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June 26th, 2005 - ldhenson — LiveJournal
ldhenson
Saw this last night.

Wow.

I've never been a Batman fan; what I know of his story is via osmosis, and it doesn't add up to much at that. I've seen about three of the recent franchise, though never in a theater and hardly start-to-finish (I'd catch bits here and there on cable until I figured I'd more or less seen the whole movie). I thought they were mildly entertaining at best, but they never really engaged my interest and I never really liked Batman/Bruce Wayne as either a character or as a storyline.

But I was very impressed by Batman Begins. It felt like a good solid story, with the campiness kept to a minimum. Despite the lack of colorful flash, I never once found it dull, and the grimness and soberness with which the story was treated added believable gravity without ever once becoming overbearing. Most important, for the first time ever I found myself actually caught up in a Batman story and eager to see what each new scene would bring.

I've also never liked Christian Bale. I can't quite pinpoint it, but I've always found him strangely off-putting, another reason I wasn't eager to see this movie. As the opening scenes rolled, I scoffed at the very idea that by the movie's end I might actually like him. And what do you know...by the movie's end, I...well, I'm not his newest fan, but he came off much better than I expected. I felt he made a pretty decent protagonist after all. Nicely done.

The rest of the primary cast was top-notch, with the exception of Katie Holmes, who's never impressed me as an actress (she seems to use either one of two expressions, serious or smirking). Liam Neeson (an actor I also initially hated, and later grew to adore a long time ago) and Morgan Freeman came off best of a good bunch, but most of all I was particularly pleased to see that the talents of the strong cast meshed together well rather than one-upping one another, as big names potentially could (c.f. Tommy Lee Jones vs. Jim Carrey in one of the other movies)...or rather than being squashed into blandness by the weight of the premise (c.f. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor in Episode One (I know, different franchise)). Big kudos to the director and cast for pulling that off.

If I may get shallow for a moment here: Cillian Murphy, where have you been all my life you gorgeous darling? I swear, every second he was onscreen I could not. Take. My eyes. Off. That man. He's not even exactly my type of pretty, but he's absolutely magnetic.

Anyway. I'm not about to run out and buy lots of Batman comics, and I'm not sure if this is a movie I could watch over and over again, but really, I was very pleased with how my $9 was spent. I'd quibble with the fight choreography/editing (too choppy) and the casting of Holmes, but that's about it. The lack of cartoonishness comes as such a relief, and yet the story/characters remain larger-than-life. A well-drawn balance, and one which I enjoyed.
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