This Just In: “Batman Begins” Rules!

OK, so I’m two years behind the curve on this one.  The family sat down to watch Batman Begins last night, and I have to say it was awesome.  Christian Bale is Batman.  It’s that simple.  But what make the movie so compelling is the attention paid to the backstory.  Of course Batman is a ninja.  Why hadn’t I realized that before?  And obviously, he has access to military-development prototypes developed by a corporate machine.  He didn’t just make all that crap himself, like Michael Keaton’s crappy Bruce Wayne appeared to.  And of course his vengeance and “special power” really results from heavy duty hallucinogenics.  Suddenly, instead of a moody guy who happens to live above a well-stocked cave, Batman takes shape as a DARPA-equipped shamanist ninja who’s real pissed off.  That make so much more sense than “billionaire playboy who fights crime for the heck of it”.

The hallucination scenes were pretty intense.  I suppose people who have never taken LSD or mushrooms might think that’s what it’s like to be on those drugs, and to a degree I suppose that’s probably true if Batman or some dude in a scarecrow mask were terrorizing you.   That would definitely qualify as a Bad Trip.  But hey, that’s why it’s a bad idea to trip during the apocalypse.  Usually the only things that ever terrorized me were wood grain paneling or people at Burger King, so I guess I can’t blame people for freaking out when confronted with Batman.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Batman Begins, do so immediately.  It rates as one of the best super hero movies ever made, I think.  That and Hellboy.

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26 Responses to This Just In: “Batman Begins” Rules!

  1. David R says:

    I’d had to thrown on “Let’s get it started” by the Black Eyed Peas to travel back to the summer of 2005, but here we go…

    I really enjoyed Batman Begins as well, and in comparison I thought it pissed on the new Superman movie that soon followed. In all, I think it might be the best super hero movie out there. The darker tone added a lot, and I thought the dude who played the scarecrow actually had some presence in both his personas, which is more than I can say for 90% of super villains. He managed to be scary and threatening despite his inability to actually kick ass, which is impressive in my mind.

    It goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyways) that Bale is the best batman so far; Keaton was enjoyable but your had to suspend your disbelief to see him as Batman. Clooney was boring, despite being an obvious candidate for the Bruce Wayne role. Don’t even get me started on Val Kilmer, who managed to destroy whatever good will he generated in me via the Doors. Bale actually seems like he might enjoy kicking your ass, in addition to seeming capable of pulling it off. Thats one of the big reasons I liked Daniel Craig as the new James Bond as well.

  2. The first Batman was interesting, visually. I’ll always give Tim Burton at least a chance. But the story was all style, just set pieces to show Nicholson or a Batman toy or Kim Basinger. I had no idea who Batman was or why he had a deal with bats or anything I really needed to know.

    And, Batman Begins also works well because they brought in major talent. Christian Bale, obviously, but Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Rutger Hauer, and above all, Michael Caine as Alfred. It works because the focus is on the story and the actors, and not just characters and special effects.

    And the new Batmobile completely kicked ass.

  3. I suppose I should mention Katie Holmes as well, though I view her disapprovingly because of the Tom Cruise thing. She was fine, though. I loved the scene where she slaps Bale not once, but twice. Slap one is never shocking in a movie. Slap two is rare, and tells you somebody means business.

  4. Steve says:

    I, too, agree with the Batman Begins reviews. Best super hero movie ever? Hmm. I’d have to think about that. I have a special affinity for the first Superman. And I thought Spiderman 2 was pretty damn good. I really liked what Ang Lee did stylistically with Hulk, at least until the end where Hulk was about one hop from going into orbit. And then, who could forget Mark Hammil as Cockknocker in Bluntman and Chronic . . . oh wait.

  5. David R says:

    I enjoyed the spider man movies quite a bit in the theater, but upon 2nd viewings I find them slow paced and overly-full of watery eyes. I swear that Peter Parker looks like he’s going to cry in every non-action scene.

    Superman 2 stands the test of time pretty well, and I think its the pick of the superman litter.

    I thought V for Vendetta was surprisingly good, but for some reason that movie spurred very mixed reactions in people.

  6. brent says:

    dave, i’m down with V for Vendetta. one of the best overall pictures i saw that year. not too many movies in the “overtly political, action-adventure” category. when “street fighting man” kicked in for the end credits i wanted to go out and cause mayhem in the streets. if memory serves, i donated $5 to cold stone creamery instead.

    katie holmes bugs me, she bugged me in “thank you for smoking” as well. probably just the cruise thing.

  7. Dave, I had the same reaction to the Spiderman movies. I enjoyed both 1 and 2 quite a bit, but they don’t hold up as well on repeated viewings. There just isn’t much depth there.

    I will throw a shoutout for Katie Holmes’ silk blouse in Batman, however.

  8. The main thing i’m enjoying while reading your blog is the way you write, you are a really charismatic person and your posts are wonderful, keep it up!

  9. Scotch says:

    Whatever you do, don’t bother watching the second Matrix movie. It just doesn’t live up to the hype. 🙂

    On a Batman note, you can check out the new trailer for the Dark Knight (darkknight.com). It looks like it ups the badassedness and THIS is how the Joker should look. I peed my pants just a little bit upon first sight.

  10. Jim says:

    Fuck, I’m behind on this thread, and I have so much to say!

    1. Batman Begins, IMO, is the best comic book movie in recent memory, barely edging out X-Men 2. X-Men 1 and 2 are really excellent.

    2. Spider-Man 2 cannot be considered tops despite how completely fucking great Doc Ock is–in the comics, a moronic villain, but in the movie….great. The reason it cannot be considered is that everything with Aunt May is unforgivable. Unforgivable.

    3. V for Vendetta was excellent, I think. I’m curious about “Watchmen”, which is the best graphic novel ever and is being made into a film, I think.

    4. Hellboy is also entertaining as could be, though the ending is terrible. But Hellboy has so many fantastic lines throughout that I pretty much enjoyed myself thoroughly. It’s not dark enough to compare with X-Men 2 or Batman Begins.

    5. Any comparison of any of the original Superman movies to Batman Begins is, on its face, ridiculous.

  11. Well, duly noted that Nolan & Nolan are making another installment for the franchise. So glad to hear that. The previews I saw didn’t show much Joker, though Heath Ledger is always entertaining and a good choice.

    I need to see V for Vendetta.

    Yes, to be clear, I wasn’t being sarcastic about Hellboy. Unlike any other movie I’ve seen, really. Even Satan’s spawn, or whatever he is, can be a misunderstood galoot with a big heart full of unrequieted love.

  12. mrfares says:

    On the flip side. I am still highly critical of how Judge Dredd turned out and am always awvailable to spend some time discoursing on it

    Begins was superior in every way. Superman 2 was the best of the lot. Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher was an under-screened gem. Hulk sucks.

    And then there’s this.

  13. mrfares says:

    On the flip side. I am still highly critical of how Judge Dredd turned out and am always available to spend some time discoursing on it

    Begins was superior in every way. Superman 2 was the best of the lot. Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher was an under-screened gem. Hulk sucks.

    And then there’s this.

  14. mrfares says:

    …and as long as I am a multi-posting fanboy.
    V for Vendetta was great, Blade rated a six pack at the midnight show, Spawn sucked, Daredevil was the suck, and I saw Howard the Duck that one day it was in the theater, defined the suck.
    David Hasselshoff as Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was surprisingly watchable.

    Did anyone see Constantine?

  15. Nathan D says:

    V for Vendetta? The effusive praise of such an “OK, but not great” movie makes me question everything. Everything.

  16. Nathan D says:

    OK, so, followed the link to Iron Man, and I was about ready to write off the whole thing as ridiculous (oh good, a washed-up actor battling cliched islamic bad guys), but then the music kicks in, and any Iron Man movie that so fully embraces the Black Sabbath anthem clearly deserves some props.

  17. pipelineblog says:

    I had no idea Batman Begins would touch off this kind of reaction.

    OK, I have a question: I’m thinking about showing Linus a scary movie. Well, asking him if he’s interested in watching a scary movie. I obviously wouldn’t force him to watch a scary movie. He’s never shown any kind of scare issue at all, doesn’t have nightmares, is usually pretty lucid about what’s real vs. not real, and so on. And I would give him a general idea of what he would see in the movie, so he’s not alarmed.

    The two movies I have in mind are “Jaws”, or John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. I agree The Thing might be too scary for him in places, but he would finally understand why all of our chess games end with me tossing my scotch & rocks onto the board. Jaws, on the other hand, I think a he could probably get through pretty well. What most concerns me there is that we’ll get to the lake next summer, and he’ll be afraid of being in the water, and I’ll get in trouble for humming the Jaws theme.

    Am I crazy?

  18. Katy says:

    I saw Jaws for the first time when I was not much older than Linus, and was afraid of the lake for several summers at the cabin thereafter, though I went in anyway. I think Linus is probably way less of a scaredy-cat than me. He would be fine. Aside from the mechanical shark, I think that movie holds up quite well, it would be fun for you to watch too. In fact, it would be fun for me to watch. We own it – let us know and we’ll bring it over.

    On a side note, I also liked V for Vendetta quite a bit, and am excited for Dark Knight Returns, one of the few graphic novels I have ever read (or is it a comic book? It’s longer than a comic book…). But does Christian Bale play batman in that one? Because Batman is old in Dark Knight Returns. Like, 50.

  19. Jaws is one of my favorite movies of all-time, so we might just take you up on that offer. I actually think the mechanical shark holds up pretty well. If they did it today they would overdo it with CGI.

    I don’t think it’s “Dark Knight Returns”, just “Dark Knight”.

  20. Paul says:

    That’s correct. It’s not the Dark Knight Returns, altho that could be cool. There actually was talk of a Batman v. Superman movie that I assume would have been based in part on DKRs, but it fell thru.

    Altho I found the movie too ugly and brutal for my taste, Sin City was a great comic book adaptation that I don’t think has been named.

    Hellboy was awesome, except for the wacky ending, agreed. Frankly, I also thought the ending to Batman Begins was a little weak too. But the strong beginning and care with which they developed the backstory was so good it swamped it.

    Wow, both Fantasic Fours were awful. I don’t know which one was worse.

    I have high hopes for both the new Iron Man and the new Hulk, starring Downey and Ed Norton, respectively. Two very good actors.

    But the new Luke Cage: Hero for Hire starring Tyrese? Money.

  21. Paul says:

    This leads to a funny segment at Cracked entitled “5 Upcoming Comic Book Movies that Must Be Stopped”

    http://www.cracked.com/article_15679_5-upcoming-comic-book-movies-that-must-be-stopped.html

    “DJ Baldar the Funky Ramrod” — Can’t say that’s not funny.

  22. Everybody, and I mean everybody, should go read the link about the five upcoming movies Paul just posted above.

  23. mrfares says:

    That is great, as is much at cracked.com.

    I read the book Jaws back in the 70s but never saw the whole movie until last summer. I was ready to enjoy the movie in a campy-retro way and ended up being very scared. I would be reluctant to watch either with a kid unless that kid already had a good handle on stuff like Shelob and Voldemort.

  24. mrfares says:

    Nathan, I suppose that is the key. I would watch golf if they played more Sabbath. To his credit I just watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and RDJ is great in it, not very washed up.

  25. Jim says:

    I can’t believe the second FF could be worse than the first; I didn’t see it. The first is an abomination, despite the historically hot (though thoroughly untalented) Jessica Alba.

    I hated Sin City. Turned it off. Too much for me.

  26. Nathan D says:

    So, did you do the scary movie?

    I have to agree that starting with movies that have scary parts is probably better than movies specifically designed to tap into primal fear.

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