Stay Home with Batman

In cultureShock, Entertainment by Adam Blasucci

I write this film review as a Batman aficionado and comic book fan. Overall this film was up there with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 as space a great comic book adaptation.

Batman Begins truly brings the franchise back to a new beginning. Tim Burton’s first two entries to the Batman franchise with Michael Keaton as the caped crusader versus Nicholson as the Joker and in the second entry Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin are both great movies. They were both dark nightmare like h and surreal.

Schumacher’s movies became silly and campy with Kilmer and then Clooney as the caped crusader with Bat nipples and an enormous codpiece.

Schumacher’s first entry was a mediocre movie with Kilmer as Batman and over acting villains Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face. But Schumacher’s second Batman film fell on its face with Batman indulging in high camp. Was this the ultimate end of the Dark Knight’s cinematic adventures?

After a long hiatus for the Bat, various writers and directors tossed around many story ideas and finally Warner Bros. decided to go in a new direction with the character.

Warner Bros. picked Christopher Nolan (Momentum and Insomnia) to direct the new bat film. Nolan’s directing definitely brings the franchise back to its prior greatness.

Nolan teamed with David S. Goyer the writer of the Blade Trilogy and director of Blade: Trinity. Goyer a self-proclaimed comic book lover.

Both men were a dynamic duo in their own right when they reinvented the film series. They brought a reality to the world of Batman.

Batman Begins brought back the essence of Batman, which is a dark avenger battling crime and injustice. You can see what motivates Batman to fight crime. Every aspect of the character has a reasonable explanation. Two examples of this were the Bat suit and the Batmobile.

The bat suit was a protective suit of armor for the military, and the cape enabled him to soar through the air. The Batmobile was an unused prototype military vehicle, a heavily armored all-terrain tank like vehicle.

Christian Bale is possibly the ultimate film Batman. Bale played three characters Batman, the guardian of Gotham, the public playboy persona of Bruce Wayne and the private Wayne that the world does not see.

The supporting characters rounded out the movie. Michael Caine brought life to the role of Alfred who was both Butler and father figure to Bruce Wayne.

Morgan Freeman’s character, Lucius Fox, provided Batman with “… all these wonderful toys.” both Caine and Freeman provided some comic relief throughout the film. Katie Holmes’ character was Bruce’s conscience telling him the difference between justice and vengeance.

Gary Oldman played Sgt. Jim Gordon his was one of the best portrayals of the comic book character since Batman: The Animated Series. He explained everything to the audience, he answered the audience’s questions throughout the film and added a little more humor to the story.

Ken Watanabe played Ras Al Ghul a fearsome foe of Batman created in the 1970s. In the comic book the name translated to the Demon’s Head. In the film Ghul is the leader of the League of Shadows, but is this truly who he is?

I will leave out this spoiler; all assumptions are up to you. Liam Neeson played Ducard, Bruce Wayne’s mentor and teacher. He taught Wayne fighting techniques, the shadowy ways of the ninja and how to conquer his fear of bats.

Colin Murphy played the character Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. Dr. Jonathan Crane is a psychologist and masked villain who created a toxin that caused people’s fears to drive them insane. Crane was nothing without his Scarecrow persona and the fear toxin.

What I noticed about this film is that although the cast was stellar, none of the supporting characters outshone Batman. This was a problem in the past entries.

Some of the source material for this Batman story are Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, Denny O’Neil’s The Man who Falls, Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams’ Batman: Tales of the Demon, Sam Hamm’s Batman: Blind Justice and Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Batman: The Long Halloween. The makers of the film craft their own Batman origin tale from all these graphic novels.

When the movie was over, I left with the hope of a sequel. The writers left clues to that possibility when Gordon was promoted to lieutenant.

Then there was a calling card from a certain character, whose name begins with a letter J, has green hair, a fair complexion and loves the color purple. The film’s huge box office gross ensured that, a sequel is inevitable.

Christopher Nolan brought back Bob Kane’s original dark and brooding character.

I’m sure bat fans as well as non-bat fans will enjoy this film. I did.

Email us if you have seen the movie.