Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Film Critics Are Retarded

Okay. I'm about to back up the geek bus a bit today. Just giving you fair warning.

I have a few things I'd like to say to the film industry about Batman. Batman is a psycho. He is a revenge-obsessed sociopath who puts on an outfit meant to scare people and leaps about in the city at nighttime fighting the only people in the city more insane than he is. He's sorta like a tights-wearing White Rabbit, leading us through the Alice-in-Wonderland of Gotham City, where we meet people like the Penguin and the Joker and the Scarecrow, who all use some sort of gas or another. He wins, not because he has superpowers, but because he's BETTER THAN EVERYONE. Batman beats Superman by having kryptonite and not being afraid to use it. He then stands nearby and explains to Superman why he got beaten.

Note to Hollywood: Batman doesn't wear impenetrable battle armor. He doesn't glide about on a magic cape. He doesn't go to Q to get an explanation as to how this unlikely gadgetry works.

Goddamn you, David Goyer. Your Blade: Trinity stupidity got into our Batman movie. I hope you accidentally sit on a seatless bicycle and spin around before the grenade around your neck goes off in a violent fashion... also by accident, of course. Or better yet, I use your own tactics against you: "This here puppy is a nydogen-expanse freeload module, capable of exiblating three-thousand kilos of hexablon extrakagate in less than twelve stixohexins. In layman's terms, this crayon's gonna wax your half of town and everyone in it. Time to color stuff red."

Why can't someone win because they're awesome? Why must every Goyer hero have inexplicable gadgets catered specifically to win the game, no matter what? In Blade vs. Batman, Blade would get anti-black-outfit nuclear-tipped acid darts, and Batman would get weaponized aerosol Daywalker repellant.

Someone in Hollywood has to realize that you can't really make a real comic book movie without making it a comic book movie. Sam Raimi just about had it right: He didn't put Spider-Man in some stupid black latex outfit and roll up some lab-coated punk to go, "See, this baby here is a patented anti-jet-surfboard foam gun. One good shot of this will go back in time and make sure Green Goblin never got born." And he had a canon reason to put Spidey in black. Batman is awesome because he's awesome. He survives gunfights not because his outfit is bulletproof, but because he either dodges bullets or makes the thugs too afraid to shoot right. Christopher Nolan nailed the intimidation aspect extremely well (for the most part), but still, you think, "Well, how awesome can he be? He's reliant on bulletproof outfits." How much more badass would it be if Batman survived by simply being more badass than everyone else?

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. Film critics are retarded.

Film critics for the most part are too good to enjoy a Batman movie. Either they go in expecting a campy thrill ride or they expect the film to just suck. Most of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes that are negative essentially boil down to, "How DARE Nolan make a comic book movie with real emotion and brains behind it?" Others say, "Tim Burton is like, the Batman god, and this movie is nothing like that, so 'Booo!' I say."

Batman Begins is a fine film. I saw it twice, and I loved it both times. It made Batman seem plausible, not as a guy in a suit, but as a man who has the drive and the means to take a stand against criminals. It drove home that Batman isn't the (exceedingly awkward-looking) guy in a black suit, but rather the overarching personality of the grown-up Bruce Wayne. Batman is the sum of all the experiences Bruce Wayne has had since his parents' death, and the outfit is just a public face. In fact, in this particular movie, I felt myself wishing I'd never seen the Batman outift and that Bruce Wayne had continued on with the ninja-mugger-of-death outfit he had when he spoke to Sgt. Gordon the first time.

That's mostly because the new Batman outfit, and the way Bale carried it and spoke in it, were all horrible. not from a fanboy "Wahhhh, I cannot like this because it is not how I would have done it had I the money, power, and talent to have made this movie myself!" standpoint, but from a "Damnit, this badass character looks stupid crouching there like an imp in his goofy pointy mushroom hat and his Harvey-Fierstien-with-a-tracheotomy voice" perspective. There wasn't a single point in the movie in which I felt that Batman out-badassed the scenes in which Christian Bale just bandied about being a ninja. It was like they replaced Bale with a laryngitic leprechaun whenever Batman was wearing the suit. The rest of the film, the roughly 80% in which Bruce Wayne was just Bruce Wayne, Bale was fantastic, charismatic, and vaguely creepy, and most importantly, believable.

The supporting cast was more or less excellent, as well. Michael Caine's Alfred is the Most Awesomest Character Ever in Films, and that includes Zombie Pirate Henchman #2 in Pirates of the Caribbean. Michael Caine showed once more why he has the power to shoot staples from his eyes. Gary Oldman was decidedly un-Gary-Oldmanlike as pre-Commissioner Gordon, underacting and essentially doing a damn fine job being a majorly skilled character actor in an important but understated role. The villains were universally awesome, except one scene in which Scarecrow is standing there in his mask and a suit looking for all the world like a guy in a suit with a scarecrow mask on. The best way to make a villain look dumb is to make his thugs look more badass than he is.

Katie Holmes was neither particularly well written or well acted, and she isn't really hot enough to make one forget Batman's badassedness. Still, she did okay, and her relationship with Bruce Wayne is refreshing in its not-entirely-Hollywood-cheese manner.

The hero of the film, the man who tied the whole thing together, was definitely Mr. Water Company Exposition Guy. Toward the end of the film, when things are getting fairly stupid, this guy shows up and goes, "If that train gets to the center of the city, which is Wayne Tower, the entire city's gonna blow!" Then they cut to something else (I think it was Batman punching a train in the mouth) and then back to this old guy. "Seriously though, man, it sure will suck if that train gets to Wayne Tower and makes the city blow!" The guy and his assistant proceed to do absolutely nothing from then on, but we still include this guy in the cross-cutting during the climax of the film. Batman fighting, train speeding away, Gordon doing something important, train speeding, old guy going "She gonna blow!", back to Batman, to the train, to Gordon, to Batman, to old Water Guy, and so on. And then, when the Day is Saved (spoiler), the Old Water Guy gets a SIGH OF RELIEF ON CAMERA. Like he was there all along. I half expected Batman to show up with the Old Water Guy, shake his hand, and go, "Gotham can't operate without good ol' blue-collar guys like you, sir. Salute!"

Still, not even David Goyer's complete retardedness can ruin Batman Begins. And David Goyer sucks.