I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about this movie. While I love superhero movies, even the campiest ones, the previews released during the production of Batman Begins didn’t exactly impress me.
I’ve never been a fan of the all-black costume, for example. I personally would have preferred to see something with at least some contrasting grays along with the black in keeping with the common Batman comic costume, as well as perhaps some cloth woven across the top of the body armor. I’m still not keen on the idea of a thicker, rubber-like material around the neck, as I feel someone involved with the amount of hand-to-hand combat that the character of Batman would encounter would prefer as much natural head movement as possible. Still, as filmed, the costume serves the character well.
And then there’s the Batmobile. When I first saw photos of the Tumbler, I thought it was outright silly looking. However, in action it’s a pretty spectacular vehicle and easily my new favorite Bat vehicle. The Tumbler is like most of the tech in this movie, it seems silly at first, but works well enough within the confines of the movie that it seems natural for the director’s vision of the Batman world.
I had also been skeptical about the amount of star power in this movie. I feared that it would be hard to see famous actors like Michael Caine as anything other than himself, but he actually won me over to the idea that he’s Batman’s faithful friend and butler, Alfred, just like Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman did as Gordon and Fox. Though I didn’t always buy Christian Bale’s “Batman voice”, he seemed to fit both Bruce Wayne and Batman better than any of the previous actors in the role. Katie Holmes was better than her current acting reputation, but the real star of the movie for me were Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow and Liam Neeson as Wayne’s mentor and eventual enemy.
The action sequences were great, though I hope the inevitable sequels don’t keep this film’s technique of shooting every fight scene using nothing but close-ups and jump cuts. The sound effects, on the other hand, was perfectly loud and meaty. The Tumbler in low gear is a thing of horrendous beauty.
Overall, this isn’t just my new favorite Batman movie, it’s also my current pick as movie of the summer. Even if you’re just a general action fan with little obsession over the Batman character, this is a must see to add to your warm weather film nights.