Friday, July 08, 2005

Summer Fun Begins With Batman

It has everything, even a car chase

I saw Batman Begins July 4 at Union Station (the Wash DC one) with a friend. It was great. Why?: it has everything, is passionate, thoughtful, deep, and covers psychology and economics, history, vision, idealism, growth, friendship, family, love and loyalty.

The movie is basically about confronting your fears and trying to live honorably and doing what you can / have to to better a corrupt society. It starts with a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne in an outsourced Asian prison fighting petty criminals one-at-a-time, being thrown into solitary, and then given an option to battle evil at a more fundamental level (will not give too much away in this review). We then flashback to his youth, the formative fear created by himself due to selfish childhood folly, the death of his parents and the economics of the proto-industrial (State-Capitalist) underclass.

His father's gentleness (and generousity - philanthropy actually) is taken as weakness on the street. The criminal justice system is run amuck due to the criminal insanity plea and young Bruce is forced to make decisions based on free will.

The film is nice and long, a good matinee experience. The first 3/4 of the film unfolds with a telling of Gotham's state, the development of Bruce's alter-ego the Batman, and the why for both, the former in an interesting historical context. Of course the drugwar and informal sector play a part in the economics of the film. (I could have done without the Italian-American stereotype here though.) The characterizations and moral choices are inspiring in an Ayn Randian sense (as has been said elsewhere) and the ideas, narrative-flow and cinematography kick.

Then into the last 1/4 of the film beginning, of course, with the obligatory car chase it turns less psychological and personal and more action-based. This is ok, it still gives the moral choices one faces in his/her human action, grace under pressure so-to-speak, and one zooms through a cool night-time sci-fi New York (everyone's favorite city) chasing the good versus evil.

My friend, who turned me on to sci-fi in the first place, said that the film was more true to the comic book roots than the other A-list villian Batman stuff. Whats also cool is how about a half-dozen great but not overly-blown actors appear in the unfolding of the story (no names mentioned here). I left with a buzz for this film and still have it. I wouldnt "wait for the DVD".