THE BATMAN MOVIE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR
Since his first appearance in 1939, there's been many incarnations of
Batman in the comic books, from silent vigilante, to master detective,
wisecracking goofball, and dark brooding bastard. The Superfriends
cartoons and the 1966 TV series handled the campy side of Batman just
fine, but the movies just never seemed to get the serious Batman right. I
had high hopes for Tim Burton's 1989 crack at the legend, but the horrible
casting of Michael Keaton, the unbearably awful Prince soundtrack, and
major fucking with the core origin left me disappointed. Jack Nicholson's
show-stopping performance as The Joker at least made it worthwhile. Too
bad the sequels got progressively worse to the point where they became the
same campy bullshit the film series tried to get away from. By the time
the fourth installment came out, there was just no way they could continue
making the films without wiping the slate clean and starting all over
The first hour of the film is essentially
the origin story. We get the classic falling into a Bat-cave as a child,
and the tragic murder of his parents, but with new angles and insights
that even the comic books never presented. For the first time, you see
Thomas Wayne as a real man who loves the hell out of his son, not some
well dressed prop that takes a bullet to motivate his son to fight crime.
Soon Wayne is on a quest in the mountains
of Nepal which brings him to sanctuary where he is taught how to fight by
Henri Ducard, played by Liam Neeson. I wasn't sold on this casting, as
Neeson has played one too many wise mentor fighter characters in recent
years, but this fresh and darker take on the master role works out nicely
with truly unexpected surprises. After completing his training, Wayne
takes his destiny into his own hands and returns to Gotham City to clean
Michael Gough was a great Alfred in the original films, but Michael Caine has a sour and hilarious charm to him that makes you never look back. This is the wisecracking Alfred that Frank Miller brought to life so well in his "Dark Knight" series, and he had several lines that made the entire audience bust up.
Katie Holmes is actually pretty damned good as well, finally pulling off the impossible task of being a female lead in a Batman film that's got an interesting character. And hats off to Holmes for picking up the "Superhero Girlfriend With Gratuitous Pokey Nipple Scenes Baton" from Kirsten Dunst with some chillingly sexy shots.
If you loved Bale as Patrick Bateman in
American Psycho, you'll love his take on Wayne. After getting coached by
Alfred to start behaving more like a carefree playboy during his civilian
hours, he turns Bruce Wayne into a cocky super pimp that brings to mind a
twisted Adam West. In one scene, he needs to remove hundreds of guests
from a party at his mansion, so he pretends to be drunk, and insults them
in such a shocking and horrifying way, it's almost jaw-dropping.
This is the Batman you've been waiting for.
I was excited to learn that Christian Bale was going to play the role. After seeing him own every inch of the screen in American Psycho, the possibilities of bringing that twisted inner fire to Batman was intriguing. I thought the same thing about Val Kilmer, however, so I wasn't 100% sure it would work. Within minutes, all my fears were dispelled.
Cillian Murphy, from 28 Days Later, is equally well suited to play Jonathan Crane, who's alter-ego The Scarecrow, has a poison gas that can bring out your worst fears. When Batman is first exposed to this, The Scarecrow's already nightmarish face starts dripping with maggots as bats fly out of his mouth in a truly horrifying moment. Other nightmare visions throughout the film are equally scary, including one with a black face Batman threatening a criminal while black tar oozes from his hellish mouth.
The costume is still the all black version I'm not the biggest fan of, but there's a flexibility and fluidness to the getup that has been sorely missed in the previous films. There's even token beauty shots of him standing on the top of buildings with the dawn approaching that look like the best Batman pin-up artwork come to life.
A HISTORY of BATMAN ON TV AND FILM
66 YEARS OF BATMAN COMIC BOOK ARTISTS
From Bob Kane's first sketches in 1939 to present day, there's always been a Batman comic for sale somewhere. His appearance and characterizations consistently change with the times evolving from serious to silly to serious again. Here's a sampling of the varied styles through all eras of Batman that paint a pretty diverse picture of the legendary character.
all Batman Begins photos are (c) Warner Brothers, comic illustrations (c) DC Comics
If you enjoy the new Batman movies, dressup in a batman costume this Halloween. With the largest assortment of Halloween costumes online, you'll surely find kids costumes or adult costumes to fit your Halloween needs.
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