2005

July 19, 2005
Century Oakridge — San Jose CA
USA
English
141 minutes

I wanted to love it. The first Burton one was a big deal to me back when it came out. I’m a fan of origin stories. But something was off. I wasn’t engaged when we went back in time to see Bruce Wayne’s fear of bats show itself for the first time.

The good: I love when guys find out about gadgets. We see Morgan Freeman open case after case, explaining what the prototype does. The discovery of the Batcave was cool. Michael Caine is beyond reproach. Learning about the source of Wayne’s wealth was cool. Seeing him learn how to develop weapons, also cool.

The bad: Katie Holmes. The Scarecrow is not a compelling villain and his disguise and his “superpower” were lackluster. Liam Neeson isn’t either, although his reasons for villainy are somewhat understandable. The Batmobile was just wacky. The director did so many quick cuts that it was hard to tell where the thing was driving and who was chasing it. I wasn’t sure why the driver had to sometimes lie on his stomach to do some maneuvers. Christian Bale was a stud in American Psycho and other films, but he can’t pull this off. He doesn’t have the lower jaw necessary. But the biggest thing wrong, and the reason I won’t recommend it is that we never know who is fighting who. The camera spins and moves and never stays on anyone involved in any combat. Batman takes on 50 ninjas, but we can’t tell where he is, who is getting beat up, and what damage is being delivered. At no time did I really know where one person stopped and another began. It was ridiculous. Stop the cutting. People give Michael Bay shit about his editing, but at least you can follow along with what’s going on.

It’s summer entertainment, but I found myself bored knowing that that boredom wouldn’t be helped during the frequent fight scenes because they were too hyper-kinetic.

7.3 Critical Consensus
7.0 Metacritic

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Written by Michael W. Cummins