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Old June 18 2012, 03:49 AM   #136
Warped9
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Re: Batman...

Batman Begins (2005) *****

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to fight the city's criminals.

I'd forgotten how much I had enjoyed this film. As big a step upward as the 1989 Batman was over what had preceded it Batman Begins takes it to another level. There is very much a Batman: Year One feel to this movie. Yeah, they fudge Batman's origins by adding Ras al Gul into the mix too soon, but aside from that they put it all together rather well. Also I really like that for this reboot they avoided the Joker the first time around and gave us an interesting take on a lesser known villain, the Scarecrow.

With any superhero film you're going to get a fair amount of symbolism and exaggeration, but you can offset that with a good dose of realism to foster a decent suspension of disbelief. Nolan jettisoned Tim Burton's Gothic like Gotham City for something of a more modern feel. Nolan's Gotham is a mix of contemporary and post WW2 look to it.

One aspect of this film makes it feel older than more current superhero films: it takes its time building the foundations in the beginning. Everyone knows the basics of Batman's origin and yet the first half of the film is very much focused on Bruce Wayne before the Batman persona is invented. I found myself liking this although I could see how someone else might get more impatient for Batman to finally appear onscreen.

One thing that surprised me was the infamous growling Batman voice didn't seem so pronounced this time around. Only a few times did it feel just a touch overdone while the rest of the time it sounded mostly like Christian Bale's voice pitched a bit lower.

I recall a lot of criticism over the Rachel Dawes character when this film came out, but again this time around I really didn't have any issue with her. I felt all the characters were decently done in this. I liked Gary Oldman's take on Gordon although I could quibble about introducing him so soon in Bruce's life. I really liked Morgan Freeman's portrayal of Lucius Fox.

I was one of the many who didn't care for the new "Batmobile," the Tumbler, when early pics surfaced, but seeing it in action onscreen I near instantly bought into it. I certainly like it more compared to the Batmobile of the previous four films. It look much more like what a more realistic Batman would have at his disposable rather than an overly designed show car.

I really liked a lot of the imagery in this film. I also appreciated the more serious sensibility to it and with the camp elements turned way done to almost zero.

In the end this was a damned good start to Nolan's Batman trilogy of films. It certainly had me pumped for its sequel.
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Old June 18 2012, 04:33 AM   #137
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Re: Batman...

Camp elements at almost zero? I'd say they were completely at zero!
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Old June 18 2012, 05:59 AM   #138
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Re: Batman...

"Camp" is a term that is used so often and in different ways it can mean anything now.

Most people tend to associate it specifically to the Adam West tv show. But it has history and meaning that is bigger than that.

Some think Superheroes are Camp in any form regardless of how seriously they are done. It is a adult man going out at night in a Bat costume after all.
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Old June 18 2012, 01:35 PM   #139
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Re: Batman...

^Camp is presenting something in an exaggerated and farcical way in order to poke fun at it. If the intent is to treat it seriously, then it's not camp.


I think Batman Begins is a flawed and uneven film. The parts of it that feel like a character-driven indie drama are awesome, but the big action set pieces are pretty stupid and feel tacked on to meet the expectations of a summer blockbuster. First you've got the part where Bruce says he refuses to kill, and then immediately, deliberately throws a hot poker into a munitions dump and kills a whole bunch of people. That was unforgivably stupid and wrong, assassinating the character and throwing logic under a truck just to meet a mandated quota of explosions. Then there's the climax where a microwave weapon is somehow powerful enough to flash-vaporize all the water underground (and somehow able to penetrate the metal pipes in the first place) and yet doesn't boil the water inside people's bodies and kill a whole bunch of people (who are also oddly unscalded by all the superheated steam all over the place). Not to mention the needless complication of turning a toxin into a waterborne form just so you can then vaporize it. Why not just make it airborne in the first place? Who's the League of Shadows's strategic planner, Rube Goldberg? That whole thing is just complete nonsense and physical impossibility on every level, and it belongs in something as ridiculous as the Burton or Schumacher movies, not in a realistic universe like Nolan's.

So BB was a very flawed movie that only got it half right. It wasn't until TDK that things really came together, either because Nolan had figured out how better to integrate action into his realistic approach, or because he was under less pressure from the studio and got to do things his own way.

I never really had a problem with Katie Holmes as Rachel; I think she did a perfectly acceptable job, but happened to be surrounded by really brilliant actors who were operating on a higher level.
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Old June 18 2012, 01:37 PM   #140
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Re: Batman...

I normally despise origin stories in superhero movies because we all know the story intimately, but Batman Begins is the only one where I actually preferred the first half of the movie to the second half. It was that well done. Bruce's rage and pain, the international locations, Ra'sh Al Ghul, it was all just perfect.
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Old June 18 2012, 03:39 PM   #141
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Re: Batman...

Donald Draper wrote: View Post
"Camp" is a term that is used so often and in different ways it can mean anything now.
It's also been used incorrectly (and in my opinion, unfairly) to dismiss any show or movie made before 2003.

That said, I agree with Warped, Batman Begins is a enjoyable film, despite the inclusions of Ra's Al Ghul (a character I've never liked), and Rachel Dawes, a pointless addition that I still think should have been Vicki Vale.
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Old June 18 2012, 04:52 PM   #142
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Re: Batman...

So I just watched Batman and Robin and it reminded me of the TV show, so would it mean its a sequel to the TV show?? lol
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Old June 18 2012, 06:22 PM   #143
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Re: Batman...

Joerib wrote: View Post
So I just watched Batman and Robin and it reminded me of the TV show, so would it mean its a sequel to the TV show?? lol
I've always seen it as a homage. Just not a very good one.
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Old June 18 2012, 07:13 PM   #144
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Re: Batman...

RandyS wrote: View Post
That said, I agree with Warped, Batman Begins is a enjoyable film, despite the inclusions of Ra's Al Ghul (a character I've never liked), and Rachel Dawes, a pointless addition that I still think should have been Vicki Vale.
I don't see how Vicki would've worked in that context. The character needed to be a childhood friend of Bruce's, someone who'd known him from the beginning, someone he trusted so much that holding onto her respect meant more to him than avenging his parents' murder. The character also needed to be a district attorney, the one idealist within a corrupt justice system. She was far from pointless, since Bruce would never have become Batman if she hadn't steered him away from vengeance toward justice. She was the embodiment of (or at least the spokesperson for) everything Batman fights for, the ideals that make him a hero rather than a psycho vigilante.

If any pre-existing character could've filled Rachel's role, it would've been Harvey Dent, not Vicki Vale. But obviously they felt the film needed a love interest.
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Old June 18 2012, 09:46 PM   #145
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Re: Batman...

RandyS wrote: View Post
Joerib wrote: View Post
So I just watched Batman and Robin and it reminded me of the TV show, so would it mean its a sequel to the TV show?? lol
I've always seen it as a homage. Just not a very good one.
Homage, an offensive ass-raping big difference. B&R is the latter.
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Old June 18 2012, 10:04 PM   #146
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Re: Batman...

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
"Batman is an insane sociopath" is one of the things that I don't get and "follow" when it comes to Batman and is one of the main reasons Frank Miller's "All Star Batman and Robin age Twelve" sucks so much.
yeah, the whole thing really originated with Miller, who has said many times that Batman is insane (see the extras on the Daredevil DVD, for instance). I'm not a fan of this interpretation.
I've always gone with Superman being the "real guy" with Clark Kent being "the disguise"
Ditto.
So with Batman is the "real man" the playboy billionaire or the sociopathic crime-fighter?
Well, we have to stick with the source material. Bruce Wayne, like Don Diego de la Vega, is a rich wastrel, a front for the activities of Batman. So Batman is the real man.
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Old June 18 2012, 10:55 PM   #147
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Re: Batman...

Christopher wrote: View Post
If any pre-existing character could've filled Rachel's role, it would've been Harvey Dent, not Vicki Vale. But obviously they felt the film needed a love interest.
I have to admit, I'm intrigued by the direction this could be taken.
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Old June 19 2012, 11:15 PM   #148
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Re: Batman...

The Dark Knight (2008) *****

A madman reigns terror and chaos upon Gotham City.

A movie like Avengers might make the big bucks as well as other superheroes being popular, but no one is doing the superhero like Christopher Nolan's take on Batman.

Watching this is a whole other experience in this genre. Granted it, too, sometimes goes over-the-top, but you somehow excuse it because everything seems so much more grounded than in other films.

This film really does talk about the idea of what it could conceivably be like if someone really did suit up to fight the criminals. They certainly wouldn't just pack it in. They would definitely fight and someone truly bent could rise up to take on the hero.

I really like this film, but it isn't perfect. On a minor note the infamous Batman growl seems more pronounced here than in Batman Begins. Bruce seized onto the idea of Harvey Dent as saviour a little too easily and likely prompted by his pining for Rachel. Too bad he couldn't see that she was already out of reach. It was clear she really didn't know him. I also don't really agree with the ending thought that Batman had to be made into a hunted criminal just to cover up what Harvey had done. If a scapegoat were really need there were certainly other more "worthy" candidates available in a snake pit like Gotham City.

I mentioned some over-the-top moments: Well, just when did the Joker have the time and foresight and opportunity to so thoroughly lace the hospital with explosives? Seeing the tractor trailer flip end-over-end struck me as highly unlikely. Catching Rachel in midair, not deploying the cape as glider and yet they still survived the fall unscathed!!! And there were a few other moments. Well, it is a superhero film.

Watching this again, though, it is a good followup to Batman Begins. But it does make me wonder: as much as I look forward to The Dark Knight Rises I do wonder about how Nolan will be able to top The Dark Knight.
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Old June 19 2012, 11:36 PM   #149
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Re: Batman...

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
"Batman is an insane sociopath" is one of the things that I don't get and "follow" when it comes to Batman and is one of the main reasons Frank Miller's "All Star Batman and Robin age Twelve" sucks so much.
yeah, the whole thing really originated with Miller, who has said many times that Batman is insane (see the extras on the Daredevil DVD, for instance). I'm not a fan of this interpretation.
I've always gone with Superman being the "real guy" with Clark Kent being "the disguise"
Ditto.
So with Batman is the "real man" the playboy billionaire or the sociopathic crime-fighter?
Well, we have to stick with the source material. Bruce Wayne, like Don Diego de la Vega, is a rich wastrel, a front for the activities of Batman. So Batman is the real man.
I, mostly, agree but think the "real man" lies somewhere in between with Batman being Bruce's Mr. Hyde to "public figure Bruce Wayne's" Dr. Jekyll. Neither persona is the "real man." As Bruce he turns up the douchebag, clueless, billionaire to 11. As Batman he turns up the "ruthless crimefighter" to 26.

Who he "really is" is probably closer to how he behaves in private, with Alfred or anyone else who knows his true identity. When he's brooding in the Batcave or something we're seeing the "real guy."
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Old June 20 2012, 12:41 AM   #150
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Re: Batman...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Bruce seized onto the idea of Harvey Dent as saviour a little too easily and likely prompted by his pining for Rachel. Too bad he couldn't see that she was already out of reach. It was clear she really didn't know him. I also don't really agree with the ending thought that Batman had to be made into a hunted criminal just to cover up what Harvey had done. If a scapegoat were really need there were certainly other more "worthy" candidates available in a snake pit like Gotham City.
It's about more than that, though. The arc of the two films so far is the redemption of Gotham. In the first film, the city was so corrupt and lost that it needed Batman and his extreme methods to save it from itself. Batman gave Gotham a symbol of hope to start pulling them out of despair and back toward the light, but that was just the first step, an extreme measure for an extreme situation. The next step was healing Gotham to the point that the system could work again and the people would have enough hope and belief in their city that they could make it a safe, just place on their own, without needing the crutch of Batman anymore. Building up Harvey was about that, about giving Gotham a legitimate champion who worked within the system and out in the open. Batman could only take the city's recovery so far, and he needed to hand it off to Harvey to take it the rest of the way. Batman's sacrifice at the end was about completing that transition: replacing Batman with Harvey as the city's symbol of hope and justice, weaning Gotham of its dependence on Batman and enabling it to stand on its own as a healthy society once more.



Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I, mostly, agree but think the "real man" lies somewhere in between with Batman being Bruce's Mr. Hyde to "public figure Bruce Wayne's" Dr. Jekyll. Neither persona is the "real man." As Bruce he turns up the douchebag, clueless, billionaire to 11. As Batman he turns up the "ruthless crimefighter" to 26.

Who he "really is" is probably closer to how he behaves in private, with Alfred or anyone else who knows his true identity. When he's brooding in the Batcave or something we're seeing the "real guy."
Well, the real guy is the brilliant and ultra-capable man devoted to his crimefighting mission above all else. So in that sense, Batman is the real persona. But the way he presents himself as Batman, the theatricality and iconography of it, is calculated psychological warfare to strike fear into the hearts of criminals and instill hope in their beleaguered victims.
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