Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Remember the Batusi?

A few years back, a friend asked me to share my thoughts about Batman and Robin, the big movie of the summer. I told her something like this:

Batman and Robin is like one of those wrapped presents you see in a store display: really pretty to look at, but once you open it, there's nothing inside.

I'd seen the movie twice. Once because it was out and the Bat was da bomb, and the second time because I was sure the movie couldn't have sucked so badly.

I was wrong. It sucked even more, and I had to actually pay for it the second time, which really pissed me off. Batman should be a dark, dreary freakshow - not a gay romp through the streets of Gotham.

And don't get me started about the Governator. -shudder-

So I was a little nervous when I came across a pass for Batman Begins. It looked solid - good cast, with Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Katie "man-she's-hot-but-Tom-Cruise-is-sucking-the-life-out-of-her" Holmes. Christopher Nolan brings some gritty indie cred to the table - Momento was a kickass film. And David Goyer, the writer, has plenty of nerd cred. But still, could Nolan resist the call of the camp?

I'm happy to say yes.

This movie is Spider-man good. This movie is Superman (the first one) good. This movie kicks all sorts of ass. George Lucas wishes he could make a movie jump up dance like this one does. And no, Batman doesn't dance.

To me, the most interesting part of this film is that Nolan focuses on Batman - he doesn't let the villans run away with the show. Batman is a pretty interesting character - you'd have to be to dress up in a Bat costume and beat up on thugs every night, yet past movies focused on the freak of the week. The villans take the back seat here.

Which is great, because Christian Bale will make you forget Keaton, Kilmer and the other guy. -shudder- He's young enough and has the acting ability to carry out both sides of the characters' personality - the driven, tortured hero desperately trying to forgive himself for his parents' death and the facade - the careless playboy who makes indolence a career.

The fight scenes aren't dances with actors floating around on wires - they're straight out of Fight Club, with a little horror movie thrown in for good measure. Batman uses the shadows, streaks out of nowhere and incapacitates his foes one by one. The remaining few are so terrified they can't fight.

Other than a love story that really goes nowhere and accomplishes little (other than gives the new Bride of Hubbard more screen time - something I can get behind - as long as she doesn't talk in public about her new "spirituality"), this will be the best action flick of the summer. Period.

Oh, and the Batmobile will make you cry.

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