Tag Archive: batman begins


 

sanctuary

RACHEL: ‘What will you do?’

BRUCE: ‘Rebuild it.  Just the way it was, brick for brick.’

ALFRED: ‘Just the way it was, sir?’

BRUCE: ‘Yeah.  Why?’

ALFRED: ‘I thought this might be a good opportunity for improving the foundations.’

BRUCE: ‘In the southeast corner…’

ALFRED: ‘Precisely sir…’

 

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End of a Dark Era

A lot going down over the next seven days, so let’s try to not squash everything into next weekend…

I don’t fly my fanboy/geek colors for a lot of things at this point, but one of the few has been this generation’s version of ‘the Batman’.  Some interesting comic book turns, two great video games (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City), and of course, two ‘definitive’ takes on the Batman in a ‘realistic’ setting: Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  

Thursday night, me and five people who better be prepared to see me cry will be joining among the masses catching midnight screenings of The Dark Knight Rises, the final part of Nolan’s trilogy.  Just like after Begins, I have cautious optimism.  The minor spoilers I’ve heard lead me to believe at worst this will be a good movie, but I don’t want to go in expecting to be blown away by a Batman film (again).  At least I’m fairly positive I won’t see Bane portrayed as some kind of fucking man-child who wears fedoras while he chauffeurs Poison Ivy around (still ain’t forgot about that Schumacher).

Anyway, we’ll get to Rises Friday morning, in the meantime, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from the first 2 films.  The Story of Malik Aziz…

(what?  why are you nudging me?)

(looks up…)

Yes, the Batman.  I meant the Story of the Batman…

Batman Begins

‘Bruce…don’t be afraid.’ – Thomas Wayne

‘You’re uh, you’re Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham, you’d have to go a thousand miles to meet someone who didn’t know your name…’ – Carmine Falcone

‘But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely…a legend, Mr. Wayne’ – Henri Ducard

‘Deep down, you may still be that same great kid you used to be.  But it’s not who you are underneath…it’s what you do that defines you.’ – Rachel Dawes

‘Gotham isn’t beyond saving.’ – Bruce Wayne

The Dark Knight

‘Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money.  They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.  Some men just want to watch the world burn.’ – Alfred Pennyworth

‘It’s a funny world we live in…’ – the Joker

‘You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.’ – Harvey Dent

‘See their morals, their code…it’s a bad joke.  Dropped at the first sign of trouble.  They’re only as good as the world allows them to be.  I’ll show you, when the chips are down, these ‘civilized’ people…they’ll eat each other.’ – the Joker

‘Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.  So we’ll hunt him.  Because he can take it.  Because he’s not our hero.  He’s a silent guardian.  A watchful protector.  A dark knight.’ – Commissioner Gordon

 Happy Monday!

Batman: Year One

 

The latest animated feature from Warner Bros. Animation is a very faithful recreation of the classic comic, ‘Batman: Year One.’

(In the interest of full disclosure I’ll tell you that I’ve met the director of this film, Sam Liu, and talked briefly about the Batman.  Not on any kind of business thing, just one of those ‘Hollywood is really just a small town that’s centered around TV and mvoies type of thing.’  He’s a friend of a friend.  Now having gotten that out of the way, if you really think that chatting briefly and non-chalantly with the director of the film would bias me toward any favoritism toward this particular character, I don’t…I just can’t…)

For those unfamiliar, the comic ‘Batman: Year One’ is very true to the title: a 25 year old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham after years away with plenty of methods to fight crime but missing…’something’.  At the same time, young Lieutenant James Gordon arrives in Gotham with a pregnant wife and a reputation as a good cop trying to survive in a horribly corrupt police department.  If these beats (and others in the story) are familiar, Chris Nolan borrowed a lot of the story points from this comic for both of his excellent Batman films.

So how does the animated film measure up?  Quite well in my opinion.  The most notable difference to me (as someone very familiar with the comic) is that the ‘voiceover’ of the comic has been pretty much taken out.  It was a great choice; for the most part the audience experiences the story in ‘real time’ with Gordon and Bruce.  The biggest name in the voice acting by Bryan Cranston (‘Breaking Bad’) as Lieutenant Gordon, as the true ‘star’ of the story I think he did well with the idea of what we all imagine the future Commissioner to sound like after so many interpretations. There’s another nice ‘in joke’ where certain dolls from the comic have clearly been replaced by characters owned by Warner Brothers, but that’s only noticeable if you know the comic.

As far as Warner’s animated films go, I’d put this behind ‘Under the Red Hood’ in terms of quality.  Highly recommend if you haven’t ever read the comic.

‘Batman: Year One’ is out now on Blu-Ray/DVD, ITunes and On-Demand on certain cable outlets (like mine).

 

batman

The Batman is well known to be my favorite fictional character.  Popular for 70 years and running, I’m going to assume you know the basics either through regular pop culture or the massive success of the Chris Nolan movies.  So the angle I’m taking here is to talk about my five favorite Batman stories from the comics.  I’m nowhere near a hardcore comic guy, but I have friends who are, and knowing how much I enjoy Bruce Wayne, over the years they’ve pointed me to a lot of the great graphic novels…

Batman: Year One – written by Frank Miller, this story is the essential starting point for the current incarnation of the Dark Knight.  Young handsome socialite Bruce Wayne has returned to his hometown of Gotham after spending many years abroad.  Around the same time, Detective James Gordon transfers into the Gotham Police Department, but is quickly disgusted by the level of corruption, and does what he can to remain one of the city’s good cops.  Starting on opposite sides, by the end the vigilante and the hero cop form an alliance to bring hope back to a hopeless city.  A major, major influence on Batman Begins.

The Long Halloween – widely regarded as ‘Year Two’ in the Batman universe, this old school murder mystery has the Batman trying to track down a mysterious serial killer who’s taking out members of Gotham’s underworld on holidays.  Batman and Det. Gordon are joined on their crusade by young charismatic District Attorney Harvey Dent, but a tragic accident turns their friend into a very dangerous enemy.  Yep, a major influence on The Dark Knight.

Dark Victory – Set a year after the events of the Long Halloween, a new serial killer is on the loose, with all signs pointing toward Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent.  In the early stages of the Batman’s crusade, a tragic accident at the circus leaves a young acrobat orphaned.  Feeling a kinship with the kid, Bruce takes him under his wing, eventually as a partner.  The modern day introduction of the Dynamic Duo.

The Killing Joke – simply stated, the greatest Joker story ever told.  Taking over an amusement park, the Joker decides to use Commissioner Gordon to prove his theory, ‘all it takes is one really bad day to make anyone go insane.’  Through flashback, we get one ‘possible’ origin of the Joker, where he was a struggling comedian who got mixed in with the wrong crowd, lost his wife and child through a freak accident, and just…snapped.  To get to Gordon, he shoots his daughter Barbara (paralyzing her for life), rapes her, then kidnaps Gordon and shows him the pictures of the rape blown up to IMAX size.  Gordon refuses to snap, and when Batman finally catches up to him, the Joker (correctly) theorizes that somewhere in the past it was ‘one really bad day’ that made a grown man dress up like a flying rat.  The Batman tries to talk sense to the Joker, knowing their mano e mano is leading toward a fatal resolution, but the Joker, in a rare moment of clarity, tells him it’s too late for that, before telling a joke that points out (correctly again) that Batman is just as insane, he just happens to be fighting on the right side of the law.  A great story all around, and um, not for the kiddies…

Knightfall – my single favorite Batman story.  I actually prefer the novelization to the year long comic version.  This is the story that introduces the villain Bane, who comes up with one of the best plans ever:  break out all the arch villains in Arkham Asylum, let Batman chase them down, and when he’s exhausted, then make your move.  Even as Batman senses Bane’s plan, he has to push forward and capture all the master criminals.  He’s no match for Bane, who breaks the Batman’s back, leaving him for dead.  Bruce chooses newcomer Jean Paul Valley to take up the cowl; the kid has all the physical attributes, but is much more brutal than Bruce ever was under the cowl.  The ‘new’ Batman defeats Bane, but doesn’t give up the cowl when Bruce makes a full recovery.  Bruce eventually defeats his wayward apprentice of course, who becomes Azrael, an ally in present Batman stories.

Honorable mention goes to the song, The Dark Knight, the final track on Hans Zimmer’s score for the last movie.  Over 15 minutes long, the theme creates the mood for the final scene of the movie, and in my humble opinion, makes great ‘speeding down the 101 at three in the morning’ music for wannabe Caped Crusaders.