UNpopular Opinion: Batman Begins
Written by:Austen Stroh
[Ed. note: THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!]
This film deserves about 1/3rd the admiration it gets, and I'll tell you why.
The Seriousness. This film is so based in reality, and so serious, it's almost comical that this billionaire would dress up like a bat and fight crime. Comic book films benefit from a bit of fantasy. No one cried foul when Joker pulled the 12ft gun out of his pants. No one gave a shit when Bruce Wayne had this magical, huge Batcave beneath his mansion that HAD to be built my other folks. But Batman Begins? They make it so serious, and it such a level of reality that you tend to nit-pick things. Such as putting Falcone on the spotlight. He would have been burnt to death in minutes. But I'll digress...
The Character Development. We establish in the film that the Scarecrow is the villain. He's doing real mean things with this hallucinogenic, and he's got big plans to do something that the folks of Gotham and such aren't going to like. He's a great villain. He's scary, maniacal, and seems to truly relish the fear he causes people. So, we build up this whole film with him getting the best of Batman, Falcone, and almost kills Rachel Dawes. BOOM!
It's climax time, and now we get to see Batman fight....Qui Gon Jinn? Wait...he...he's Ra's? OK. That's fine. Sure, Nolan just parachuted this guy into the fucking film, out of nowhere, and we're supposed to care about him now. He's been out of the entire 2nd act, a good chunk of the 3rd, and we're just suppose to care. Anyways, it won't matter, Batman'll deal with Schindler, and the brawl between The Dark Knight and Scarecrow will beg...wait, what the hell?! A tazer?! A FUCKING TAZER?! RACHEL DAWES?! That's it?! He's riding around like a total bad-ass, imposing fear and other no-goodness, being one-up on EVERYONE throughout the entire film and he just takes a tazer to the face?! It's some of the most pathetic and lazy writing I've ever seen. I was shocked when I saw this. Well, it doesn't matter, does it? Because the guy from Taken teleported into the 3rd act out of nowhere, is mad because Batman burnt abode, and wants to rumble. Oh, wait, you don't care because he was thrown in here with about as much care as an Ed Wood or Uwe Boll film.
The Direction. Who loves a fight scene? Yup, everyone. Who watches a Batman film to see him deal with problems by using words? No one, same here. I like watching Batman beat the hell out of bad guys. Christopher Nolan assumes that we do not, because for almost EVERY fight scene we see with Batman it's like Nolan put the camera lens directly into Batman's chest, hits record, and watches the magic happen. A couple flashes of light that creep out of blackness, making sure no body parts, or their discernible person is identified. They're a fucking mess. It's clear they're a mess because there's nothing like that in the also overrated Dark Knight. The only clear fights we get are the two between Batman and Ra's, in the beginning, and the end. Two of which we don't care that much about, because in the beginning he isn't a villain until all of a sudden he is, and in the end, the parachute. Also, why do ninjas just have a fireworks room? How stupid was that?
The Script. Again, the seriousness that Nolan put on this film hurts the script, because how stupid were the one-liners? Here's Batman, trying to be the utmost example of fear. The greatest representation of why not only the innocent, but the evil fear the dark, and he's saying crap like "nice coat!". Or we have Batman letting Gordon run the Batmobile and he says "I gotta get one of these!" Oh ho ho! Or Bruce's "does it come in black?", because you know, Batman wears black! Who wrote these goddamn lines, Vin Diesel? I love a great one-liner, but they have their place. They belong coming out of Arnold's mouth after he's smoked some baddies, or Stallone when he's faced down by a couple thousand Russians. But in a dead-serious film like this? Who's Batman gonna call? A couple of friends! He then hits his stupid shoe button and a thousand bats come out of nowhere. ARE YOU KIDDING?
In a more recent episode of "South Park," Stan is diagnosed with a condition known as a "cynical asshole". Most people who watch movies, TV, wrestling, read books or comics, or do anything in life all seem to just bitch, and bitch. I try not to do that, unless it's something I'm real focused on, such as this film. However, I can still great things about it.
Cillian Murphy's performance as Scarecrow was fantastic. He was smarmy, conniving, and seemed to get a real sense of joy from all his evil. Oldman was great as Gordon. But when isn't Oldman great, really? I loved the Batsuit, the Batarangs, and the way they explained all of Batman's protection and gadgets for the real world. The atmosphere was excellent, and almost made Gotham City seem like it was haunted. Great stuff. I loved the path that Bruce took. To become a criminal to understand them, then training as a ninja. The whole ninja aspect was brilliant, because that's what I've always thought Batman truly was.
But in the end, these pluses were all ants to the major elephants in the room that were all the glaring mistakes.
And God, was that Batman voice stupid.