Sunday, June 19, 2005

Batman Begins

Well, I loved it. It was unquestionably the best Batman film since the first Burton one (I always thought the second Burton Batman overrated) and probably the best ever. Oh, it's not Citizen Kane -- after all, it doesn't star Orson Welles, wasn't in black and white and isn't based on the life of William Randolph Hearst. Or if it is, I have to review my WRH lore.* But it's exciting and funny and visually absolutely knock-down gorgeous. And all the good things people are saying about the casting (especially Michael Caine) are completely right.

One thing I loved: the fight scenes. In this, the NY Times film critic Manohla Dargis (who was generally very positive about the film) was dead wrong. Oh, the later scenes (especially the one on the subway) were a bit messy. But what was great about the early scenes was that they were from the point of view of the villains -- Batman was a shadow, a hint, a flash which you didn't quite see: it was powerful and effective and got the idea of Batman (that is, Bruce Wayne's idea) just right.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I knew almost nothing about the film going in -- I had thought the trailer was eh, hadn't read any reviews and the last few Batman films were genuinely terrible. I probably wouldn't have gone if some friends of ours hadn't suggested it. But it was immensely enjoyable. Recommended to anyone who likes this sort of thing at all.

Pleasant to get a good summer action film after the disappointment that was Revenge of the Sith. As my wife said when we were walking out of Batman Begins, "Why couldn't they have written Star Wars?"

(* Citizen Kane joke adapted -- well, stolen -- from a Joss Whedon commentary. I forget which.)

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