I go into a comic-book movie with a built-in prejudice. I thought comics were pretty stupid when I was a kid, and while they’ve grown up some, most of them still are pretty stupid. I know there are literate people who love them, but there are many, many more who enjoy them because it’s easier to look at all the pretty pitchers than to actually read a novel. You disagree? That’s your right.
But this one is not bad at all. One thing I always disliked about super-hero movies is … well, their super-powers. Baloney. But Batman doesn’t have them. He’s just very good at what he does, and this movie shows how he got to be that way. Not only how he trained himself, but his motives, and most important of all, how he got all that cool stuff he uses. In the other Batman movies it’s just there. He pulls a bat-thingie out of his bat-hat. He lives in the Bat Cave. No hint of how long it takes to build all that stuff, or where it came from. Here we see every detail, and it’s almost believable.
Somebody complained that there’s no suitable villain in this movie. That is exactly what I don’t like about most comic heroes. The obsessed/crazy joker (so to speak) running around in a silly suit for the delight of pure evil is so puerile it has almost destroyed even as good a movie as Spiderman for me. Here the bad guys are totally believable, and their motives are ones anyone can understand: greed and corruption and all the nastiness of the real world. Batman fights the decadent political system in Gotham City, and it’s a fight that even he recognizes can’t be won by offing a single criminal genius.
They were very smart to cast excellent actors in the supporting parts, such as Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and especially Michael Caine. And Christian Bale is genuinely menacing in that black Kevlar outfit.
Francine: There are some parts of this movie that are fairly herky-jerky, quick cutting and jiggly camera work, but they are usually over pretty quick, and you can close your eyes and not get motion-sickness and open them when the fight’s over. You know who’s going to win, anyway, and then you can resume with the story.