I cannot explain the level of excitement I had for this movie. Ever since the cartoon, I was a Batman fan. A few years prior to it’s release, I had started buying trade paperbacks at bookstores, mostly only Batman ones. I had everything I could find on Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and whatever else fell under the Bat family. Soon after 2005 started, I took the scary plunge and set foot into my local comic book store. I caught up on some recent story lines and created a pull list of monthly titles. By the time the movie released in June, I was ready.
The Nolan trilogy of Batman films has grossed well over $2 billion. I doubt there’s few in my audience that haven’t seen these movies. The grounded tone of the films, the revitalization of the franchise, star studded cast, themes and depictions of fear, all of these have been well documented and discussed. Rather than throw my pebble in the ocean, let’s see if there’s some neat facts we can talk about.
The first scene filmed was the amazing glacier sparring match between Bruce (Bale) and Ducard (Neeson) in Iceland. About 10 people started on the ice, including the director, camera men, and actors. They would film a take, hear the ice crack, then remove a person. This continued until only a handful remained. After two days, the scene was in the can. The crew returned on the third day and the ice was gone.
The practical effects in the movie are amazing. I prefer when movies utilize this technique rather than depending on computer imagery. I can understand using the latter to a point (the Matrix), but more often then not, the effects look terrible within a year. Usually by the time it comes to DVD. It was the effects, and attention to detail that stuck out in my head while watching. When Batman takes the tumbler for a spin across the roofs of Gotham, I wondered how the structures were able to support the weight. You can see the computer analyzing as he’s driving, scouting ahead for a path that can support the tank. It’s these subtleties that skyrocket the movie into greatness.
I wish I could say everything here was perfect, but it wasn’t. The fight scenes were disorienting, and difficult to watch. I have years of experience watching movies, and I couldn’t tell what was happening. There’s been discussions on the style Batman uses to fight, Keysi, which rose in popularity after the movie. He could have been outright brawling best I could tell.
Wondering why Batman doesn’t move like he’s in a body cast? The suit this time was smartly designed with vertebrae in the neck, allowing Bale to turn his head slightly. This might sound like minor detail, but go watch Burton’s Batmans (Batmens?) where the cowl was a solid piece of rubber. Awkward. Bale said the cowl gave him incredible headaches.
Yes, that’s King Joffrey himself, Jack Gleason, living in the narrows. Little known fact: the character Lucius Fox, eventual defacto head of Wayne Corp, who supplies Bruce with his gear is actually Morgan Freeman. Freeman is best known for being the president in Deep Impact.
Batman Begins completely reinvigorated the Batman franchise, and helped bridge the gap for superheroes films, paving the way for them to become more legitimate. The best aspect of this trilogy is the continual story they set up, standing on their own and working together to tell one tale.
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I have Batman pendant next to my dogtags.