Batman may have begun his film career in the 1960s, but he’s run the gamut from his campy-but-fun beginnings with Adam West, through his gothic reimagination at the hands of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton, and then into a campy-but-terrible spell under Joel Schumacher with the “help” of Val Kilmer and George Clooney. The franchise was left for dead, assumedly killed off by the likes of the bat skates and bat credit cards. To be fair, Arnie in fluffy polar bear slippers can’t have helped.
Looking at their respective portfolios, Chris Nolan and Christian Bale (who went to the same school as me, incidentally) weren’t likely to try to do anything other than put the “dark” back in “Dark Knight”, and bring one of the deepest and most troubled comic book characters around into the more grown up territory where he belongs. It’s been rare to see any of it with more than multiple shades of black, but with dark overtones being the modus operandi of the majority of the current comic book adaptions it doesn’t guarantee a successful film. Thankfully this is one.
Batman Begins is pure, undiluted awesomeness. It’s not very often that I come out of the cinema with no real complaints about a film (the Kill Bill duo, Shaun of the Dead, and Team America are the last ones I can remember) but I loved every minute of this. It’s funny when it’s meant to be, hits all the right notes, looks spectacular, works as a great example of the correct use of CGI, contained no extended and melodramatic “NOOOOOOOOOO”s, and was just thoroughly entertaining all-round. As a casual Batman fan I loved it, those in my group who are more dedicated loved it, and those with only a cursory knowledge also came out satisfied.
I’ve yet to see how the likes of War of the Worlds will fare, but so far this is the must-see movie of the summer.