Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Batman Begins..A No Spoiler review
I saw the film last nite at an IMAX sneak preview thanks to Scott Neely who scored free tickets from his magazine gig. There were guys dressed up as newsboys passing out fake newspapers.
Is it a good film? Yes. Is it a melt your teeth film good..no.
Certainly Nolan has made the best Batman film done to date, but upon reflection I think the Katie Holms part could have been better. I hate it when smart characters are suddenly dumb later in the film because they need to be in danger or get hurt so the hero can do his thing.
I think without spoiling anything the beginning of the film showing Bruce's training is better than the rest of the film for me. The play between Neelson and Bale is solid here, it feels 'human". Once the Cowl is donned a bit of that is lost I think, maybe because it's hard to act in all that batsuit. Though there are cool "angry batman shots" the deal with hanging baddies upside down by the foot is soooo overdone.
You never get a super clear shot of Bats and maybe that is for the good as it still makes him a bit mysterious. The beginning of the film feels big, the rest of the films feels smaller and a bit set laden. The use of CGI was OK...but how many trucking city shots can one take? Nice effects on the hallucinations scenes and some other visual POV scenes with Bruce in Asia, yet I didn't feel Gotham had a real distinct look. It felt more like Metropolis. Gone are the overdone sets of Anton Furst and the soundtrack by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer is very different, more tribal "Pirates of the carribiean" setting the tone far far away from Danny Elfman musicbox land . But once again I have to disagree with a lot of the muddled poorly staged action scenes, here Nolan fails for me as a clear visual storyteller, I get frustrated, I want to see Batman fight but again and again the set-up, the shots are too close, too much of a jumble, quick-cut mush. Why can't directors fucking set this stuff up well? It's so annoying.
Bale is good as bats/Bruce, and Oldman as Gordon, and Kane as Alfred. Cillian Murphy is ok, yet not quirky enough to me but Neelson is solid, even Rutger does a solid job...so it's well acted overall, but I was a bit disappointed in the villain the Scare Crow. He just wasn't scary...it was more like the Mask.
The Bat tank is cool and there are plenty of good images and nice nightmarish moments but like most movies, the 2nd act is the weakest, some stuff just doesn't make sense and seems to be staged so a person can be where a person needs to be plot wise, always the sign of bad writing, it feels contrived and forced and I feel the end is a bit predictable and sort of a letdown in a way, but I went expecting CRAP, total fucking Bat guano and left wanting more. It's not the Batman film I'd make but still far from the gay-house ass-chamber of the last Bat Fiasco...So I give Batman Begins 3.5 out of 5.