Tag Archives: david mazzucchelli

Batman Begins (2005)

I saw this film on the big screen for the first time last night at the trilogy IMAX screening, and I was blown away. Just reinforces my belief that films were meant to be seen on the big screen in a theater.

What fascinates me about Batman – and what is shown so well in this film – is that he’s a human like you and me, albeit a wealthy one. Like us, he’s driven by his emotions, which stem from the loss of his parents and his desire to destroy injustice. Drawing heavily from Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One (the definitive origin story of the character; my review), Batman Begins introduces us to a man who doesn’t become Batman to get revenge for his parents’ deaths but rather a man who becomes Batman to create a world where a young Bruce Wayne wouldn’t have been a victim.

The idea of taking your fear, mastering it, and using that fear to manipulate your enemies is an incredible notion (also taken from Batman: Year One), and it’s an interesting way to present the character of Batman. It’s a simple but extraordinary explanation for Bruce’s reasoning for using a bat as his symbol of justice and incorruptibility.

Christian Bale makes a great Batman. We never see an emotional side to him in this film, but we do see a defining change of character: we start off with a Bruce Wayne who brings a gun to the trial of the man who killed his parents, set for revenge, to the Bruce Wayne who learns to fight and survive in the criminal underworld, to the Bruce Wayne who trains with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows, and finally to the Bruce Wayne who doubles as masked crusader and millionaire playboy.

I don’t really have too much to say about this film; there’s nothing in particular that I dislike about it, and any flaws it does have don’t matter because the film is a setup for The Dark Knight…and we all know how that turned out. Christopher Nolan is one of those rare directors who is able to so clearly create a world so separate from yet so connected with our own, with fantastic, believable characters who we are able to identify with on some personal level, even a character like Batman. This film redefined what a “superhero movie” was capable of being, setting the foundation for several more realistic reboots of classic comic characters and for two more films starring our Dark Knight.

-Chad

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG-13 – for intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements

P.S. – Read my review of this film’s score, composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, here!


Batman: Year One (1987) – Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli

Last week, I decided to order a few graphic novels online, and, supposedly being the best Batman comic ever written, Batman: Year One was at the top of my list, along with The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke (don’t worry; The Dark Knight Returns is also on my list!). They all arrived in the mail today, and Year One was the first I read.

Holy awesome, Batman! I’ve only read a few comics in my day, and none of them were Batman; this blew them all out of the water. Though I really enjoyed the artwork, it was the story that really amazed me. It was well-written and did something that I didn’t expect from a Batman comic: it focused more on Jim Gordon than Batman. You see, the “Year One” in the title refers not only to Bruce Wayne’s first year in the suit but Jim Gordon’s first year on the Gotham police force as well, and he’s really the focus of the story.

It’s quite clear to see that Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer’s screenplay for Batman Begins drew heavily from this graphic novel, borrowing elements like Batman’s reason to dress like a bat, the inner corruption of the Gotham PD, and other like elements. Lieutenant Fox (as he is at this point in time) is tough and well-liked by the community but not by his co-workers, adding on stress to an already stressful job. We see the effect of the death of Batman’s parents in his childhood and how it affects him as an adult, and we see that, even early on, Batman does whatever he can to stop crime without killing.

The emphasis of the story is summed up at the start of one of the chapters, when it refers to Gotham as a city that “likes being dirty”, and it’s the job of Gordon, a clean cop in a dirty PD, and Batman, a caped crusader who instills fear in the criminals of Gotham, to wipe out crime and make the city a place that no longer needs a Batman.

The art is fantastic, the story is grounded and real, and it is the definitive origin story of Gotham’s Dark Knight. This is a great place for anyone to get started in Batman comics.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

-Chad