Went to see a midnight showing of Batman Begins last night.
Capsule review: WOOOOOO!
To elaborate – this one didn’t disappoint at all. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not up on the minutiae of the Batman comics, so I’ll just make a couple more general observations.
A smart, smart Batman movie, with some surprising things worked pretty artfully (and seamlessly) into the Batman mythos. Some paratextuality with surprising sources, old and new. The first part of the movie could have easily been mistaken for an update of The Shadow. Wealthy Young Man About Town trains with mystics in the orient (“The League of Shadows”) where he learns many martial arts skills, include the ability to make himself “invisible.” The psychology of this film is Jungian, which is a bit quaint clinically but great for art. Here, Batman is Bruce Wayne’s Jungian Shadow – a supressed aspect of his self, and a personification of his greatest fear.
The most surprising allusion, for me, was to Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. The unnamed blue flower of Batman Begins bears a striking resemblance to Mors Ontologica, the blue flower from which a sinister syndicate is synthesizing and distributing Substance D – a powerful hallucinogen which, given enough exposure, is totally mind-destroying. Smaller exposures of both substances have the unusual side effect of inducing dissociative disorders. In Batman Begins, inmates of Arkham Asylum’s exposure to this “weaponized hallucinogen” (what a great line that was) is offered as a partial explanation for the rise of supervillians. (Makes me wonder what’s in Rachel’s future? Not Catwoman, surely?) Anyway, one more Scanner Darkly thing - vaguely spoilerish:When Bob/Fred is introduced to the blue flower, he is using the name “Bruce.” I think it’s really cool that two of the biggest releases of 2005 share the slight connection.
I also like the way Stately Wayne Manor was made to stand as a model of Bruce’s psyche. Burn the respectable face of it down, and rebuild it – after fortifying the subterranean “foundation.” Nice.
As for more regular stuff – best batsuit ever. Best gear ever. Christian Bale? Best Batman ever. Michael Caine? You know. Best ever. Gary Oldman was fantastic as Gordon. (I didn’t recognize him until his second scene. Whoa.)
Funniest part of the entire movie – the way the Scarecrow was dispatched. Screaming like a little girl. Bwahahahahaha!