Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Batman Begins

For Andrew. His indelible spirit taught us how to live.

I’ve said it before. I’m not a fan of comic books in general. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of DC Comics history, but what I’ve heard from those who have read the original Batman comics is that Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins finally gets it right.

I can only speak as one who enjoys movies and has seen the other summer blockbusters—and I agree. Not only does this movie get Batman right, it gets storytelling right. Among all of its assets, the strongest is a well-crafted script. Kudos to David Goyer (who also wrote Kickboxer 2: The Road Back… who knew?). When a metaphor doesn't hit me until the next day I know it was done well. Beating me over the head with symbolism isn't good writing.

I doesn’t hurt that the movie is packed with great talent. Everyone from Gary Oldman (one of the greatest actors of all time), to Liam Neeson (one of the tallest actors of all time), to Michael Caine (one of the most met on a New York sidewalk actors of Joe’s time), to Tom Wilkinson (one of the most remembered as “that guy from The Full Monty” actors in the movie), to Ken Watanabe (one of the greatest Japanese actors in Hollywood), to Rutger Hauer (one of the most quoted actors by White Zombie), and Katie Holmes (one of the best actors to have performed along side my mother).

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop reading now, go see it, then continue reading. Spoilers follow.

One of the major themes in Batman Begins is Fear. The villain of the story is The Scarecrow, whose fear-inducing gas fits the story well, and in the end when we learn that he'd been working with AbuDhabi (or whatever his name is) to refine the blue flower's drug, the plot fits together in a neat package. The metaphor is the flower itself. It represents Bruce Wayne's fear. He literally carries it with him, then of course he takes its essence in when it's time to confront his fears at the end of his Bushido-Batman training.

Fear can be a good weapon, but what’s that called? Anyone? That’s right: Terrorism. It's interesting that the major themes in Hollywood are now reflecting post-9/11 America. War of the Worlds does that too. It's like how movies in the 60's reflected the cold war and fear of communism through Martians invading, or everything was "atomic-" this and "atomic-" that. Now after four years or so, when we've gotten past the "foot-up-Bin-Laden's-ass" country songs stage, writers and Hollywood have found the vein of America's cultural consciousness and tapped it. For some, the parallels in images from War of the Worlds were too much and I've heard several complaints about it. That's a good example of heavy-handed symbolism slapping you in the face. Batman Begins does the same thing, but it's done right and people love it.

War of the Worlds copied pictures we all saw on TV. Batman Begins told us a story of human emotion and human struggle that we can all relate to.

Batman Begins is the best summer movie of 2005.


Anonymous Head of Batman Beat Kenobski Fan Club said...

Batman can take obble wak kenobski any day.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Script Writer said...

Batman: Nice lightning rod sword

Obble Wak Kenobski (OWK): SHUT UP!! You don't know me! You don't understand me!

Batman: You realize your world is fake . . right?


Batman then proceeds to take the lightning rod sword out of OWK's hand and ties him up with the Batrope.

OWK: Owwww! The rope is too tight!

Batman: I will leave you here for the police citizen.

OWK: OHHHH MAN!!!! My mom is going to be so mad that I made her shower curtain rod into a lightning rod sword.

Batman: Justic is served!


4:50 PM  

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