Batman Begins fantastik but END just better den average.  Direktor Christopher Nolan use Richard Donner Superman as a guide and, strukturally, both movies very similar  wit strong, backstory-rich, character-driven first halves dat eventually give way to typikal nonsensical-actiony back halves.  Direktion and cinematography are brilliant while akting and writing are good – for de most part.

A young Bruce Wayne fall into well where he attacked by bats.  Dis begin life-long phobia/obsession wit de flying rodents.  Sort of like Grover except instead of well, he stumble into de Muppet & Jam Pub, and instead of bats it be Glenlivet, but you get de idea.  Anyway, young Bruce’s week go from bad to worse when –

Dad leave young Bruce wit final message: “Don’t be afraid.  And always hire someone to program your universal remote.”

His parents killed by two-bit thug during botched robbery.  And so, Orphan Bruce raised by cockney butler, Alfred, played by Michael Caine in one of movie’s many strong points.  Alfred prove alternately firm, warm and supportive, a strong father figure wit a wry sense of humor.  De type of dad you want helping you wit your homework and backing you up in a bar fight.

Bruce all grown up

Bruce grow up, obsessed wit twin notions of fear and justice.  Dis preoccupation take him to Asia where he go undercover as smuggler – only to get as busted as Big Bird at a Korean massage parlor.  He end up in prison where he reskued by mysterious man who go by name Ducard.  Ducard work for man called Razalgool, leader of ninja club called League of Shadows.  Dey seem like a nice, capable bunch and Bruce train wit dem.  BUT when he asked to kill poor farmer guilty of crime, Bruce refuse because it go against his moral code – so, instead, he end up burning down de clubhouse killing Razalgool, a bunch of ninjas and, oh yeah, dat poor farmer.

Bruce return to Gotham city where he resume life – much to surprise of everyone who thought he was dead.  Using tech from Wayne Corp. R&D, he create Batman persona and go out at night, fighting crime wit help of Sergeant Jim Gordon, one of few good cops in Gotham.  Like Michael Caine, Gary Oldman deliver terrific supporting performance, playing off equally great Christian Bale who be de best Batman yet – and pretty darn good Bruce Wayne as well.  Still, monster feel Bale’s Brucey missing touch of charm.

Rounding out Bruce’s inner circle be next-to-meaningless charakter of childhood friend and assistant distrikt attorney, Rachel Dawes, played by Katie Holmes.  Oof. Holmes bring nothing to nothing role and only apparent purpose of Rachel be to get captured and reskued from dis guy –


Villainous scarecrow lacing Gotham water supply with fear additive.  But it only work when breathed in.  Luckily for his mysterious boss, he get his hands on water vaporizer (?) from Wayne Corp.  Mysterious boss turn out to be – surprise! – Razalgool who not really dead and really – surprise! – Ducard!  After kicking crap out of Bruce Wayne and burning down Wayne manor, Raz plan to use water vaporizer to aerosolize fear additive in water supply and create chaos on Gotham!  Why?  Well, um, he a villain and villains do bad tings, right?

Batman to de reskue!

Final thirty minutes of movie as ridikulous as bad guy’s plan.  It include a speeding train, hysterical citizens, and Jim Gordon using Batmomissiles to take out tracks.  It all a bit silly, especially in comparison to rest of movie dat been pretty brilliant up to dis point.

Verdikt: One of de best superhero movies me have reviewed (minus Katie Holmes) until de last 30 minutes.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10 chocolate chippee cookies.

17 thoughts on “October 22, 2012: The Supermovie of the Week Club reconvenes! Cookie Monster reviews Batman Begins!

  1. My feelings mirror yours, Cookie, however I must correct you on the flying rodent part – bats are in a completely different order (Chiroptera). Also, I’m surprised you didn’t use the obvious pun in this review, that the movie went “from bat to worse!” Ha! Also, please cut Big Bird some slack on the massage parlour thing. He’s pretty stressed out about potentially losing his job, you know.

    Anyway. I did really like the movie until, as you say, the last 45 minutes or so, when things start to fall apart. I loved the “look” of the movie, which carried over into its two sequels. The acting was great and not too over the top, but I agree that Rachel’s role was there as little more than a plot device.

    Of course, it wouldn’t be a superhero movie without a few “Huh?” moments, and this was no exception:

    Why was everyone whispering during the scene where they want Bruce to execute the villager? Were they trying to not let him hear? Sorry, but the guy is RIGHT THERE! Also, when Razel-goauld almost goes over the cliff, Bruce lifts him up with just his bicep? Dude’s been doing some massive curls.

    I still don’t really understand why the police are so intent on catching Batman, when he really hasn’t done anything wrong. I mean, they throw extraordinary effort into it. Is it because they are corrupt themselves? But we don’t really see much evidence of that, at least at the top. Is it because he continues to show them up? They don’t really mention that, and if so – how petty can you get. It always seems to be that way with these superheroes, but the justification is never really evident. That whole part just never really seemed logical.

    How did the bats break the window in to where Batman was rescuing Rachel when she was poisoned with the hallucinogen? Did they just keep ramming into it? Poor bats.

    Wasn’t the hallucinogen supposed to be ultimately fatal? It seemed to be in the first few cases (or the direct implication was that it was). Or wasn’t the concentration enough to do that when they dispersed it in the city? If it wasn’t, other than a day of insanity wouldn’t have things have returned more or less to normal, anyway? And things DID seem to jump immediately back to normalcy. Did they do a massive release of the antidote or something? Anyway, this lack of continuity for the drugs effects was probably what bugged me most about the movie.

    It’s rather odd that while already hopped-up on some kind of hallucinogen that enhances fear, Rachel is taken on a terrifying ride through (and over) the city in the Batmobile. What a trip! Talk about adrenaline rush hour.

    While I really liked the movie overall, I thought that the main threat, the drug dispersal never really seemed like a big enough peril – especially given the drugs seemingly diminished danger before the end of the movie.

    So yeah, great first part devolving into silliness by the end.

  2. Adam West will always be the best Batman!

    Batman Begins was a geniusly-clever execution of a number of things that were almost certain (when viewed in list form) to prove bad ideas. Such as…

    …the emotional implications of a backstory as most of a feature film plot
    …thug attacks that seem to be just to show off the hero’s badassery
    …going off to train with the ninjas in the mountains
    …ninjas using crude explosives that will make them detectable by smell
    …the main plot being the protagonist’s musings on justice
    …a Batman movie about musing about justice
    …boy Bruce being scared of bats being why he takes on a bat persona

    Somehow, they managed to interweave all this non-sense (except the stinky ninjas, that’s just stupid) together so cleverly the pure oozing genius of that feat forgives all ills, like making a beautiful sculpture out of hair clippings.

    Those prison attacks were really deep when the ninja-mentor-villain put them into perspective. A privileged rich kid tiptoeing into scarcity – no, deeper that, I just wanted to say “privileged” because all the cool kids say that these days. The ninja training and need for revenge somehow pulled in boy Bruce becoming what he’s afraid of and incorporated that theme well in his ninja graduation ritual and now forever becoming a bat because they scare you is no longer camp. Which might be a bad thing they did to the Batman franchise. Selfish bastard geniuses.

    Some of the lines felt like the kind of wisdom you can only glean from multi-year Dark Nights of the Soul that reach into everything you believed about yourself and force you to distill reality to a seed of truth from which you can sprout a new, better identity. Coming up with such lines must’ve required a team of seasoned super-writers tearing themselves down and striding back into fellowship with success anew all in the name of Batman movie research. Darn it, I forget which lines, that would’ve been a bad ass list. Anyone?

    And then some guy told this other guy’s shock of ugly, blond hair that some ridiculous weapon got stolen and it felt like two guys talking about a Batman movie plot on the set of The Apprentice. Eventually, the movie morphed closer to the feel of a Batman movie, but tacking some adventure on the end…ah, I was okay with the sudden turn in the movie’s feel and rushed job of Batmanning it up even if Cookie wasn’t. (I just don’t know how the warthog from Halo is supposed to explain the Batmobile.) That weapon actually seems possible and terrifying, but vaporization of that much water has insane power requirements the movie didn’t address. Aren’t plot holes part of morphing into a real Batman movie?

    I also was okay with that silly element of the villain’s motivation being that corruption was so bad in Gotham that wiping it out was justice in his mind. Adam West’s Batman always seemed so sure the cops were the good guys. How did he know? Batman was so obsessed with justice (and learning from his enemies) that he forced it to be that way after the riots that surely followed the events of this film. Gotham never was a believable town and now there’s a reason for it. Batman forces its officials to be unbelievably goody two shoes, which would seem morbidly heavy-handed if not for being a lovely solution compared to Razalgool’s.

    This movie dwelled enough on “how he got that way” love letters to Batman fans that it might seem too slow to non-Batman fans. That may seem strange given its lack of Batman feel, but I think it’s just that good even a sudden rampage by Curious George would have been forgivable.

    This was another case where just knowing the structure of films ruined the surprise. No movie doesn’t show the villain until that late, so the surprise of who he really was gets ruined. Also, the villain as an apparent mentor who showed up early is almost a guaranteed detail of a “superhero begins” plot. So, this is another I’m looking forward to re-watching after my lobotomy.

  3. I wouldn’t have figured Grover for a scotch man/puppet. I’d have guessed he was a daiquiri guy or something with blue curacao.

  4. Out geocaching for the day and found this

    Her name is Emily. She would not stand still to get a decent photo. Loves rolling.

  5. “After kicking crap out of Bruce Wayne and burning down Wayne manor, Raz plan to use water vaporizer to aerosolize fear additive in water supply and create chaos on Gotham! Why? Well, um, he a villain and villains do bad tings, right?”

    That’s a really odd comment to make Mr. M (M is for Monster!).

    I thought that the movie explained exactly why they were doing what they were doing, almost painfully so to the point where they almost looked down the camera and said “We’re doing this because of XYZ”. You didn’t find this clear? Too many cookie-crumbs in your big blue ears?

  6. “Darn it, I forget which lines, that would’ve been a bad ass list. Anyone?”

    The two best lines come at the end of the film.

    1. “I’m not going to kill you… but I don’t have to save you.”
    2. “I never thanked you.” “And you’ll never have to.”

  7. Cookie Monster says: If dat de case, what was de XYZ explanation for exaktly why dey were doing what dey were doing?

  8. oops


  9. I wanted to like this movie when it came out. I REALLY wanted to like it. But Bale nearly ruined it for me. I just could not (and still cannot) warm to his Batman (based on the first 2 films). Too wooden, too flat. I’d give it a 5/10, but with a different actor – one who could emote better – it would have been a 9/10. As a fan of the Brit style of acting, I’d have to say that Bale reminds me more of an American actor than a British one – he’s just soooo bland!! I understand that Wayne/Batman isn’t supposed to be an overly emotional sort, but an actor still needs to connect with the audience in some way, show something to make their character ‘real’.

    For example, to some Laurence Fox isn’t as ‘dreamy’ as Bale, and physically he can come across as a bit awkward, but somehow here in the States he’s managed to win over quite a few PBS Mystery! fans, such as myself. How? By making his character human through something as simple as a smirk, or a squirm, something I just haven’t seen Bale do yet.* Here’s an example of Laurence – a.k.a. Sergeant Hathaway – doing what he does best:

    See the difference? Just from that little clip I’m already invested in the character – I care about him and what happens to him. I just could never feel that for Bale’s Batman. I’ve mentioned before that Jackman won me over to Wolverine with his ‘every time’ line when Rogue asked him if it hurt to pop his claws. It was the delivery, the suggestion of emotion, that did it for me. Had he delivered that line a la Bale, I probably would never have picked up a Wolverine comic book, or watched another mutant movie.

    *There is one movie I enjoy Bale in – the made-for-tv version of Treasure Island, with Charlton Heston. I believe it was the nature of the movie and the role that suited him very well, and it stands as my favorite film version of the tale.


  10. Batman Begins is a movie of two halves.

    The dull, boring half (we have to sit through a whole hour of emo angst and ninja mumbo jumbo before we even see Batman) and the overblown action set-pieces and illogical plot devices of the second half.

    If there was a microwave emitter powerful enough to instantaneously vaporise all the water within a few city blocks then it would also be instantaneously vaporising all the human beings as well. We’re 70% water remember? And it would be a much more efficient way of removing the clearing the city than trying to activate some sort of hallucinogenic drug in the water supply. Why are comic book villains so stupid?

    I, too, didn’t see the point of Rachel. It’s almost like the writers handed in the first draft of the script complete with Bruce Wayne backstory, evil villains and crime bosses and the producers came back asking for a love interest so Rachel was slotted in. Why do these movies need love interests?

    The weird thing is, even though a lot of the backstory is dull and the villains are lame, I still get a modicum of enjoyment out of this movie. I don’t hate it. In fact, viewed alongside all the other Superhero movies we’ve watched over the past year, it’s a damn fine movie. I just don’t understand why people rave so much about it.

  11. BOOcumbers!!!


    Found those (and one more that we had for dinner last night – the cukes, not the cat 😉 ) growing ‘wild’ on my mom’s fence. No idea how the seeds got there (birds, perhaps?). We knew there was a vine growing (it started late Aug or early Sept), but didn’t know what it was, and just forgot about it. Yesterday I was waiting up by the street for a delivery and remembered the vine, so I decided to check it out. What a surprise it was to find three fat cukes! Since they’re so big I removed the seeds (sometimes large cucumbers get ‘sour’ in the middle), diced it up, sprinkled it with a bit of salt, and drizzled it olive oil and lemon juice. ‘Twas yummy! 😀


  12. Oh, good point about the water in our bodies being vaporized, Line Noise. Now THAT would be dramatic! And nasty.

  13. It’s been a long hard day and I’m beat! I’ll keep my Batman comment simple “I liked it”. 🙂

    JeffW: I made a triple chocolate cheesecake and it turned out great! That is, until I dropped it 🙁 Thank God, it feel on the counter (instead of on the floor) and I managed to salvage it. It’s lost some of the “perfectness” but at least I have something to send for the teacher luncheon tomorrow. 😉

  14. @Cookie:

    Sorry, I tried to (re)watch this, but too many customer meetings in too many different cities to fit this in, but I do agree that the last third was somewhat silly.

    My main thought was if the “water vaporizer” vaporizes all water around it, how did people (who are in large part composed of water) survive? Shouldn’t they have been vaporized too (or at least severely affected with high blood pressure)?

    And there’s not enough wing area in his cape to glide like he is shown to in the movies…but maybe that’s just the aviation geek in me.

    I did enjoy the rest of it though.

    @Tam Dixon:

    JeffW: I made a triple chocolate cheesecake and it turned out great!

    Ohhhh…sounds good (if I could eat chocolate anyway). Would you like to share the recipe? My wife would probably like it. I’ll swap you a white chocolate cheesecake recipe for it. 😉

  15. @Line Noise on the “water vaporizer”:

    I just caught up with the comments yesterday and saw you had the same thought as I…the people that were standing next to the vaporizer/emitter should have been dead.

    BTW, I’ll be in the West Country on Saturday November 10th…let me know if you’d like to meet up for a coffee.

  16. Anything with Christian Bale in it gets a 9 out of 10 just for being hot. 1 out of 10 is up for grabs based on the quality of the movie that I am not even paying any attention.

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