Review Date: June 13, 2005
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan, David Goyer
Producers: Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, Larry Franco
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne
Michael Caine as Alfred
Katie Holmes as Rachel
The actors in the film were also great across the board, particularly Bale, who I’ve fallen in love with since AMERICAN PSYCHO, and who here, continued to embody characters entirely, with a rendition of Bruce Wayne that married his anger, humor and action-man personas idyllically. Tom Wilkinson was also tops as Falcone, as was Michael Caine as Alfred the Butler, adding that required sense of Wayne history and honor to the proceedings. Bad-guy wise, you have to give the thumbs up to Cillian Murphy, super-creepy as Dr. Crane and the Scarecrow (maybe even more so as Dr. Crane!) with a steely look that would put the fear in anyone. Gary Oldman was good, but I wish he had a little more to do, while Katie Holmes actually wasn’t as bad as I thought she might be, in fact, she was just fine. Unfortunately for her, I thought that her character was too young to play that role, and would have preferred to see an older actress in her place (great boobies though). Kudos also go out to director Christopher Nolan who was able to nix Joel Schumacher’s disaster BATMAN scenarios, and present the world with something a lot closer to what we’ve been reading in the comics for years, as well as a great pace, respected thespians, a memorable score, a decent amount of action pieces, and the return of the friggin’ dark knight…with the emphasis on the word “dark” and not “nipple”.
That said, I had a bunch of “little problems” with the film, the biggest of which would probably have to be its fight sequences – the hand-to-hand combat stuff – which much like many of the most recent Hollywood flicks, were simply edited too fast, cut too quickly and left way too much to the imagination (Is that his hand? Was that his leg? Was that the baddie kicking him or he kicking the baddie?). For fuck’s sakes, why don’t directors leave the camera back a ways anymore, so that the audience can actually SEE the people fighting? Quick-cut-fighting sucks!! Other small bits that bugged me included Batman’s voice when he was Batman, versus his voice as Bruce Wayne. In theory, I was actually very much for this idea, as it makes more sense to change your voice when you’re in a friggin’ Batsuit, but every time Bale spoke in that voice, I just thought it sounded goofy and forced. Maybe that will change if I watch the film again, who knows. I also didn’t like how they ended things with the Scarecrow (that’s the best that you could come up with?), thought the design of the friggin’ Arkham Asylum was boring as heck (have you read the graphic novels…that place is supposed to be huge and gothic, man!), appreciated the scenes with the “Tumbler”, but still missed the Batmobile (which really can’t be replaced by an all-terrain vehicle – sorry!) and didn’t like the handful of one-liners one bit. Why do I get this funny feeling that the one-liners were Goyer’s idea and not Nolan’s? They stuck out like a sore dick and considering the very serious nature of the film, otherwise, didn’t really have a place in the picture, particularly the goofy pun stuff (although I did laugh at the Bruce Wayne newspaper headline in the film’s finale…that was funny!).
Last paragraph aside, I really did enjoy the movie overall, with its awesome look, its brilliant story, providing us with a great sense of why this dude decided to don Bat-shite all over himself, and the charismatic performance by Bale, and creepiness from Wilkinson and Murphy, providing the film with just that right amount of evil. Gotham City was also wickedly designed, and the film’s subway conclusion was a breathtaking ride a la SPIDER-MAN 2’s subway shtick. All that said, much like many of my other genre reviews, it’s important to note that some of my points come from a “fanboy” point of view, so don’t take my grade and complaints all to heart. The film works overall, captures the true essence of Batman and provides us all a great hope for the future, particularly in the film’s final scene which literally announces the villain for the next go-around. I’m hip!