Dee’s Bookcase: Batman Begins

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Dee in Bookcase, Dee, General Media, Movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s been too long since I did this. I’m lame. I got caught up in life and recaps, but I’m back onto the Bookcase. By the way, I recently bought The Avengers, but I felt it was too new to my collection to really talk too much about. Let me just give a quick summary: IT’S AWESOME YOU SHOULD HAVE IT. I think it relates to this though, because Batman Begins is what started a new line of blockbuster comic book movies. Batman’s been my hero since I was a kid. I love everything about him, and I especially loved the dark turn he took over the past twenty years or so. Frank Miller did change things for the comics, and in my opinion for the better. I like the broody, serious, and sometimes flat out insane aspects of this Bruce Wayne. What can I say? I like complicated characters. Batman is someone who is both relentless and has very black and white thinking … and yet is constantly doing gray morally ambiguous things too. It’s hard to tell where to put that character, since he has very noble aspects, but not all of them are. Anyway, the X-Men movies and Spider-Man ones did well, but I think Batman Begins is when people started to go “wait a second, we can take these movies seriously, can’t we?” I think we all know what happened with The Dark Knight later on, and you could argue the Avengers wouldn’t have the popularity today if it wasn’t for BB – and the other huge comic movies – leading the way.

I feel like to do this movie credit I have to talk about the older ones too, albeit briefly. Ha ha me brief, right. So I didn’t see the original Batman in the movie theaters because I was too young, but I did see Batman Returns, which was very dark for a little girl and I still loved the hell out of it. I hadn’t started reading the comics yet at that point, but I knew I loved Batman. I also liked Batman Forever, and I still state that I do, even if it obviously had a loooot of problems and isn’t what I’d call a great movie. Batman & Robin, let us never speak of it. I started reading the comics and got hooked on those. I also loved Batman: The Animated Series intensely, and I still love it so much now. I own the DVDs. They are amazing. So basically, I’m a Batman fangirl. A long time ago someone asked me if they did Batman Year One, who I would cast as Bruce Wayne. I didn’t hesitate before saying Christian Bale, and this was years before he got cast. Christian Bale at that point I’d seen in American Psycho – playing well the sort of mindless shallow Bruce Wayne (with crazy) – and also in movies like Equilibrium and The Machinist. So I love Batman, I love Christian Bale, I love the rest of the cast, and I love Christopher Nolan. Getting the picture?

This won’t scar you for life, right?

The story we all know but here we go: Bruce Wayne is a young heir to a massive fortune. His parents are philanthropists who own a massive enterprise business, and the city he lives in Gotham is corrupt. He figures this out when as a child his parents are murdered by a petty thief just looking to steal her pearls. The mentally scarred Bruce is raised by the family butler Alfred, and he’s troubled for many years (basically for life, let’s be honest). He goes to get revenge on the man who killed his parents, but his friend Rachel Dawes (played in this movie by Katie Holmes) tries to point out to him how screwed up Gotham is. His parents used to care about saving the people, about charity and giving back and making Gotham a better place, but Bruce lost sight of anything but his own pain and revenge. He decides to leave and goes off on a journey of self-discovery. He gets found by Henri Ducard, a warrior who trains Bruce and gives him purpose and drive. To make himself into a vigilante so he can protect the people in a way the police can’t. He is being trained for the League of Shadows, a secretive spy organization of well trained soldiers, underneath Ra’s al Ghul. He destroys them when he realizes they are morally bankrupt in a new way, believing that criminals and anything corrupt should be purged by murder for the “greater good.”

Bruce goes back home and decides to become the vigilante known as Batman. He gets weapons from Lucius Fox, a special project creator who was basically discarded from Wayne Enterprises. He makes the famous Batman toys and armor, and says nothing when the dude starts going around bringing criminals to justice. Not to spoil things, even though who are you if you haven’t seen this movie, but there’s a huge plot to destroy Gotham, Bruce saves the day, everyone knows about this mysterious Batman, and his legacy has started. HE HAS BEGUN. And will continue in two more movies. That I will discuss later.

Best shotgun ever.

First Impression

If you haven’t been able to tell from above, I loved this movie. I saw it midnight showing. I was in love. I couldn’t wait to see it multiple times and own the DVD. I think it’s a perfect set up to the movies that come down the line, and so many things about it worked. A note here that one thing I love about Nolan is his use of real action instead of CGI. He prefers to do things with real stunts if he can, and in an industry that’s so heavily controlled now by CGI, that’s always lovely to see. So basically: magic. I also have to admire the setting. This movie is dark and gritty and realistic. This is a Gotham that you believe is destitute. The movie was meant to be a darker and more intense reboot, and it did that.

Current Impression

It hasn’t changed much. I’m more open to seeing the flaws in it now. The only real bone I have to pick with it is that Batman lets Ra’s die. Everyone knows that Batman doesn’t kill, and he makes a point of talking about it in the later movies, but abandoning Ra’s is more or less the same thing. Now we don’t know if he could’ve tried to yoink him out at the right time, but it always left a bitter aftertaste in my mind from there, especially when he takes on the Joker in the next movie. I still think this is one of the best beginnings to a series – especially a comic series – I’ve seen. For someone who loves Batman and was looking forward to this so much, I wasn’t let down, and it still makes me smile.

Favorite Character

Bruce Wayne is my favorite comic book character of all time. This isn’t really a contest. I could write an essay on what it is I love about this character. His flaws only make him more interesting to me. I’m not one of those “I can fix him!” types of girls, which is why I don’t have a fangirl ~crush~ on the man. I find him interesting as a character study. The dichotomy of how his brain works, how he separates himself from the criminals and where he draws the line, how he can do the things he does and maintain he’s in the right, I don’t know, I love it. Ambiguity, I eat you, you delicious mind food. This movie starts right out setting the ground for how he came to be who he did, but also where he differs from Ra’s and the League. In many ways they agree on a few things, but Bruce believes he can save Gotham, where the League things it’s better to just give up on it and burn the infection before it keeps spreading. Bruce is hard to sell as a main character, because he’s not what you’d call likable. He’s damaged, cold, meticulous, and not even in a way that fangirls can go oh he’s so broody and pouty. Because while he broods, there’s something so menacing about it. I also love when he puts on the Bruce Wayne mask. Okay I’m going to start writing an essay on what I love about him, but safe to say, it worked, and Christian Bale, you are my sunshine.

I should’ve known from your facial hair!

Favorite Quote

“Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.” – Ducard
“That’s why it’s so important. It separates us from them.” – Bruce
Basically a summary of everything the character of Batman is.

Favorite Scene

I’m going to go with the first Batman appearance. It seems like an obvious one, but we’d been waiting the whole movie for him to get in the suit and go out there. They did a great job of setting him up as not just an excellent fighter, but he utilizes all of the aspects of his suit and the things he learned. He uses terror and stealth and it’s a great opening for him. I think it was highly effective, especially with all the build up to that point.

What Doesn’t Work

This is going to be in all the movies. Everyone’s mentioned it. I’m going to mention it here because I can’t resist. THAT FREAKING VOICE. Why. Why. I think the thing that drove me crazy more is that they kept the voice going into the next movie despite everyone complaining about how terrible it was. Christian, I get you wanted to try and play both sides of Bruce well, and you wanted him to be intimidating and scratchy voiced, but it just sounds silly. And sometimes you can’t hear what he’s saying. You even look awkward trying to say the words because it’s clearly a strain. It really takes away from his scenes as Batman. I’m sure people have complained about Rachel. She’s fine. I like that she’s a firm believer in justice and she’s confident in her work and in what she’s doing. Holmes is not a great actress, so that brings it down a little. Batman letting Ra’s die. Those are the things that pop to mind. Otherwise I still think this is a pretty great film. Perfect? Not at all. But very good? Definitely.

Why I Own This

Duh. Haven’t you been reading so far? 😉

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