Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins (****)

I love this movie. Hats off to Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, who co-scripted, and Nolan, who directed. This is Batman as it's never been told before: dark, scary, complex, character-driven, and brilliantly acted. Imagine that: an intelligent, exciting, and totally entertaining mainstream Hollywood blockbuster that focuses more on story and character than it does on special effects and gee-whiz thrills. Don't get me wrong though. The gee-whiz thrills are there and then some. But what this film does really well is focus on the man behind the mask.
Christian Bale is wonderful in the role, and I think, the most accomplished actor to take on the part. He invests Bruce Wayne with depth and grace, and when he dons the cape and mask, the voice he uses is like a creature out of hell: it puts the fear in anyone. I really enjoyed the fact that this one focused so much on Batman. All the previous Batman movies were fascinated by the villains. Here, the villains are low-key, believable, and they all take a back seat to Batman.
Believability is another key element of the film. Nolan and Goyer have done an incredible job of deconstructing the legend and fashioning an origin tale that is both super and yet totally of-this-world. Gotham City is a weird mix of many big cities, and it manages both to be futuristic and utterly modern. The weapons and the Batmobile are all given practical explanations, as are Batman's fighting skills.
And how about that cast? Michael Caine is awesome as Alfred: funny, wise, and touching when his loyalty to the Wayne family is on display. Morgan Freeman is like the "Q" to Bale's Bond and their scenes together are among the more enjoyable in the movie. I could go on and on. Nobody is overacting here. They're all wonderfully understated.
This is an excellent set-up for what Nolan and Goyer intend to be a trilogy. Why stop at three? If they are anywhere near as good as this one, audiences are going to be in for a special treat. It's rare that I'll leave a movie, especially one that runs roughly 2.5 hours, wanting to go right back in and see it again. I felt like that after seeing Batman Begins though. I even clapped at the end of it. For me, this is pure moviegoing heaven.


At 5:20 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Batman Begins for you, Lady Terminator for me. This has been a great week for movies.


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