Let me start by saying that EVERYONE that I know that's seen Batman Begins really, really likes it. Most everyone has even gone on to say that it's the best Batman movie yet. They usually conclude by saying how much I'm going to love it.
Well, now that I've seen Batman Begins, I can say that they were partly right.
I'd agree that Batman Begins is the best Batman movie yet. Unfortunately, I can't say that I loved it. Yeah, I liked parts of it a lot, but that still leaves some parts that I didn't. So, if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to check the rest of this post later because it will contain some SPOILERS...
Still with me? OK... let's start of with what worked for me.
The casting was great. Christian Bale makes a very good Batman / Bruce Wayne. Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman were also just right for their roles. [And I had had some doubts about Caine as Alfred.]
The soundtrack was fine. The sets were more realistic and worked well for the "new" direction. And speaking of direction, Christopher Nolan did a fine job, although I would have preferred a little more clarity during the fight scenes. Yeah, I know that he was trying to show how scary it was when you didn't know where Batman was going to be next, and man, can he move fast... still, a little of that went a long way.
Now the things that bugged me...
Bruce Wayne as a kid is such a 'fraidy cat. It's because little Bruce's afraid that they leave the opera and his parents end up killed, and wow, won't that be something to overcome. I did like how they handled Bruce's dad though. He was caring and adventurous and understanding. [Heck, maybe HE should have been Batman.]
So Bruce decides to travel the world and hang with low-life criminals so that he can come to understand their minds. Huh?
The Ras Al Ghul League of Shadows was a cool idea. I liked the line where he talks about destroying Rome, London, and other cities when their decadance became too great. Ok, so now this sinister secret organization is going to take down Gotham. And they're going to do it by releasing a poison in the water supply that has to be activated by a device that they have to steal from Wayne industries?!? That's the best plan that this group could come up with?
And to make matters worse, they have to depend on a mentally ill doctor to hire henchmen to put the stuff in the water pipes? Why not send in a group of his ninja assassins and get the job done right?
And to make matters worse, as soon as Ras throws the switch on the Microwave weapon, the water for blocks on end IMMEDIATELY evaporates? I thought that this was going to be the more REALISTIC Batman?
And before we get to Batman's actions... I didn't like how Bruce Wayne was played as an idiot. Yeah, I understand that Batman is playing him that way so people won't suspect that he's really Batman. It just doesn't work for me. Why not give Bruce some dignity. People aren't going to think that the billionaire playboy is Batman. You don't have to make him come off as a drunken jerk who burns down his own house.
Now for Batman's actions... first of all, Batman shouldn't be flying around Gotham. Swinging on his line I can live with. And don't give me some guff and say, "Oh, but he was gliding." I saw the movie. He was flying. LOL!
Batman is supposed to be a hero. He is supposed to be saving lives. There he was driving that "Batmobile" around destroying overpasses, riding across roof tops, knocking debris off buildings, causing car crashes, flipping police cars. He must have caused the deaths and injuries of dozens of innocent people.
And when Batman said, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Uh, Batman, you're a hero... you're business IS to save people... even the bad guys.
Batman is supposed to be smart. He's the greatest detective alive. His brilliant plan to stop the train from getting to "the critical spot" where it would blow up everything was to give Gordon the keys to the Batmobile so he could get ahead of the train and blow up the tracks. That's the PLAN?!? Meanwhile Batman "flies" up and on to the same train!?!
Huh? Did he somehow forget that Gordon is going to blow up the bridge? Hey Batman, why not just drive the Batmobile yourself and blow up the bridge? You have more experience at these things than Gordon... plus it'll keep you OUT OF THE TRAIN!
A lot of people have been complaining about Katie Holmes' role. The only thing that bothered me is that she's known Bruce since they were kids, and she had no clue he was Batman. She knew him longer than I've known most of my friends and I'd venture a guess that I'd recognize ANY of them in a Batman suit. Especially if they were two feet away from me and talking.
I did like the ending. Things have been set up sweetly for the sequel.
Overall, I know this review sounds really negative. You'd probably think that I hated the movie. I didn't. I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it.
And my guess is that I'll like the sequel even better.
"Batman Begins" rates a C