Batman Begins

When the Tim Burton/Jack Nicholson/Michael Keaton Batman came out I was quoted in The Press Democrat saying something like, “It’s the best movie they could have made about a guy who dresses up as a bat and fights crime.” (I happened to be walking out of the theatre when there was a reporter looking for a quote.)

With the new Batman Begins I’d say they’ve now made a better movie about a guy who dresses up as bat and fights crime.

Of course, it’s a matter of how much you care about Batman. And which version you care about. I didn’t read Batman comics as a kid. I was mainly a Marvel zombie. I knew of Batman from the Adam West/Burt Ward TV series, which I liked. As a kid I thought it was cool, more or less. The heroes and villains wore colorful outfits and got into fist fights. I hadn’t a clue what camp was. Camp isn’t something a kid gets. The first Batman comics I bought were the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers run in Detective Comics during the time when DC was apparently seriously considering cancelling the series. Those comics are among the comics I wanted to keep when it came to sorting out my collection last summer.

You’ll find plenty of folks on the net who can tell you what was great and what was not about BB. I thought it was fun because it paid attention the history of the character and crafted a story that worked without changing that history too much. It’s a depiction of Batman that’s closer to the comics than any of the previous films.

3 thoughts on “Batman Begins

  1. So Batman was trained by a shadowy vigilante army? I admit I know the B-guy mainly from the B-movies (& B-TV) but I don’t remember having heard about him owing his B ideas to a secretive fascist guru. I don’t recall that from Batman: Year One. BYO & Dark Knight are about the extent of my B-guy comic reading.

  2. No – although it’s long been canon that Wayne spent his pre-Bats years travelling the world, learning from Europe’s greatest detectives, Asia’s greatest martial artists etc. So it’s not too much of a stretch. Actually, I’ve always imagined the Batman version of Smallville as a kind of contemporary, sulkier version of Young Indiana Jones.

    And there may even be some obscure 70s story where Wayne met Ras ah’ Neeson during this period as well, although that would of course be pre-Crisis continuity…

  3. Surprisingly there have been very few stories (that I’m aware of) featuring Bruce Wayne’s training years, the years he spent learning the skills he uses as Batman. That period of time is a big blank. Having him trained by al Ghul is an addition, a tying the villain to the hero’s origin hollywood sort of thing, but it makes better sense than making the Joker be the guy who shot his parents. al Ghul is, in the comics, one of those “noble” villains – he does what he does not for greed but because he thinks he’s got a higher calling, a higher calling that might require killing millions of people.

    Love the “Before Batman” series idea.

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