Sunday, July 3, 2005

Batman Begins

Batman Begins, the fifth movie installment of the Batman movie franchise, gives Batman fans something to be proud about again. Batman and Batman Returns were works of art, helmed by Tim Burton, were breakthrough, offering a study of the dark side of Batman, as it has been with more recent Batman comics (compared to the lollipop Batman TV series of the sixties). The third and fourth installments, Batman & Robin and Batman Forever (I even forgot which came first), helmed by Joel Schumacher, were more marketing vessels to push merchandise, games and the like, thus offering more to see than to dwell upon.
Batman Begins, helmed by Christopher Nolan (Insomnia, Memento), takes a look at how Bruce Wayne became Batman, and to his credit, he used a lot of Frank Miller's material (The Dark Knight Returns) to base the movie on. Gotham is not pictured as a vast gothic cityscape as in Tim Burton's films, nor as extended Hollywood-cum-New York-esque metropolis as in Joel Schumacer's renditions; but it is, actually, a quite believable city, one that we could imagine existing 20 years ago, and also today (as the movie takes us from Bruce Wayne's childhood to his first steps as the Batman). The movie does not dwell on the stylistic visions of previous directors, but rather stresses on realism in a comic-book world. The hero can injure himself, the hero can make mistakes, and ultimately, the hero has very human drives that create him into the Batman persona feared by the villains of Gotham.
The movie itself takes us through the steps on how Bruce Wayne became Batman, but without any of the heroic undertones that may have flowed through the previous movies. Bruce Wayne is human, a good human being in fact, but still human, prone to pain, frustration, revenge, and other moral dillemas. The story is somehow true to the general legend of Batman, but also offers new insights to the situations, even to the career of then-Seargant Gordon (played by Gary Oldman). Other than a solid storyline that truly pulls you in, the theatrics, the cinematography, and the action itself gives a lot to the audience also, without overplaying it with your standard big explosions and such.
A recommended watch, as a movie in itself, which just happens to be about Batman.

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