Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Batman Begins: an evidentiary analysis

When I first heard that the powers that be (aka Warner Brothers studios) ordained that another chapter should be added to the Batman film franchise, I went through the emotional stages typically associated with film franchise sequals. First there was denial, then grief, followed by anger, amusement, and finally acceptance.

Remember Batman & Robin? Man, that was a stinker. One of the wost movies EVER. I mean Batman forever wasn't great, and certainly didn't hold up to the first two, but at least it was watchable, and Jim Carrey was pretty funny as the Riddler.

RIDDLE ME THIS, RIDDLE ME THAT, WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG BLACK BAT

At any rate, there was a while when it looked like the Batman franchise had been laid to rest for good. But never fear! You can always count on a Hollywood studio to recycle and resurrect an idea for as long as they can milk money out of it. So eight years after Arnold uttered those immortal words "In this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes!" Batman and legacy is back. Batman Begins is a prequal, which is an interesting idea, because its always neat to learn about the genesis of a character that we've known forever. But there are things that worry me.

EXHIBIT A


Hey Bruce Wayne, what a lovely building that is behind you. The architecture is fabulous, and looks so classical. You look like you're in London, wait a minute...you are in London!

What's up with the film being set in London, UK. What happened to good old dark gothic Gotham? I guess the backstory to this is that after Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered in Gotham he left the country for a while and studied abroad, not returning to Gotham until his Batman alter ego was already fleshed out. Still if Christian Bale walks outs on camera and has a British accent, I am going to throw myself down in the aisle and lay prostrate for the rest of the movie. Batman cannot have a British accent, he is our all American gritty crime fighter. I will miss the Gotham sets as well. *sigh*

EXHIBIT B


Here's the man of the hour, the star himself - Christian Bale. Yes he is hot, and yes his physique is astounding, but can he pull off the tricky one, two punch of the Bruce Wayne/Batman combo? A few of my friends and I have discussed that Val Kilmer was a solid Batman, but a terrible Bruce Wayne, and George Clooney was a great Bruce Wayne, but an awful Batman. Not since Michael Keaton have we seen an actor fully embody both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Though Keaton is not considered to be the most traditionally handsome of the three, he was by far the sexiest. He somehow managed to completely convey the whole dark, brooding, tormented, mysterious caped crusader thing that really encapsulates both Bruce Wayne and Batman. That moment in the first Batman when he goes to get the film from Vicki Vale, and all you see is him throwing the cape over both of them.... that was pretty hot. I do love a man in a cape.

I am actually fairly optimistic about this casting choice, because I think over all Bale does good work.

EXHIBIT C


Katie Holmes, you're very beautiful, but are you a movie star? Let's be honest First Daughter was box office poison, and Abandon was no great shakes either. In fact the last thing I think she was noticeably good in was Go, and that was six years ago. Sure she charmed us as the coy tom boy in Dawson's, but she can come off flat in a lot of stuff too. I think a lot will be dependent on her chemistry with Christian Bale. Here's to hoping.

EXHIBIT D


Liam, I'm not exactly sure what role you will play in the film, but it seems to be a bit of the old Qui-Gon Jinn action. A mentor who teaches his young paduan how to fight, in this case it is Batman instead of young Jedi. This is another heartening casting choice in my opinion. Mr. Neeson has proven himself to be quite talented and versatile over the years. Hooray.

EXHIBITS E, F & G


Freeman and Wilkinson and Caine, Oh My!
This is quite the supporting cast that Chris Nolan and the studio has lined up. It's looking like the screen is gonna be burning up with screen presence come June!

EXHIBIT H


Holy spark plugs Batmobile! Who did this to you? Was it Extreme Makeover: Automobile edition? Let's be honest the batmobile is the most brutal of the evidence. What the hell happened to my sleek, aerodynamic, futuristic batmobile with art deco undertones? I mean this thing looks like a tonka trunk crossed with a G.I. Joe tank. Will Batman be forced to beat the Scarecrow in an all out monster truck bash match? I sure hope not.

All in all, based on the evidence above, I'd say this film is probably going to be pretty good. I have faith in Chris Nolan to do good work with the actors and the visual style. The screenplay was co-written by Nolan and David S. Goyer, who wrote Dark City back in the day, but recently has been converted to hackery with the Blade franchise. The best case scenario for the script is a pretty good one though, when looking at the optimum talents of each writer.

Fight on Dark Knight! Fight on.

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