Friday, February 12, 2010

#47 Batman Begins: Your friends do not have swimwear

2005. dir. Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson.

Seen it before? Yes.

Bruce Wayne, you idiot. You're not willing to execute one guy, but you are willing to blow up the whole building, likely killing him and dozens of others? Moron.

OK, everybody's seen this one I'm sure. It's the "reboot" of the Batman movie franchise after Joel Schumacher ran it into the ground in the late 1990s. Christian Bale makes a fairly convincing Batman, but he's a little too growly. He's worse in The Dark Knight. He's certainly a better Bruce Wayne.

As for the rest of the cast: The inevitable Michael Caine is serviceable as Alfred. Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy are perfectly creepy as the villains, The Scarecrow and R'as A'l G'u'l. Or whatever, I don't feel like looking up how to spell it. Kudos to them for using two of the lesser known Batman villains, but I don't suppose we'll ever see a Batman movie featuring the Clock King. oh well. Back in aught-five it was fashionable to trash Katie Holmes for her performance as Rachel Dawes, but she's really not bad. Or at least, Maggie Gyllenhaal wasn't any better. Maybe it's just an uninteresting character.

I liked the plot too. R'as A'l Gh'ool's plan made sense, in an implausible comic-book sort of way. Question - if the insanity powder was an inhalant, and all they had to do was vaporize it to activate it, and it was in all of Gotham's water supply, why didn't anyone exposed to steam go crazy? Like when they took showers, for example? Another nitpick is Lucuis Fox. He just happened to have built all this totally useful Batman stuff, for no reason? Isn't that conveeeenient.

The film was shot in Chicago and it's totally obvious. Batman files by the Sears Tower at one point, and there are car chases on Lower Wacker. At the end of the movie the Batmobile plows right through a bunch of columns - Hey, those are load-bearing! You'll destroy the whole city! It's kind of jarring to see Arkham Asylum CGI'd in over where the Merchandise Mart is supposed to be and the weird triple-decker El running right down LaSalle Street. And wait a minute, if it's public transit, why did Wayne Enterprises build it? The movie seems to imply that Bruce Wayne's father built it with his own money, but why would he do that? Train systems are ridiculously expensive. Anyway, it's a good movie. Still like the first Michael Keaton one better.

Position on the list: 105
Car chase to nowhere: Why did Batman drive up the parking ramp? It didn't help him escape or anything. I think he was just showing off.

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