Batman Begins - 24th April 2011 - Part one of Superhero doublebill

I was never a comic book geek and even through my period of reading comics, first when I was young and then when I was in my 20s, it was never superhero stuff, I just never really connected with it. I have a ton of friends who do read this stuff though so I honestly meant no disrespect using the word geek. I myself am a film geek and proud of it.

In films though, there have been a handful of comic book adaptations that I have enjoyed and maybe sometimes was able to enjoy more because I wasn't necessarily worried about the authenticity of the piece like I might have been if I had been a die hard fan of the source material.
I guess I connect with the action, the mystery element in some and aspects of the fantasy/sci-fi  genre that these films inhabit.

One thing I would say is that I don't care one little bit for Hollywood attempting to make Batman (or any other familiar franchise for that matter) edgier, darker or more realistic because it's nonsense, in Hollywood terms I mean. At the end of the day it's about a man who dresses up as a bat and fights crime with improbably silly and bizarre villains. I don't care one iota about realism or their tortured souls, I want to see them kick some arse, chase some cars, destroy some stuff and make a few quips.
Hollywood doesn't really want to make anything too dark anyway because then the whole family can't see it and, mostly, their idea of dark and weird is Tim Burton, which tells you just about all you need to know.

I also think that origin stories tend to be the dullest part of a superhero franchise, which is odd when you consider the wealth of information you could put into them, but the reason is that most part 2s of superhero franchises are better than the first is that you can get passed the ponderous, simplistically philosophical reasons behind why they do what they do, you can by-pass the thin characters and the glaring plot-holes and just run with whatever good vs evil idea you want to.

With all that said and stated, when it comes to Batman Begins I think it stands up next to the Richard Donner Superman movie as a genuinely respectable attempt at an origin story that takes its time, tries to be layered, tries to make sense, features impeccable acting and looks stunning. The one thing it lacks, however is a sense of humour but maybe the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher versions of the character had too much and this one needed to compensate.
It does take itself very seriously though and I couldn't care less about Liam Neeson's endless droning about the nature of battle or Michael Caine's nonsense teachings either. Christian Bale is wearing a large rubber bat costume and talking like Clint Eastwood and Tom Waits had a baby that chewed broken glass and smoked 50 a day! you are not all being as intelligent as you think you are!
Only Morgan Freeman's character has the good grace to realise the absurdity of everything and says everything with the sort of sly smile that makes you think he is savouring the words much like one would savour a nice creamy toffee.

Don't get me wrong, I like the film, I loved it when it came out but over time these things do not stand up to repeat viewings and you begin to see what talky, wanky hokum all of these films are. I am sure it doesn't help that we have been bludgeoned into a floppy and apathetic submission by 100s of these comic book adaptations and along with horror remakes and the over use of CGI in everything, they are one of the types of films I am completely getting sick of.

On the positive side, like I have said, it looks stunning and is directed with Christopher Nolan's genuinely impressive grasp of scenery, the further he gets into the city and the CGI landscapes however things become too muddled, too fake, too orange and rainy which is something I am really glad he corrected in Dark Knight. The acting too is exemplary throughout although some of the cast seem to think they are performing shakespeare they are so rigid and po-faced, still I am glad they cast who they did and even Katie Holmes isn't as atrocious as she could be, although if anyone is the weak link, it's her. Another problem Nolan fixed in Dark Night, now if he could just do something about Bale's ridiculous, annoying and bordering on hilarious Batman voice, we would be fine.
It is Christian Bale I feel sorry for because he really has very little to do, acting wise. He has more to do in this first one but even then it's a lot of tortured souly stuff followed by a lot of action man stuff, there's no great range. He does sort of stand out a bit and still hasn't knocked Michael Keaton off his top spot or Adam West for sheer nostalgia.

The set pieces are all fine but there isn't really one that stands out and the overall plan, in the climax, to purge and kill off a city by filling the water supply full of hallucinogenic poison, that only has effect ingested through the lungs, and then evaporating the water so that the hallucinogen fills the air, infects the people and makes them tear each other apart with fear is pretty much one of the most complicated, ridiculous, hole-ridden plans ever devised in the history of plans and I know for a fact Hannibal Smith from the A Team once devised a plan to escape from prison by building hot air balloons using bin bags, hair dryers and picnic chairs, so I know of what I speak.

Nolan is adept at making us go with all this rubbish as if it was high art and if anything defines his Batman movies and Inception it is this, his ability to polish and dress up the ludicrous and the laughable so that people the world over proclaim his genius.
Here's hoping I can one day get past that and enjoy these movies for what they are again, which are beautifully looking, well acted tellings of very very silly stories.

7.5 out of 10 dishes at the $100 dollar a plate, spray can cheese restaurant.
Points from The Wife - 8 out of 10

Spiderman 3 - 24th April 2011 - Part two of Superhero doublebill

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe - 17th April 2011