazing. Nolan’s usual cinematographer, Wally Pfister, does a brilliant job at capturing Gotham’s dark side and the set design couldn’t be any more perfect. The film is also complimented with a great score, although it is hard to tell who did what, since three or four people are credited for it.

Should we comment on the horrendous Batmobile? You probably saw the trailer, so there is no need.

“Batman Begins” concludes with Commissioner Gordon (greatly executed by Gary Oldman) setting up the infamous Bat-signal and setting up the storyline for the obvious sequel. Christian Bale played the role excellently; let’s just hope the material is better on the next go round so he can truly shine.



Posted on June 18, 2005 in Reviews by
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