I thought Chris Nolan's "Batman Begins" finally captured the spirit of batman on the big screen. It shook off the unbelievable comic-book surrealism of the film series started by Tim Burton. I hated the stiff, rubbery bat-suit. I hated how the villians had color-coordinated costumes and weapons for no explicable reason. Most of all, I hated how Michal Keaton's lips puckered out from under his cowl. Tim Burton is dark, but in an emo 'nobody liked me in high school' kind of way. Batman is dark in a brooding 'you killed my parents' kind of way. At least his film shook off the campy legacy left by the 60's Adam West TV series. The few films that followed Michael Keaton's in the 90's just went downhill with Robin & Batgirl... but at least George Clooney's mouth didn't look silly in a cowl.
When I saw Batman Begins, it was what I had hoped the movies would be like when I was younger & looking forward to Tim Burton's film release. It delved deep into the obsession, angst, fortitude, and self-sacrifice that could drive a man to quest for justice and vengeance after seeing his family murdered. I still didn't like the rubbery batsuit, but keeping to the character well made up for that.
This most recent movie "The Dark Knight" is one of the most over-hyped movies I can remember in recent years. I'm sure it's because Heath Ledger unintentionally inflated the public curiousity about his last performance by overdosing before the film's release. Whenever I see Batman Pizza Hut specials & Batman-branded whoppers at the theater, I have to worry that a film is more bark than bite. I left the theater feeling confirmed on that. It was annoying sitting through 20 minutes of previews. The Day the Earth Stood Still, the new Terminator, & Watchmen look awesome... but all the other previews were tedious. The film started... and my biggest problem was the choppiness & poor editing of the movie. It seems like when Heath Ledger died, the editing & post-production team got lazy or unfocused. Maybe they figured the film would be a blockbuster so they didn't have to finish the job. It could have been trimmed down from the 2+ hours & some background/mood music in spots would make it less bland. Story-wise, there was no revisiting of batmans' impetus for crime fighting & training.... which made the first film great. I think that should be a central part of any batman story. I've liked Christian Bale as an actor until this movie. He looked pretty girly in a scene with his t-shirt on & batman would need to be buffed. What happened to the method acting dedication he had in The Machinist? He ruined all the batman dialogue with his gruff froggy voice. Not menacing at all, just weird. He also has a goofy overbite & lisp you want to laugh at in the cowl. I guess he just isn't the right choice for batman. Finally, I just can't handle the funky rubber molded cowl. It looks more IKEA than scary.
Here are a few images of batman from different films - from bad to better:
STILL BAD, BUT BETTER
BETTER? NOT REALLY (at least it's not glossy)
GOOD - I hope to see this incarnation on the big screen one day. Will someone please get it right?