Batman Begins: Hast du Angst vor mir

I’ve been so focused on client projects and podcasts, I didn’t know a new Batman was on it’s way until I listed to Elvis Mitchell’s interview with Christopher Nolan for KCRW’s the Treatment. In it, Nolan talks about how the entire story is about fear. It’s a good listen, and it’s what got me into the theater.

Before Batman Begins began, I sat through an advertisement for Sky High. A new Disney film about young superheros going through puberty. The acting was overly melodramatic, the lighting was overexposed, and the props were done by Little Tykes. Christopher Nolan’s Batman makes Tim Burton’s 1989 version – and the others – feel more like Sky High than Nolan’s tormented Dark Knight.

A few years back, Snickers had a tv commercial where a football player takes a hit and thinks he’s Batman. In the English version, the final line is, “Would you like to ride with Batman.” The German version ends, “Are you afraid of me?”

The difference between those 2 sentiments is the difference between all the previous iterations and Nolan’s Batman Begins.

The movie’s most successful aspects were the non-superhero scenes – the dialog and the character development. The manifestation of Gotham is superb – part Chicago, part New York, part comic book dystopia. I found the serious, non-melodramatic villians refreshing. On the flip side, the scene where Wayne gets the Batsuit and the Batmobile felt more stapled on than believable, more a means to quickly go through a checklist than deliberately advance the character.

I agree with peterme, the car chases are immediately forgettable. I also agree that Batman Begins is “not nearly as fun” (as Spider-man). The Batdance was fun, Jim Carey as the Riddler was fun, the Adam West’s campy TV series was fun. I didn’t see anything in Nolan’s retelling longing to be fun (any of Nolan’s other films).

After credits roll, I believe we are left with as Dave states, “the best superhero movie ever”.