Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, May 28, 2006
      ( 5/28/2006 06:50:00 AM ) Bill S.  


FEAR IS A MAN'S BEST FRIEND – The new summer season of big superhero flicks has commenced – and yours truly has just had a chance to watch Batman Begins on HBO. Chris Nolan's movie engendered some passionate responses when it first came out, but I personally wound up feeling lukewarm toward it. While more heartfelt than Batman & Robin (for this relief, much thanks!), it never earns the mantle of full-blown seriousness that it strives for – in part, I suspect, because Nolan is too elliptical a director to give the material the straight-ahead approach it needs. Liked the acting, in general – Gary Oldman's Jim Gordon, in particular (as in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, the focus is as much on his character as it is Bruce Wayne) – though I never quite accepted Katie Holmes in the movie's universe, and, as much as I love Michael Caine, he never managed to wrest the role of Alfred away from Michael Gough. Bale’s Bruce Wayne was a-okay, though, and I didn't even mind the unconvincing tough guy voice he gives the Caped Crusader. Wayne's still new to the role, after all, so you have to expect a few rough patches. Neither of the movie's Big Bads – Ras al Ghul or Scarecrow – are as theatrically enjoyable as Jack Nicholson's Joker, Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman or even Jim Carrey's Riddler, but casting Liam Neeson as the anti-Yoda was the kind of witty touch that the movie could have used more of.

I'd watch another Nolan-directed Batman movie, but I probably wouldn't run out to the theaters to see it. But since I didn't rush out to the movie-house for this one, that comment probably isn't worth much.
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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