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Cape Fear

Itís New, Itís Improved, Itís Old-Fashioned, Itís Batman as Youíve Seen and Never Seen Him Before

SYMBOL CRASH: Christian Bale goes comic book and tries to keep it real in Batman Begins.

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 6/15/2005

Jesus Christ, another fucking Batman movie? Aaaggh. Not to mention, more basically, another comic-book movie. But whatever. This is summertime and the thinkiní is easy, right? Slide your ass into a nice dark air-conditioned cave and forget who you are for a little while, which in this case is kind of a long while, like two hours and 10 minutes, so think twice before you suck down that entire value-sized soda pop, OK?

So anyway, yeah, Batman, and in this case heís Beginning, which means if you have any of the stories from Batman comic books or other Batman movies or any other Batcrap all Jungian-imprinted upon your brainpan, you need to relax all your chakras and buy into a whole new kinda Batman, which is pretty much like all the other Batmans, except now heís like some kinda semi-mystical Eastern-trained ninja-style assassin dude whoís part of a larger Organization that wants Justice, and itís not Team America, fuck no.

Plus: drugs! Yeah, man, one of the bad guys is Dr. Jonathan Crane, played by the dead-solid-perfectly disturbing boy-with-a-pretty-mouth Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Girl With a Pearl Earring) as this wacky evil psychiatrist worst-case-scenario headshrinker who wears a creepazoid scarecrow mask and dusts people with a Militarized Psychedelic Agent, which is all about making the most of the Brown Acid and causing extreme fear-freakoooooout reactions from his victims, one of whom is this weirdo ďBatmanĒ guy running around Gotham City trying to fix all kindsa Urban Blight on account of his parents got murdered by a robber, and so now heís Got Issues with guilt and fear and wanting to murder some motherfucker who killed his dad. Oh, and Mom, too, but this is all about Daddy.

This flavor of Batman is kinda dark and bitter, and itís an interesting diversion if youíre tired of suckiní on the same old Batsicle alla time, but keep the little kids outta the theater, since they are probably gonna be bored out of their tiny little skulls for the first hour or so of this thing, because director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) has a whole lotta setup goiní on, and we mos def got the feeling They (you know, out in Hollywood) are looking at Going Long again with the whole Bat-franchising sequel-thing.

But we dunno. Sure, thereís a Cool Car, this tank-lookiní deal that is loud and always looks like itís gonna crash, but nobody ever gets around to calling it the Batmobile or anything like that. Itís almost like the plan was to make a story about a guy who dresses up in a bat costume, only all Serious and Realistic-like, you know? A serious and realistic movie about a comic-book character. Right.

Anyway, Christian Bale, everybodyís favorite American Psycho, is all pumped up for the titular role, and he makes with the serious affected husky whisper when addressing Gotham City while wearing his pointy ears and cape, and you see the upper part of the costume a lot, all cool and muscular and carbon-black body-armor-lookiní, and you never really get exposed to any hint of tights or kooky codpiece-action goiní on down there, because this is a serious comic-book movie, umkay? So itís a harsher breed of Batman, and hey, they already made all the goofy cartoony-kinda Batman flicks, right? And it kinda works, especially with the action scenes and some creepy camera tricks and the Grade A supporting cast they got up in this piece, like Michael Caine as faithful family retainer Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as another good guy who hooks up Batman alter-ego Bruce Wayne with all kindsa badass military hardware. Plus you get Liam Neeson, who does the whole Master/Grasshopper thing with our Batman-to-be, and Gary Oldham dials it down as Lt. Gordon, who seems to be the only Honest Cop in Gotham, and Rutger Hauer does his shtick, and Katie Holmes sucks.

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