Cinerama:Batman Begins (Part III)

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama

Batman Begins III

By Mike Derderian

The moment Batman rushed out of the shadows, the startled burglars, who were comfortably seated on a rooftop floor sharing their loot, realized they were trapped and had nowhere to run to or hide. They only had two choices: Take a dive toward a concrete death or face the justice of Batman’s hand-blades. What will it be?

After giving one of them an exit through the door—literally—Batman held and dangled the other over the building’s ledge. “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me, man! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me, man!” cried out the sniveling burglar in fear.

“I’m not going to kill you, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me,” said Batman in a raspy voice filled with loathing.

Unconscious to what Batman said the burglar exclaimed in horror, “What are you?”

“I’m Batman,” replied the dark avenger before jumping off the ledge and disappearing down the smog filled dark alley.

All was dark except for the screen that gave the faces of the people, who were seated in the theatre, a luminous white complexion. The low crackling sounds of hands digging in popcorn boxes could be heard every time a dialogue opened up between Vicki Vale and Bruce Wayne with low key music playing in the background. The haunting reverberations of Danny Elfman’s gothic music that shock the four corners of the hall, every time Batman appeared on screen, echoed in the mind of one child I knew, long after the lights were let and an experience like no other came to an end. It was 1989 and I was only ten and I had fallen in love with my first superhero: Batman. Sitting next to my father and sister with a mouth full of popcorn and a clenched fist, holding the next batch of sizzling corn, I couldn’t believe that I was there in the movies watching Batman.

But I wasn’t sitting in a theatre filled with real people, I was in a dark place called Gotham City and engulfed in the magical world of Batman. It lasted for only 126 minutes but I felt like I was on top of the world when I laid my head on the pillow that night.

This is what cinema is all about: To make you feel good about yourself even it was for a brief moment of time. A person that does not leave the movies with a big smile on his face was certainly in the wrong place. In my case it never ends for every time I walk out of a movie I realize that a piece of my soul has been submerged into the solution of what dreams are made of and that’s fantasy.

Almost 16 years later, I experienced the same exciting tingle while watching Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins, which is not exactly a masterpiece in the real sense of the word but it certainly exhumed Batman from his crave.

The 2005 Batman Begins is dark, disturbing and philosophical without sounding cheesy, and most importantly is 141 minutes of hardcore entertainment. Of course for impatient Batman diehard fans, the first 40 minutes might appear to drag on and they might voice such a sentence, “We know he is Batman and he is on self-search journey but when will we see some bad guy butt-whoopin.”

In most cases this might sound true but for Nolan it had to be like this. The story had to be re-told. This is Batman Begins and this is just the beginning. In comparison, the same thing happened to Spiderman because everyone agreed that Spiderman 2 was far better than the first but they forgot one minor detail: Sam Reimi had to redefine the franchise and so did Nolan with Bob Kane’s character.

I read that Christopher Nolan invited the whole film crew to a screening of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterwork Blade Runner. After the screening was over he told the crew that this is how he plans to make the Batman movie.

The following sequels will certainly blow our minds and will be far more captivating and packed with action sequences that will make audiences clinch to their seats in awe while watching the Dark Crusader rid Gotham of evil. A task very much impossible for then Hollywood producers would end up having no storylines; it’s a never-ending wheel—Batman can never end.

Nolan brilliantly re-created a Batman movie adults can watch knowing that there aren’t any cheesy outfits or over-the-top silly one liners. This Batman is a 100 percent dark, with no shiny gadgets, dead-serious crime fighter. The last thing villains want to mess with is a character enacted by Christian Bale, who was a perfect fit to the much-coveted Bat-suit.

Bale was so into the character that his trailer didn’t have his name written on the door, instead it had “Bruce Wayne.” Bale was brilliant in capturing Wayne’s torment and in exposing his inner weaknesses and inability to cop with the death of his parents. The shift from a homeless weakling to his self-confident alter ego was seamless and unnoticeable and this is what made his performance so realistic. The characters of real people do not change over night. It happens slowly and gradually and this is probably the new trend in superhero movies like in the phrase, “With great powers comes great responsibility.” They should also add a change of character, lifestyle and daily habits plus it doesn’t have to be fun.

In addition to Bale’s performance, the supporting cast had their moments of screen time glory like Gary Oldman, who brilliantly portrayed a vulnerable Jim Gordon and topped everyone else (I think will see more of him in following sequels). Michael Caine’s Alfred is another keeper and an asset for the rising franchise, but still one cannot forget Michael Gough’s Alfred, a role he played in all the previous Batman movies. Batman Begins also starred Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe (a very minor role not suitable for his acting talents), Morgan Freeman (Batman’s toys-maker) and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, who will have a hair-raising comeback in other sequels. I’m not joking but someone else will in the next Nolan Batman movie so stay on the watch for the Bat-signal.

Must see-scenes: The Bat-mobile’s introduction; Wayne’s apprenticeship with Ra’s Al Ghul, aka Demon Head, (Watanabe) and Ducard (Neeson); Batman-Scarecrow confrontation; and any scene with Katie Holmes in it.

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