Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Review: Batman Begins

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Batman Begins poster

Batman Begins
140 mins / Dir. Christopher Nolan

It's at times like this, that Cineworld remind me of why I live 10 minutes away from one of their picture-houses and pay for that card every month. Notwithstanding the absolute shower of shit my local has been half-arsedly putting on recently*1, a one-night-only double-bill of two intense movies in preparation for a third intense movie is precisely what a geeky shut-in like me wants. So let's get wired on overpriced coffee and lost in Gotham...

For me, Batman Begins was a grower, if you'll pardon the expression. When I originally saw on its initial release, I was slightly underwhelmed, I can't deny it. Since I didn't read any of the advance press (hey, I'm spoiler-sensitive), I wasn't aware that it was a reboot, and consequentally spent most of the film trying to tie it in with Keaton-era Batman. Which clearly doesn't work.

A couple of years later, I watched it again, and while I got more out of it I still felt something missing. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then late last year, someone (I can't remember who, sadly) told me what I'd been doing wrong. I was watching it as a superhero film. It sounds stupid, but seems so obvious: As a superhero tale, it touches on hardly any of the bases an audience is used to. The origins-aspect takes way too long, the plot sprawls wider than it should to be just the story of Wayne/Batman, and most importantly; it doesn't spoon-feed you a linear plot the way that most films in the genre do.

As a superhero film, Batman Begins is too loosely focused. As a dark, crime thriller that just happens to have Batman in it, it's pretty fucking awesome. And I'm not saying that all of the hero-genre should be like this, it just works really well in the context of Batman.

In fact, applying the thriller-aspect to the film, I wanted to see more of Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul. The final sequence with the microwave-emitter on the train almost seems too comic-book in comparison to the tale that's been woven up to that point. Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy are both on great form in BB, even (or probably because) Neeson is essentially being Qui-Gon Jinn again, only in a more jaded form.

I'm still not a massive fan of Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne, although I like his Batman persona (again, even if/because there's so much of Keaton's Batman in his cowled performance), and it's left to Michael Caine to bring the warmth to the scenes where we're meant to be sympathising with Wayne. I'm also not huge on Katie Holmes, but that's just me.

On reflection, and it's taken me time to reflect, there are a lot of things I like about Batman Begins very much, and they far outweigh the things I don't.


*1 The Five Year Engagement, Katy Perry, and Friends with Kids / Magic Mike which I point-blank refuse to see. It's the fucking summer for fuck's sake - not everyone's at home watching the fucking sport. #Fuck

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment