You wouldn't know
she is that beautiful from Batman Begins. They tart her
up like the Joker in discount makeup that turns her face into
a series of sharply-defined geometric shapes. The cadre of children
at the midnight show I went to shouted "Circle! Triangle! Square"
when they saw her cheeks, chin and forehead. It's the filmmakers
fucking fault, though, for glopping rouge onto her in a desperate
attempt to turn a girl into a woman. Katie Holmes a District
Attorney? Sure, and I'm qualified to pull the Harelip's rotten
molar. Of course, I'm not, but five bucks is five bucks.
is all about overreaching, trying to turn kid's stuff into grown
up's stuff. Those dumbasses want to pretend to tell a poignant
and powerful tale when what they have is a guy who dresses like
a bat and fights bad guys in bad Mexican wrestling masks all
fancied up with simplistic psychobabble. Batman is a
God damn comic book for kids, something with mail order seven-foot
ghosts, X-ray goggles, Sea Monkeys and 132 Army Men for $1.95.
But it has been clung to by legions of fucking freaks who would
rather drag their childhood obsessions into old age than grow
up and move on. Try some books with more words and fewer pictures.
I know I will get
plenty of e-mail from people who love Batman and think they
are grown up. They aren't, especially not if they have the time
to e-mail me and whine. These are the same assholes who stole
him from the kids, and now children can't even see the movie.
It's PG-13. They probably can't buy the action figures either,
since slobbery fatsos will horde them all the first day to populate
the tops of their monitors in computer-science-job cubicles.
The fanboys have beat the shit out of poor Batman for years,
dressing him up in ever darker and more lugubrious histories
in order to justify their own refusal to mature. Rather than
move on, they just keep redressing Batman. And now the story
meets their idea of what becoming a grown up means. To them,
this Batman is like finding hair on your balls or switching
from Cap'n Crunch to Grape Nuts. The problem is that for all
the dress up and revision, it's still a really superficial story
with simplistic right and wrong, a mess of connect-the-dots
psychobabble, and not at all relatable to the vagaries of real
adulthood. Its supporters call it an allegory or legend, but
it isn't even close, unless you're being tormented by a man
who wears makeup, waddles like a penguin or tells horrible riddles.
Nolan takes more than half of the movie not only to give shape
to why Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, but also why he can fly,
he's impervious to bullets, has really rad toys and a crazy
car. Who gives a shit about how he got this shit? And if the
story is compelled to legitimize the absurdity of a Batman,
why not also give some backstory on all the over-the-top cornball
villains? There are too many to care about in Batman Begins,
and they are all one-dimensional horseshit. Apparently only
the good guy needs motivation.
Seems to me moviegoers
are in two camps. Either you are willing to suspend disbelief
for a movie about a guy in tights and a black cape who can swoop
through a city and fight crime. Or, you don't buy into it. There
is no camp of people who are only waiting for lots of explanation
in order to believe in Batman. "Hmmm, a bat man? I'll see it
only if they can make me believe."
Christian Bale plays
Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist, who as a boy falls
in a well and gets scared by bats. Then he sees his parents
murdered by a bun after leaving the opera. He blames himself
and wander off to learn how to ease his guilt by avenging his
parent's death. Yes, the world of Batman is this explained by
such simple causes and effects. Smells like someone took some
psychology in junior college. Somehow, Bale ends up in Mongolia
where he is trained in the martial arts by a justice league
and tutored by Liam Neeson. But, when they demand he return
to his home in Gotham and destroy the city and all its inhabitants.
He refuses, and this is supposed to make him a hero. Wow! What
moral strength it must take to do exactly what any normal person
Back in Gotham, he
and his trusty butler (Michael Caine) start plotting for Batman.
Luckily, Bale's mansion is directly above some caves. Equally
lucky, he has access to all sorts of fancy gadgets from the
multi-national corporation his father left to him. A quick coat
of black paint and all the military hardware becomes batgear.
Maybe three minutes should have been spent on this sideshit,
but about a half hour is. It tries hard to explain how the devices
work and are secretly acquired, but fails to mention how Bale
secretly built an elaborate trap door to the batcave in his
library. More detail means more flaws, so why fucking bother
give irrelevant detail? I guess because Fanboys feast on it
nearly as much as HoHos and Mountain Dew. Their arteries are
clogged with minutiae.
Despite the laborious
backstory and mood lighting, the movie is chock full of standard
comic book hokum. Batman is good, his girlfriend (Holmes) is
good and innocent and he must protect her. Cartoonish bad guys
include: a supercilious psychiatrist (Cillian Murphy) who wears
a scarecrow mask and makes people crazy for no clear reason;
a mobster who controls everything (Tom Wilkinson, who looks
like an older Colin Quinn but probably isn't as smug an asshole)
with scenery-chewing glee; a fat-cat industrialist with greed
issues and, behind it all, Neeson, the man who trained him.
The plot is some comic-book nonsense about people filling the
water supply with hallucinogens that'll drive the city crazy,
and Bale has the antidote.
There are multiple
fights, car chases and shit blowing up in unoriginal ways. I
wouldn't be able to discern them from any other comic book movie.
The fights are all close-up, out-of-focus karate chops; just
blurs on the screen that leave the hard work to the sound effects
specialists. And, as in every comic book movie, bad and good
guys aren't killed when they should be. They are left to die,
only so the enemy can act surprised when they return to action.
All the backstory
and heavy import don't mean shit when Batman is trying to stop
one-dimensional bad guys. Add in a deserted docks scene with
a bunch of cowering, villainous longshoremen, a runaway train
and the inexplicable appearance of bats. Plus, of course, the
movie ends with Bale not quite getting the girl, and the villain
for the sequel announcing his presence in Gotham. Holy fuck,
for all the setup, this sure is a hell of a lot like every other
comic book movie, working within the same limited idiom that
the fanboys won't let any superhero movie escape.
Bale looks fucking
ridiculous as Batman. He's moody enough in his regular clothes,
but once he puts on his mask, his cheeks bulge out and he reminds
me of people I've seen eating at Hardee's in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Throughout the movie, he appears to be trying to outpout Hayden
Christensen. Holmes is so damn lost she looks like she'd say
yes if a gay scientologist asked her to marry him. Caine is
having a fairly decent time as the butler. He even smiles, which
is remarkable and probably required written approval from Nolan.
for Batman Begins. Fuck Hollywood for so readily bending
over for the fanboys. They are the minority. Loud, sure. Annoying,
yes. But they're the assholes who would rather steal from kids
than grow up, and as long as the grassfuckers listen, we're
doomed to more of the same juvenile shit.