July 10 2005

Batman Begins Mini-Review

Yes, I figure most of you have already seen this, but I only got around to seeing it today.

Forgetting the two Tim Burton and the two dreadful Joel Schumacher movies even happened, Warner Brothers and DC Comics relaunch the Batman franchise, taking us back to the beginning of the Dark Knight, played this time by Christian Bale. We go back to the fateful day where Bruce Wayne falls into the cave and is attacked by bats, setting up his fear of bats that follows him until his adult years.

The film spends about the first hour cutting back and forth between the early days of Bruce, to recent flashbacks of his recieving his training from the ninja masters in the Himalayas who work for Ra’s Ah Ghul, the enigmatic leader of a shadowy group who seek to rid the world of evil. We are treated to some of the inner workings of Bruce Wayne. What motivates him, what gives him direction and what it is he wants from all this. We see moral decesions made, and what will become the framework of Batman as avenger instead of as vigilante.

The second half of the film focuses on Bruce’s return to Gotham City, and the beginnings of his crime fighting career. We also get a story line about his fight to regain control of Wayne Industries, which he lost control of when he was believed dead in his time away training. We get more characters in the way of Morgan Freeman’s Lucious Fox, who provides him his equipment. We also get to see the beginning of Batman’s relationship with Jim Gordon, played by Gary Oldman, who will be his biggest supporter in the police department for years to come.

This movie lays a solid groundwork for what is sure to be an attempt at a relaunch of the franchise. At the same time though, I would say it spent too much time doing just that and concerned itself too much with setting up future events. It cost some valuable time in this film with too many small plotlines with no seeming pay off. Too many characters, too many plotlines and way too many sub-plots really dragged the speed of this film down.

The plot lines were worse than the characters, but if someone could explain to me what purpose Katie Holmes’ Rachel really served, I would appreciate it. And while I am thrilled to see The Scarecrow finally get some play as a villian, but the motivations of Cillian Murphy’s Dr. Crane were only explaing as a possible off-hand comment about greed. Otherwise you have no clue why he is doing the “experiments” he is doing.

The funny thing is, even with my complaints, I would recommend the film for a number of reasons. I know I am hyper-critical, and a lot of the problems I have with movies, most people won’t notice because they allow a movie to transport them to another place. I, on the other hand, have a difficult time breaking from the real world. I would also so though that the film is fun, action packed and has the makings of a good start to several more.

So, long story short, go see it, just don’t expect to walk out having expanded your mind.

For fun, some of my “logic” questions:
When crime boss Falcone is strapped to the spotlight, he should have had severe burns from the heat of the light. Guy wasn’t sweating at all.

How stong are the roofs in Gotham that they can support the Batmobile driving across them?

We are shown the Batmobile has silent running, and he disappears from the cops for awhile, so, why did he turn it off? He turned it on, moved back a car length, moved forward and….turned off the silent running for what reason?

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