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batman was awful...

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Post originally by brian at 2005-06-20 07:29:09
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I hated Batman Begins. I wanted to like it. I really did. I wanted a darker, grittier, more "realist" take on Batman. Instead I got bored.

Here's what I disliked.

1. The "I'm invisible" stuff. Film-makers who do The Shadow and Batman tend to spend a lot of time showing frightened villains who "can't see" the hero. But things that can't be seen make for dull film imagery.

2. It wasn't frightening. The whole movie was about fear - overcoming fear, inspiring fear. But there wasn't one single moment when I thought, Holy hell, what happens next?

3. The villains are disposed of in dull ways. The gangster at the center of Batman's vendetta -- who was marvelously, callously evil -- winds up getting beaten almost by accident. One minute he's the source of Bruce Wayne's shame and impotence; the next minute he's strapped to a spotlight.

4. Most of the villains are dull. The Scarecrow has got NOTHING except a smug expression and some drug powder. The Liam Neeson character is Gai Gon Jin (sp?) gone to the dark side.

5. The fight sequences are dull. American filmmakers need to sit down and watch Crouching Tiger and House of Flying Daggers and Hero and get modern. This was a gaping hole at the center of the latest star wars movie: fight sequences utterly lacking in poetry or grace. Same with Batman. Punch slug. Kick. Snore.

6. There's no joy. Spider Man was complex and human, but there are several moments when we share Peter Parker's sheer delight. I mean, Batman gets to swing like Tarzan. He gets to pounce like a hunter. That's thrilling. It's intoxicating. Hell, even vengeance is a rush. (I have a theory that superhero behavior resonates with adults because it's a throwback to our experience of childhood, when our small bodies reveled in the lesser claims of gravity. Just the experience of soaring on that cape should have been a pure adrenaline moment...)

7. Did anyone else think that the blurry bat-signal projected on the clouds looked uncomfortably like the Abu Ghraib silhouette?

8. Sorry, but in the end I was bored. I just can't listen anymore to Liam Neeson talking pseud-psychology. I expected him to bust out about mitychlorions. At the bottom of all things, superhero comics have to function as Saturday matinee fare. Yes, they can be layered in other ways, but they have to capture the imagination.



Brian
 
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Post originally by Fred at 2005-06-20 09:24:18
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On every single point that you cite as a shortcoming, I found that part of the movie thrilling and engaging. My wife, who does not "go for" comic book movies, loved this one wall-to-wall. Others who I watched the movie with commented on it as being brilliantly filmed as a "horror movie for bad guys". Right on.

I'm sorry it didn't suit your tastes ... but I think you're looking for something out of the movie that would have been far less satisfying for a number of the rest of us. :)
 
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Post originally by Ross Winn at 2005-06-20 10:42:55
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I thought it was amazing. I am sorry you didn't. All that aside, try Truth & justice!
 
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Post originally by laughing at 2005-06-20 15:19:18
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crouching tiger and house of dying flaggers are stupid looking! people flying on wires and sticking their fingers out before they do big goofy slapfights! nobody should get that modern, because that's just silly flying people!
 
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Post originally by Sean at 2005-06-21 15:01:54
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Gotta disagree with you here. I think you were looking for another Spider-man, which is adolescent wish-fulfillment (done amazingly well--twice!), rather than angst and pseudo-realism, which is batman.

"But things that can't be seen make for dull film imagery"... Not at all. See Alfred Hitchcock's example of the bomb under the table, or more specifically, little-seen villains in successful movies: Jaws; Alien; Blair Witch. In fact, too many modern movies revel in showing so much that it makes their essential story elements (characterization, setting, plot, etc) rather bland and boring.

"It wasn't frightening" OK--matter of taste. Personally, I jumped a couple of times at the Scarecrow's mask effect, even if it was mostly because of the accompanying sound burst (great sound effects in the movie).

I actually liked that the Scarecrow got away...I always though that one of the biggest mistakes in the 1989 Batman was that the Joker died.

Villains were okay...no Joker, but okay. Especially Ra's philosophy on crime. Villains that are trying to do good through some twisted means are far more fun than Villains who do bad 'cause they're bad.

Fight scenes...well, I have to agree with you there. I thought the weakest parts of this movie were its action sequences. The filmmakers did something that I have despised ever since I noticed it in the Bourne Supremacy. I loved the fights in Bourne Identity--great use of improvised weapons, neat, somewhat realistic looking moves. The Bourne Supremacy follows this with a close-up shaky-cam view of the fight scenes that renders any coreography nearly invisible. Batman Begins, same problem. I saw a special on HBO about how the movie was made, and it discussed the fight scenes and the type of bizarre martial art they used, but they might as well have saved a few bucks on coreography--I couldn't see a whole lot of the fighting.

No Joy--I agree that the feeling of Spiderman's first climb, first web-slinging, first swing, etc. is unmatched in superhero movies. I can watch Spiderman over and over again despite its boring villain because of its coming-of-age story. Batman had some *similar* feelings as he acquired what would become his bat toys (especially the 10,000 parts for his helmet...), but of course this wasn't nearly on the level of Spiderman. Nor should it be. Batman is about duty, not fun.

In the end, Batman *totally* captured my imagination in the way no Batman movie had before. It's no Spiderman 2, but it beats X-men hands down.

Yours respectfully,

Batfan
 
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Post originally by Tim Gray at 2005-06-24 05:34:00
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I assumed that they did the fights that way because they were interested in telling the story more than showing cool stunts. So it's important *that* the fights happen, but (at least when it's just thugs) all you really need is that blur of motion and only Batman left standing. Mook rules!

If they're saying they went to any degree of trouble choreographing these fights then yes, bad decisions. But I prefer my version!
 
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Post originally by Cameron at 2005-07-14 05:23:45
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While I disagree with his other points (complaining that the bat symbol looks fuzzy is being a touch picky) but I have to agree that the fight scenes were pretty awful, I think the choreography itself was fine but the extreme close ups which then tried to follow the action just ended up kind of fuzzy and difficult to follow. I think wire fu action would be totally wrong for this kind of movie but I definitly feel a wide angle that takes in the whole scene would have served the fights better than the close ups.
 
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Post originally by His Divine Shadow at 2005-07-18 23:55:43
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Crouching Tiger, House of Flying Daggers and Hero are prime examples of how you can turn a theoretically exciting fight scene into a silly slapfight by making the actors flail about inanely on wires. The only emotion the fight scenes raised in those movies was embarrasment. Batman may be similar for other reasons (haven't seen it yet), but wire-fu is as equally pointless as is a straight-up slugfest.
 
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Post originally by Michael Keaton at 2005-08-11 04:57:01
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The fight scenes in the animated series were better than the movie!
Mr Bale has shown that he is capable enough in his Equilibrium role.
Don't get me wrong. I ain't looking for John Woo style fighting; I much prefer the gritty realism and shock that comes from an honest portrayal of violence. Alan Clarke's 'Scum' being a fine example.
 
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