For comic fans, this is up there with Serenity. There were so many sweet little things that were only there for the people who read the comic, and it made me so happy. My dad, however, couldn't follow some parts where things that I already knew from the comic weren't explained.
This is not a spoiler but I have to say it for haruspexy. They played Batman and Gordon so much like Marek and Vittore at points I kept squeaking.
Yeah. From the minute they showed Young Bruce down the well and the bats flying at him, I was like, dude, they're using Miller.
I'm kind of shocked he didn't get a writing credit on it since they used Miller's take on Bruce, and on Gordon.
Let me just start by squeaking again and spewing all my love for Oldman's Gordon. OH MY GOD. I hearted him so much, and the scene with Barbara crying in the background-- all it took to evoke the feeling of year one were a couple choice scenes and shots, and it was so great because he was SUCH a sympathetic character. I don't know how many times I actually audibly squeaked in the movie and made my dad look at me funny because I wanted to give Gordon a hug.
I loved, loved, loved the fact that they gave Caine and Oldman as much as they did to work with. The movie wasn't just about Batman or Bruce. It was about the people who were close to him, and it really built up those relationships so well. Freeman was great, too, and even Katie Holmes was fine in it. I was delighted that they didn't pull stupid romance shit at all. They were childhood friends, and it gave someone to use as a barometer for Bruce's changing persona. It was nice.
I also found it ironic that they gave Liam Neeson the role in this that Lucas SHOULD have given him in Star Wars. Ra's was great, only I am not entirely sure how they were pronouncing his name? THAT'S how you do a teacher-student relationship. And THAT (hear this, Lucas!), is how you do a fucking kid betraying his master and putting on a big black mask and cape, thank you very much! The only thing I'd like to hear from people who didn't know the character already, did you guys feel like it was totally obvious that Neeson was Ra's? It seemed like it should have been, and they didn't execute the switcheroo well.
I also thought that someone finally got Bruce right. Not Batman-- I thought Keaton did a fine job as Batman, but as I was saying to deutscheami, Keaton's Bruce is a rich man's Bruce Wayne. He's an intellectual elitist-- but Bale's got kicked out of Princeton and never finished school. Keaton's Bruce is too pensive and too much of a loner-- he doesn't play at being a billionaire playboy the way the comic book Bruce does. Bale's puts on the quintessential playboy act, and does it beautifully. Bruce is a completely different man than Batman, and you can tell. He pours all of his focused energy into being Batman. Bruce is someone much more low-key. Batman allows Bruce to be an idealist like his father.
Also LOVED the nod to My Man Godfrey, the quintessential runaway millionaire. Kind of ironic, that a string of pearls built Godfrey's empire.
Scarecrow was well-done. I would have loved to see a movie with just Scarecrow, but that movie would have been a psychological thriller and not the Batman movie most people would want to see. I haven't seen the actor who played Crane in much (hahaha but I liked the Ichabod Crane moment with the horse), but he was so little-boy cute that it only added to the character. He seems so innocent when he's Crane, and sort of reminded me of Simon Tam, and I was like, whoa, THAT'S CRANE?
I'm excited about Szasz being in the movie. I'm hoping they bring him back. And, with the killing off the DA, one would hope they're intending to bring in Dent in the next movie. I thought they did the setup well, that was the perfect Batman/Gordon moment, and what I'd love to see is rather than killing the Joker off in one movie, bringing in the Joker in the next film and really building up the nemesis relationship, while relying on more of the lesser-known antagonists, like maybe Szasz or Dent-- or I would love to see the Mad Hatter. Might even be cool to so some Poison Ivy/Black Orchid stuff, if you can get past the Uma Thurman version of Ivy.
I also really, really want to see Vandal in a movie before I die. *Puppy eyes.* Especially since they didn't even mention the Lazarus pits, but I guess you could always bring Ra's back again. It's too bad; I'm not sure you can do two immortal guys in the same movie franchise.
Anyway, I think the choice to use Ra's and Crane in this one was perfect. It helps set up the Arkham issue very nicely, builds up those characters in a story that is more about the development of Batman from Bruce Wayne's psyche-- and of course those are the best villains to use for a film about Bruce's mental state! And the biggest problem with the last Batman franchise was that they ran out of steam when they used up all the best-known villains in the first two movies (and lost Burton and Keaton, of course). You can't top CATWOMAN with Mister Freeze on a good day, you know? And that was definitely a bad day, anyway. I always felt bad for Tommy Lee Jones, who had to play what I thought was a fine Harvey Dent in that horrible, horrible, wretched movie where he kept getting upstaged by Jim Carrey. Not that I normally dislike Jim Carrey, but Schumacher did a shitty job taking over from Burton.
So, anyway, great movie. Great character-building, great relationship-building, and they did a good job of balancing action with more of a look at Bruce's personal life and bits from other people's lives than we really usually get to see anywhere but the comic.