Hey folks, Harry here... So - did Warners have a very very very early test screening of BATMAN BEGINS today? The small 25 people or less test screening is actually one of the things that the studios do to reduce the possibility of word leaking out. However, an early draft of the script has leaked online - and nothing in this review couldn't be 'supposed' from having read that version of the script. Now - if only 25 people got into the screening, the mathmatical odds that we could possibly get a second confirming review is highly unlikely. So - here you have a rather lengthy spoiler-filled piece claiming to be a review of BATMAN BEGINS, which contains tons of accurate information, that is quite enthusiastic about the film, the visuals, the acting... I must warn you though - if you want to remain pure for the new BATMAN flick - do not read the following - for there are a ton of very revealing spoilers here. So - read this review (be of the film or the script - you be the judge) - read at your own risk...
Ok I just got back from an early test screening of Batman Begins, Warner Bros. Big-budget summer movie event, which recently had a bad ass super bowl trailer. I read about the screening in article mentioning super bowl trailers and I knew I had to go! So I did. When I arrived it was as if it was opening-a line of about 60 people outside this theater in he middle of nowhere, all buzzing about it. Secuity came and said itd be distributing numbers and pick 25 people to come see it and I got picked!Lucky number 43. It was made even more special with the likes of several Warner bros. Movie execs and Christopher Nolan himself. To sum up and not spoil everything, heres basically what happens.
Bruce Wayne lead a fun and average childhood till his parents were murdered by the very-eery Joe Chill. Now Bruce is turned upside down and when he gets old enough-flees Gotham. He learns how to steal and go unnoticed, all the tricks of the underworld, so to say. Its not done in darkness, but rather everything is on a grand scale. Some parts I would prefer to be on a smaller scale, like, the prison fight. He returns home in time for Joe Chills trial, and then leaves again. Now he is arrested brought a jail, where he kicks the shit out of these guys who try to mess with him. Hes thrown in solatary and meets Ducard, who lets him out and they go and train together under the watchful eye of Ra's al Ghul .
After deciding to leave, he must fight his way out against a ton of pissed of ninjas and a very enraged Ra's Al Ghul. The building has a huge explosion and Bruce returns to Gotham. This is just about all of act one. Unlike Hulk its not boring, and unlike spiderman, it never comes off as unrealistic. Its fun to watch, and the visuals, though not completed, are already stunning due to the sets. Back in Gotham he retakes his company, gets the batmobile, becomes Batman. Little does he know that the Scarecrow is working with sombody to do something awful to Gotham. He also befriends cop James Gordon and has a romance with his friend Rachel.
Now going into this I knew about Batman, but trust me,even if you've never heard of him, youll walk out loving him. His cause is good, his look and moves badass, his girls hot. Hes the star and it awesome. The overall tone of the film is much grander and bigger in scale and not as dark as I was expecting. Its made with lots style but not as much as there is substance. There are jokes too, which I wasn't expecting, that are actually funny, particulary by Alfred. I walked in expecting a blast and that's what I had. In the end it's a lot like the star wars movies, or Zorro. The final sequence truly displays that Batman vs. Ra's is basically good vs. evil. Its amazing, and its cool to imagine just how big this will be. I checked out its release date and noticed that there isn't much opening up against it or the week after it, so I believe there will be "wonders to behold" when this is released. It has very strong themes, revenge, heroism, the courage to do what is right and stand up for what you believe in. The ending sequnce is dazzling and will leave you cheering. But at the same time the movie succeeds in a place where Hulk failed and Spider-man succeeded in:it doesn't take itself to seriously. The jokes and rescue and heroism moments, and comic book poses. Batman saying one liners. But its not camp, its good. It fits with the films overall mood. This film has that overall hero aspect to Batman that was very strong in Batman and Batman Forever.
The films performances are for the most part, great. Christian bale is by far the greatest Batman we have ever seen. His Bruce Wayne has the looks and charisma, and under Nolans brilliant direction, is able to show his true self. In his facial expressions, everything. His Batmans is great. The fighting is cool and fresh, while not too different i.e. the matrix. Utterly badass sometimes. Bale perfamance is fantastic. He steals his own show in every scene hes in, wether its Batman or Bruce.
Liam Neeson as Ducard and SPOILER Ras Al Ghul END is great too. One of the best mentor figures I've sene since, well, Liams character in Episode One. But when he turns bad, well, hes BAD. His eyes fill with hatred and you can practically smell Bruce's hatred of what his former mentor has become. Neeson towers over Bales Wayne, hes gotta atleast 6'4, with bale being pretty tall himself. His final action scene aboard the runaway monorail, he handles himself great. He must have had some serious work with a sowrdfighter. Neesons performance is very good.
Gary Oldmans seargeant James Gordon is good. Hes has that ability that Hector had last year in Troy where you will always route for this guy. Ditto Bale. He's fighting an uphill battle and you almost feel bad for him. In the end though, he comes out on top with Batmans help. Oldman very much adds to the "leaves you cheering" aspect of the end of the film, in its final scene. Oldmans performance is great.
Katie Holmes' Rachel Dawes(pronouncd Daws) is good. Kind of like a hotter, younger, female version of Alfred. She almost steals the show, mainly because her characters the first not so damsel in distress love interest in a comic book movie, though she does find herself in one or two bad situations where she needs rescuing. SPOILERS Plus, after getting saved by the batman right before he gets on the train,she learns who Batman truly is and shares a kiss with old batsy-nice. END SPOILER. Holmes turns in a good perfmance, never stale or fake.
Cillian Murphy's Jonathan Crane gives me the willies. He's the type of bad guy you get in one of those r rated horror films that are coming out left and right right now.Hes creepy and his scarecrow verison is creepier. While the mask doesn't give you terror, it will when you see him doing what he does in it. Scarecrow has some badass scenes and at the end when he becomes the headless horseman, I mean the entire scarecrow, well hes badass, but he unfortuantly is no match for Katie Holmes. Murphy does a good job playing him andwill be seen more in future movies in Hollywood.
Michael Caines is also brilliant as Alfred. Hes funny but is a good mentor. He does whats needed. Alfred is the kind of guy who if anything happened to him in the movie youd get mad. Expect to like him a lot.
Last but not least is Morgan Freeman. He has 3-4 scenes and is good. Hs batmansversion of q and has some cool stuff up his sleeve. Its another rock-solid performance from Freeman. For the most part, all the performances are good if not great, my only real complaint is the man who plays judge Phaden and the man who plays Falcone. Phaden is played like a classic moron, and Falcones not very intimidating. Hes not bad but not the way I wanted him. Rutger Hauer, while not given much, is alright as the snooty bitch from Waynes Company. But if they made him any more bad he would start shooting people. He and Falcones characters are played like theres 0% good in them and it kinda comes off a little dumb, but their not that bad in all. You wont notice it unless your grading performances or something or nitpicking all the details like I am.
The action is great in this movie. Much better and larger then anything weve seen before. all the "little" fights make way for Batman to own. His first night out when he terrorizes some bad guys is awesome. The Batmobile chase will go down with the Matrix and The French Connection as one of the best ever. Its so cool to watch. I mean literally SO COOL While some fx in it aren't finished, its just awesome. The batmobile is a beast and wrecks everything in its path. The entire third act and second half of the second is all action. After the chase ends, we get a cool swordfight in a SPOILRS burning down Wayne Manor END SPOILER then this really cool Batman-suiting up scene then he crashes Arkham, saves Rachel, meets up with gordon whome he hands over the batmobile to so Gordon can blow some stuff up, then has the spectacular train scene, that believe it or not, might beat out spiderman 2's, depending on the fx come out. The scarecrow has action too-he fights on a horse with Rachel, and kills some guys he works with. Batman also has a scene involving him busting in on scarecrow and getting lit on fire. Awesome stuff. While some effects are done(I was surprised that probably 60% of the train sequence is already done), some are left undone and big green screen in their place.
The score will hopefuly be good, they had the ones from the previous Batman movies in this one.
The film just about never bores, apart from some scens where Batmans being more of a detective, but their still pretty fun to watch. Its basically about a lot more entertaining then Hulk. If you have fun with Spiderman movies youll have a blast with Batman. I know thus far its promotion has been pretty good. Its had spots on the Super bowl and I saw one with Ocens Twelve, as well as some cool posters and magazine articles. But if warner bros. Can promote this like it's the biggest film ever, it could be huge I mean bigger then spiderman because it has that lets go see it again feeling, but not having heavy compition early which is when films make most of their money could help it go past Spider-man.
Like Spiderman did for Tobey Maguire, this film should make stars outta Bale and Holmes. Their both already decently known, but being so good in such a high profile movie should really help them. Another thing I loved are the things that will make this movie an oscar and those are its magnificent, atmospheric sets and art pieces. The sets are so huge and imposing. Arkham Asylum and the Narrows Island are like the ghetto of the future with style. Its very cool to look at and is awesome. The special effects as right now are decent too. The ones of Batman falling and the train roaring off its tracks and the Batmobile thundering off over passes are good too.Not fake in the least, ala Hulk. All this stuff the cast, sets, hype, fx must be extremely expensive. I read that the budget is rumured to be 180 million and I would says its ATLEAST THAT. The movies scale is so huge and big and realistic looking that you can bet it cost some big money to create. Another thing I'd like to mention is that in the movie SPOILER at the end Rachel leaves bruce, saying she cant atke Batman away because hes needed.But at the end of the movie people had to vote about if they wanted that ending or Rachel staying with Bruce. I voted for staying with Bruce, because a happy ending in a cool movie leaves a better effect when you leave the theater, especially when you want them to stay to gether anyway.Overall, this kicked ass. It'll be a big hit I think unless theres some big editing. Ill end with this: for those who remember how entertaining and refreshingly cool Batman was when it premiered in 1989, picture that in todays world. Happening all over again. I know I cant be the only one that gets a little foamy at the mouth when I think about it.