Bat-mania: Batman Begins

Guest Post

While I have already declared my devotion to Tim Burton’s Batman, it was not that movie that specifically recharged my Bat-mania; it was my most recent viewing of Batman Begins, not any of the others, not even my initial screening. I don’t remember much during my first viewing of Begins, but I still enjoyed it the first time around.

Subsequent viewings afterwards had me not so thrilled, however. As the ingredient list on your box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the following is in order of most important to least. I saw Christian Bale as a Botox faced Jon Favreau. I hated the “Super Duty” Batmobile (as one of my friends accurately described it), aka the Tumbler. I hated the cowl which had as many surfaces as a soccer ball. I did like the costume other than that. The wide yellow-less bat insignia was nice. The gauntlets serving a function was great. Cillian Murphy was incredible as the Scarecrow, while Katie Holmes was terrible. Michael Caine was perfectly cast as Alfred and who can ever argue with the great Morgan Freeman as the perennial voice of wisdom, this time in the form of Lucius Fox. Lest we not forget Liam Neesom as a mythical and powerful Ra’s Al Ghul. Despite all of the decent to great performances, my favorite was Gary Oldman who not only looked like he jumped straight off the newsstand, but played a receptive and skeptical Jim Gordon. However, the train wreck ending capping off all of the generally good acting was stupid the first time and satisfactorily chaotic for this last time.

Call me a flip flopper, but my position on the blockbuster is very favorable during my most recent viewing. I liked the fully fleshed out back story, found the fight scenes excellent and complete and the action sequences exciting. And as far as the suit goes, the polygonal head gets a pass and I absolutely loved how seamlessly the cape could change form at will and allow Batman to glide everywhere! Other than that it was not full of too many surprises as was the Keaton suit, which always had some sort of hidden trickery behind the cape, the kind of which will be need to be in full force in the latest Batman installment, the Dark Knight, because the new suit looks overly done and busy.

Luckily underneath the suit, as in Begins, Bale shall fare better than his costumer designers as I found him to be a good Batman. He didn’t seem so much with it as Bruce Wayne, but maybe because Bruce Wayne does not have his wits about him unless he is out slamming thugs into the ground dressed as a weirdo, though there is that one scene where Wayne shows up, comfortable in his skin, piloting a Lamborghini Murcielago, a car commonly referred to as being bat inspired with two scantily clad females riding shotgun. On the same seat no less, as they are two-seaters. From what I have always understood about Batman is that he does not have the dichotomy that the Superman creators have had to deal with. Batman has always been the real person and Bruce Wayne has been the daytime shell.

And that Super Duty Batmobile. 44” Super Swampers! WOW! For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, Super Swampers, an extreme off road tire are the rear meats on the Tumbler and have a high flotation capability for driving through bogs as well as large exterior blocks for rocky terrain and everything in between. They are a common sight in my small town, where the more colorful locals can be routinely seen driving them, mounted on old pickup trucks with raised suspensions at speeds over 50mph around on shoulder-less farmer’s roads that are barely wide enough for two subcompacts, let alone ¾ scale monster trucks. Generally, the truck is driven by a male with his girl friend on the opposite side of the long bench seat’s zip code, likely because he took a turn way too fast.

Which makes it seem all the more weird that Batman, Bruce Wayne, aristocrat, would drive anything with such a strong connection to rednecks! By now you are telling me, read the comic books, Frank Miller’s Batman drove one, blah blah blah blah. It is still strange to me, but like most everything else in Begins it serves the greater need of the story and I like it OK for now. My favorite features of it are the rough surface conquering abilities as Batman tends to leave destruction in his wake and the ability to jump across the moat into the Batcave, which was a very innovative way to hide the entrance.

All in all, I found watching Begins to be thoroughly energizing and a great, fun way to prepare and excite yourself for the release of The Dark Knight, especially when Gordon hands Batman a piece of evidence from the scene of a new mastermind’s fresh crime: The Joker card, after which I felt like cheering in enthusiasm for Nolan, Bale and Co’s latest!

One thought on “Bat-mania: Batman Begins

  1. From reading this, I am not sure if you hated the movie or enjoyed it. I personally loved it for all the reasons you seem to not have enjoyed it.

    When the cast was announced, I was so excited to what I considered an all star cast and they all lived up to what I felt the movie could and should be like.

    To me, this movie made Batman seem like something that could actually happen. The way they explained his beginnings really excited me to no end.

    I think the reason you had a problem with it from the beginning is that you held the Burton one too close to your heart. This movie is a completely different beast than the others and seems more like the real Batman than any other.

    I felt Bruce Wayne was shown in a more correct manner than most other non comic book versions. He acts the way he does to the public as a “show”, but the real Bruce is Batman. You see, Bruce is the act and Batman is who he really is. Batman is not just who he is when he just dresses up.

    As for the Tumbler, that seemed pretty logical as well. He has to start out somewhere. Driving a military inspired vehicle seems more realistic to what a Batman like character would first use over some Maserati.

    Viva le Batman Begins!

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