Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Batman Begins"

I went to the mall early enough to beat the Friday night crowds, bought yummy buttery movie popcorn, and found the perfect seat in a nearly empty theatre to watch "Batman Begins." Two months ago, I had very low expectations for a Batman prequel that included Christian Bale and Katie Holmes. Besides, has there been a truly good Batman movie since Tim Burton stopped directing them? I should say not. But I started hearing great things about the movie from people whose movie judgement I trust, and I'm afraid that my expectations rose. That's too bad because I was really wanting to be wowed.
I was not, in fact, wowed. It was better than I thought it was going to be, but it was a little too . . . cluttered. I found out it was created by Christopher Nolan. This was kind of the "A-ha" moment for me. The effect of "Batman Begins" was the same as Nolan's "Memento" -- too ambitious for its own good. Nolan tries to be innovative (so kudos for that), but the result is that his movies center around these idealist abstractions. I agree with MSNBC's John Hartl, who writes: ""Batman Begins" is cluttered with too much plot, too many locations and a sense that it's always trying to do too much." (For his full review, click here.) Are we supposed to be blown away by lines like, "To conquer fear you must become fear" just because they are spoken by Liam Neeson in the eastern hemisphere? If the movie had stuck to scenes in which Batman actually begins -- when he gets his suit and starts fighting crime -- we might've had a winner. As it is, I found myself getting tired by the end. That's saying a lot, too, because I LOVE long movies. But I was ready for it to end 15 minutes before it actually did.
One good thing I will say about the film is that it had some great actors. Christian Bale was good afterall and Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman were fun to watch. I think it was these supporting actors who really carried the weight of the movie. The score was good as well.
My final opinion: Keep your low expectations. Watch it because it's part of the Batman series now, and it will make you want to watch the first one in all of its Tim Burton/Michael Keaton glory.


Anonymous Jason said...

I agree with you about "Batman Begins." I felt like it was two movies packed into one, and it tried to be too realistic with the story. Batman just ain't Batman if you think of him as just a guy with a grudge who likes to wear rubber. I have to disagree with you, though, on "Memento." That film is a classic. A perfect marriage of style and substance. But I have to say that Nolan hasn't been able to measure up to that film since.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I thought you would disagree about "Memento." You would like it. :)

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Jacki said...

I will say loud and proud that I LOVED BATMAN BEGINS!!! And Christian Bale is no Brooks Snow... But he pulls a close 2nd!!!

9:46 AM  

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