Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beginning Late

And so, three years after the rest of the world I finally see Batman Begins, and it turns out I'm extremely impressed. This movie builds the entire Batman mythology over from the beginning and it's easily the most serious, complete and fulfilling version of Batman ever put on screen. I regret that I ended it seeing it on a small TV screen because this is made for a movie screen. It takes bits and pieces from the entire 60 year history of the character and puts them together in an organic fashion. All of the acting is great, especially Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Christian Bale with Katie Holmes the only glaring weak link.

The really exciting part is that it is all just a set up for the second part, The Dark Knight, which is getting insane praise. That setting kicked up 100 degrees with a version of the Joker that everyone is raving about has to be special and I will definitely see that in a theatre as soon as I can.

Watching that movie inspired me to finally read The Batman Chronicles, Volume 1, the first year's worth of Batman stories reprinted in chronological order. It's really interesting to see how the mythos developed. In the very beginning there is no Gotham City. Batman's home is nameless although New York is mentioned in one story. His car is originally red, there is no Alfred or Bat-Signal, Catwoman is originally just a jewel thief called the Cat, and the stories written by Gardner Fox are bizarre even for comics, with vampires who turn into werewolves and a ray that erases a man's face. His origin is not even brought up until his seventh story.

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