Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins:
I'm already sick of talking about it. Working in a comic shop, everyone comes in and immediately asks "Seen Batman yet?" Apply to any other comic or geek-related movie, and you might get why I'm just tired of talking about all the geek-tainment much, much faster than most. Especially since really, I have to be a buzzkill on this one. Batman Begins is a decent flick, but it is not the great definitive Batman movie everyone is making it out to be. It seems like as comic fans, we've all become so desperate for a good comic book movie that any halfway decent comic book movie gets called great.

Don't want to spoil it for anyone, so all I'll say specifically is that the first half, the Bruce Wayne half, is pretty good, and I bought into most of it. I thought Bale did a great job playing Bruce Wayne in general. But his Batman is so over-the-top angry that I felt like Bale didn't "get" superhero acting and was almost verging on camp. Liam Neeson and Michael Caine were both terrific, and in fact their characters' relationships with Bruce were so much more interesting and believable than the one he had with Katie Holmes (who I like, but who really didn't belong in this movie... others have suggested Talia as a more obvious love influence, and a likely stronger female presence, and I totally agree). Gary Oldman was good, but his Gordon was toned down to a borderline comedic presence at times, and I think Oldman could have pulled off the badass Gordon from Year One if only the script had allowed it. Then there's the second half of the movie, the Batman vs. supervillain half, which seemed like a completely different film. The plot doesn't really make much sense, and it's like the whole thing suddenly went from ultra-real to over-the-top sci-fi, and it didn't work.

Overall, my sense was: Good casting (with a couple exceptions), good direction, weak script. Good movie, but I'm unlikely to see it again. Bale provided the best Bruce Wayne we've yet seen in films, but I thought Keaton was a better Batman. And nothing live action has even come close to touching the animated series, which got it all right in all the right ways.

Favorite superhero movies for me remain The Rocketeer and The Incredibles, with X-Men 2 trailing just behind, and X-Men and Spider-Man quite a distance beyond that.

Oh, and I'm in almost total agreement with Scott Kurtz (of PVP) and Peter Travers (of Rolling Stone, who also nailed Episode III right on in his review).