Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Batman Begins

Jerry Stratton, June 22, 2005

I was very impressed with Batman Begins. It has solid directing, great acting, a four-color plot that works, and fine dialog. Tom Wilkinson has some of the best of it, and shines as Gotham’s mob boss.

Most adventure movies, if they go for biblical allegory, draw from Jesus: more specifically, from Passion. A bit afield from superheroes, Omega Man pushed the icon considerably. More recently, Spider-Man II had smatterings of it here and there, and not just Peter being crucified on the train.

In the realm of DC Comics movies, Superman was full of it, with references to “my only begotten son” only the most blatant. In Batman Begins, writer David S. Goyer and writer/director Christopher Nolan show a true understanding of the differences between Metropolis and Gotham by going old testament. They draw on Abraham and Sodom.

The plot of Batman Begins is pure four-color superhero, but this is the best four-color-style story I have ever seen on film. Ang Lee tried to evoke comic book sensibilities in The Hulk but gave up, resulting in a mediocre film. It’s a hard thing to do.

The movie sports a truly great cast all down the line: Christian Bale made a great Batman, Michael Caine a fine Alfred, Liam Neeson was great in his old-testament role, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, all put in near-perfect performances. Even Katie Holmes, as the Hollywood-required love interest, does a good job.

One of the best things about Batman Begins is that it does not try to do everything in one movie. Jim Gordon is not the head of the police force: he starts as a captain and ends as a lieutenant. They’ve built the foundation for several possible future storylines and characters.

The worst part about Batman Begins is that good serial subplots are delicate things. It is very, very easy for movie studios to become impatient and demand Hollywood-style resolution, jokes, and love stories. Let’s hope they keep the current creative team, and that they are up to the task of continuing this storyline, and that the acting ensemble they’ve collected can return.

Because I don’t think Batman and Gotham are off the hook yet: Abraham still needs to convince God to spare Sodom. No one with the name Ra’s al Ghul (Arabic for The Demon’s Head) dies in the first movie.

  1. <- Hitchhiker’s Guide
  2. Shades of Grey ->