I saw Batman Begins today and not only was it AWESOME but they finally hired an actor who looks like he's fucking Batman. Huzzah, Christian Bale, not only do you look FINE, but you look like you can beat up thugs any day of the week.
When I worked, long, long ago at a hellish fast food place, it would sometimes be slow late at night. So I'd chat with a fellow coworker about movies. He enjoyed man's man movies, that is, movies with a lot of action and beating up of people.
One thing he was very adamant about was that they need to hire an actor who matched up with the Batman of the comics. For you see, Batman is a hulking man, he has no superpowers beyond the skills he's picked up in years of training, he's a mortal, he can get wounded and they needed to hire an actor who looked like he could take a hit, who looked athletic. In short, they needed muscles and not just a pretty face.
I'd always said that of all the craptastic Batman movies, at least Val Kilmer sorta looked like he worked out. Michael Keaton was horrible in my humble opinion, he's just not Batman. He's more Mr. Spaztastic and his Bruce Wayne made me want to slap him - he was was such a bitch and a lot of the villians wouldn't have gone after him if he wasn't such a petulant bitch. Although those movies (Batman and Batman Returns) at least created something of an atmosphere - an over the top, really goofy universe, but at least you could believe in it somewhat. And Catwoman was not only fucking insane in a good way, but she was kinda fucking awesome. However, the flaw to Tim Burton's visual landscape was that it's Tim Burton and not really the Batman of the comics. It was just too too - the darkness was made broad so while you were grossed out, you also saw it as a false world, an impossible world that existed.
We do not mention Batman and Robin, for lo, it sucked mightily. I thought Clooney was horrid, mostly because he's just not that kind of actor to pull off Batman, his joking nature didn't fit Batman, who is the craziest and most deranged of all the comic book heroes. (In a good way, of course.)
Hell, he's the one that carries kryptonite to keep Superman in check and you just know he will use it. He's a twisted mo-fo, and that's why I love him. I was never a Superman fan anyway, despite my shameful love of Lois and Clark (hey, I was young, it was mindless and fun - shut up). Batman's gritty, he's fucked up in the head, but he's trying to do right, especially when he fails. He doesn't have the bland "I am a hero because that is my nature" characterization, he's complicated, he's a character of deep physchological flaws and his redeeming characteristics is that he's trying to do some good, even if he's doing it in a twisted way. He has compassion, just not an ocean to spare.
One more thing about the suck of B&R, despite the fact that I said I wouldn't mention it: The batmobile sucked ass. WTF is the point of it being open-air and only fitting one person? Bah, that was a stupid design and looked so lame. But everything in that movie looked lame. Just one word is needed: Nipples.
The new batmoblie is strange, but at least it does something - causes a whole lotta damage to Gotham City and the budget of the police force. Plus, as it's Batman Begins, this is like My First Batmobile - he'll grow out of and go back towards the sleek batmobile we all know and love.
So yeah, I love Christian Bale. I've always had a thing for him , ever since he was Laurie in Little Women - Eeee! Such love. Plus, he can act. Which is important. You need an actor able to make Batman more than just a masked crusader and to make Bruce Wayne as scarred and damage as he needs to be in order to justify the Batman identity.
He doesn't rely on tics - which made Keaton's and Clooney's Batmans extra-awful and he isn't as batshit insane as Val Kilmer (as in acting styles - Kilmer's method-acting was just too much for a Batman movie and it's boring to watch him sit&angst. At least when Bale angsts, he does something, whether it's planning to murder his parents' killer or fighting with ninjas in order to temper the rage and grief into something useful).
Bale convey so much with a look and while he's very droll as Bruce, he's also human. He's hurt and he's pissed at the world, but dammit, he's going to do something, even (or perhaps, especially) if it kills him.
Also, I liked the Batman!voice. It's a way of furthering divorcing Batman from Bruce Wayne, and it's another way of creating that icon, the 'don't fuck with me, I'll make you wish you'd never been born' voice works with the Batman the director and co-screenwriter Nolan is creating within the context of the movie. It's all about identities, but it isn't handled with a broad stroke, it isn't campy the way the franchise tends to be. When Bale is Batman, he's Batman, when Bale is Bruce, he's an incomplete man using his real identity as a mask to hide in plain sight.
It was great also seeing Bruce working to become Batman, all the little details are fantastic - that he has to order 10,000 graphite masks so as to keep people from being suspicious and Bale perfectly delivering the dry line, "well, at least we'll have backup" because yeah, don't we all wonder about Batman's extra suits? You don't? Well, er, it's something that always bothered me - that he only has enough material for about three suits in most of the movies and that his suits never break or need repair.
And he has to build his weapons and fix them and tinker with them. As Homer Simpson once said, "Batman's a scientist" and it was great seeing that in play here. He's not merely handed things out of the air, despite his Q, Freeman's Fox, he has to convert things and create things. His batcave is a work in progress and EEEEE I gush because I love. I want to shout from the hilltops BATMAN'S A SCIENTIST and they recognise that the moment Bruce comes back and asks for a job, not as a CEO or the like, no he wants to work with Fox. "For spelunking purposes." Yeah, right.
I love that his bat ears weren't just for design but he used them, it was very clever. And you saw him tinkering with them, which means they're still a prototype because he didn't hear things too great. Ahhh, things like that make me full of joy.
The movie was breaking away from the stupid elements of the earlier franchise - Gotham isn't an insanely oversized city with enormous buildings made out of colossal statues - it's an expanded New York City (on crack) instead. It's a place gone to rot, the insane asylum is located in the city, not shunted off to a mysterious island, it's somewhere dangerous resting in the very heart of the city.
The monorail/El-train has gone to hell, it makes the city ever more creepy and it creates an active pulse in the city. I marvelled at the special effects and how they looked - the shots looked like a real place, a place I never wanted to visit, but a place in need of a crazy hero - Batman. It wasn't overdone and most important of all, it didn't look as agressively fake as the Gothams of the past.
Finally, the D.C. Comics have a movie under their belt that doesn't suck. Amazing.
And the villians! These were real villians, not suddenly given a lame excuse to go up against Batman - they had their own motivations. I love the surprise with Liam - usually he's in mentor role (a la Star Wars) destined to die off in a dramatic scene, here he's important and he's interesting. He helps create Batman, for his own purposes, and he warns Bruce against Batman's better angels (compassion), that which causes Bruce to save him from a certain death.
There's a penalty for saving Liam's life - Liam turns out to be the villian in a shock that made me very pleased. I'd assumed he'd show up in Gotham, but as an underling and somehow save Batman from certain death to repay his debt. He doesn't do that, not at all. Excellent.
Sometimes, doing the right thing makes things even worse. Damn, but that's totally a major thread in Batman's mythos. After all, he gets into fights with his allies, he tends to hook up with the bad girls (Batman/Catwoman 4evah!), and he'll kill Superman if he has to. I'm sorry I'm bringing that up, but I think that's so cool and if someone tells me "Oh, but now Batman doesn't have the kryponite" or "they dropped that storyline" I'm going to be 'la la la, I can't hear you.' My Batman would totally weaken or kill Superman if that was the only option.
I love how they took the mythos of Batman and made it something tangible, not cartoonish. You believe that there's a sooper-sekrit sect of ninjas who believe in bringing chaos to cleanse decadence, and it's not overblown, it's real men, living men doing this, not super-villians with impossible powers.
Cillian Murphy rocked as Scarecrow, a vile, evil son of a bitch with a plastic, pretty face and those glasses and then his blue, blue eye staring out of the mask? Yeah, he's eeeevil. But in a good way. And he's not just killed off, he's still 'missing' so we've got a recurring villain. Oh, and Liam, because ya know, his character is alledgely immortal. I'm just glad his stupid daughter wasn't shoehorned in this movie and if she shows up in a sequel, that she doesn't suck. Perhaps they'll have her die horribly. There's something to hope for.
I think everyone was great in their parts. Even Katie Holmes and she's been seriously annoying me for the past two months. I didn't notice any of her normal acting tics - the infamous head-bob/shaking head of Dawson's Creek or the wrinkled forehead of Deep Thinking. If she hasn't completely lost her mind because of the Cruise & the Clams, I'd like to see her again if there's a sequel, mostly for continuity's sake - she's a connection to the District Attorney's office, an ally for Batman.
Gary Oldman's confuzzled Gordon (Lt. by the end of the movie! Yay) was so damn adorable. Gaz was adorable. A decent, human character who wasn't self-righteous and tried to do right, even in a city as corrupt as Gotham. And he drove the batmobile! Fantastic.
Morgan Freeman was great, had some of the best lines of the movie. The rest went to Michael Caine's snarky Alfred, another real character, not just 'The Bulter.' I mean, who else would sarcastically quip to Bruce, "I don't see the point of all those pushups if you can't get that [burning wooden beam] off of you" while the manor was burning down around them? And when he told Bruce, after his seven year absence, that he'd been declared legally dead and that he'd taken over Bruce's holdings, finishing with the line "You can take the [car], just fill up the tank"? Man, it was great.
And no, er, there was no thought of Fox/Alfred in that moment where "Lucius" shows up at the Manor and Alfred apparently knows him pretty well. Nope. Not from me. *shifty eyes*
Mmm, what else to gush about? Oh yes, Rutger Hauer. He WASN'T EVIL. I mean, maybe he'll go eeeeevil in the sequel since he lost his job and all, but I suspected him as the sekrit crime boss or a conspirator since he's Rutger Hauer and he's always evil in the end. That was a pleasant surprise and a good use of smoke and mirrors - we all know that there's someone else pulling the strings and he's so amped about that missing device, so hmmm, wonder if he's in league with the real baddies. Turns out? He wasn't, at least in this movie.
But I'd keep an eye on him. He just can't stop with the eeeeevil.
One of the weak points of the movie was indeed the action/fighting scenes, which was unfortunate, because of the rest of the movie is damn good. It's hard to tell who's kicking what ass and it was annoying. Especially Bruce's last ninja fight - if that was edited better, it would have been one of my favorite scenes, but it was too muddy and confusing.
But I'll now mention that I love Bruce the Playboy. That he winds up on Page 8 with "Drunken Billionare Burns Down Mansion"? Is hysterical and awesome. As is Bale's drunk performance, just the right level so you think he's quite serious even though he isn't really drunk (and hell, he probably is at some level, he doesn't like playing 'Bruce the Playboy' and he didn't want to be there anyway. He must have been happy he had an excuse to break it up, with the impending destruction of Gotham and all, heh).
In short, a sequel would be nice, so long as Nolan is director and they hire another editor for the fight scenes.
Ooh, and they simply must hire Mark Hamill to do the voice or just the laugh of the Joker. Because *flails* the Joker is like one of my favorite villians. And Mark's performance in the 90's cartoon owns my soul. That laugh. *shudders in a good way*
From officialgaiman Look, you too can be a journalist someday! If you've ever enjoyed a comic book, in any media, whether it be TV, movie, bookform or something else (I dunno, action figures?) you simply must read that article at marvel at the stupidity.
Plus, the term 'girl power' is incredibly annoying because most jackasses who use it have no idea what the fuck they're talking about.