Batman Begins was about as good as I expected it to be, which was so-so. I saw trailers that just included the Bruce Wayne stuff and I thought “ooh this will be good” then I saw a trailer that just included the Batman stuff and I thought “uh oh, I spoke too soon.” That was exactly my reaction for the actual film. All the stuff with Bruce Wayne was very well done. The stuff with Batman just harkened back to the quadrology of the old Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher/whatever adaptations: guy in armored suit clunks around and the batmobile is ridiculous. Also, again I will say to Hollywood: if you’re going to have fight scenes, do me the courtesy of letting me see what’s going on. These tight shots full of fast editing do absolutely nothing for me. Finally – the romantic interest needed to be completely edited out of the film as it served no purpose whatsoever.
I think they can do a batman film, and you may hate me for saying this if you’re a Batman fan, without having a rogues gallery villain. No Joker, no Scarecrow, no Mr Freeze, no Clayface. Batman is a human with no extraordinary powers – sure his gadgets are pretty sleek, but they don’t really define him, not for me. Put him up against a crime boss. At first, during Batman Begets, you think this is what’s happening, but then the over-the-top traditional Batman bad guy stuff takes over and the entire first half of the film – all that verisimilitude they so carefully crafted – seems to slip away.
One more thing I’d like to criticize about the film – the Batman I know would not have risked all those lives (especially cops) to save one girl. That batmobile chase scene was gratuitous and over-the-top and just plain lowest common denominator.
So there’s some of the negative. But the acting was good and Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were great, and despite my musings the traditional batman bad guys worked well, all things considered.