“We fall so we can learn.”
That’s the “with great power comes great responsibility” of Batman Begins. Because today, no summer comic-book flick is complete without one thematic high concept school-yard lesson repeated ad-infinitum.
Says director Christopher Nolan, “In the next Batman movie, it’s ‘Don’t run with scissors,’ and after that, ‘Look both ways before crossing.’” At this rate, there are enough childhood lessons to keep Batman fresh until recess!
This movie opens with Batman in a Chinese prison! How did this happen?! Did he try to dry clean and dash?
Fortunately Batman is bailed out by Liam “Qui-Gon” Neeson, the 21st century Mr. Miyagi. Liam seeks a youthful protégé with mad skills and a high tolerance for fortune cookie wisdom. Whether your saber is light or steel, there’s no better movie sensei: “Wax on, wax off! Feel the force of career decisions stemming from a Malibu beach-house mortgage,” instructs Liam.
“I will teach you how to confront your anger,” says Liam. “I will teach you to arrange flowers and prepare a delicious Sautéed Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce.”
“You must journey inwards,” Liam advises. “Begin at the heart of your heart’s hearty heart!”
As he seeks to find himself Batman travels the world as a petty thief to understand the criminal mind. “I don’t know if I understand criminal psychology,” Batman says, “but I sure know where to find Hollywood blockbusters on DVD long before their official release!”
Thanks to a combination of spirituality and jujitsu Batman learns to meditate on ass-kicking and discover divine purpose in a punch to the groin. His goal is to fight injustice, even though up to this point fighting injustice has been limited to empathizing with the rulings of Judge Judy.
“You must pick a flower and carry it to the top of a mountain,” Qui-Gon Liam advises Batman. “Not only will this focus your will and determination, it also teaches the valuable fallback skill of gardening.”
Batman has issues, and who can blame him. After all, when he was a child his parents were slain after the Opera. “At least it salvaged a dull evening,” said Batman.
“To conquer fear you must become fear,” says Liam.
“Huh?” replies Batman.
“…and to conquer acid reflux you must become acid reflux!”
“Breathe in your fears!,” urges Liam. “Suck them like a Dyson vacuum sucks unwanted pet hair!”
To get his job done, Batman needs gadgets. And Q is to Bond as Morgan Freeman is to Double-Oh-Batman. Thus fully equipped, Batman fights Gotham’s scourge of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dirtballs. It’s as if every convict in The Shawshank Redemption was back on the streets – at once!
With his costume complete, Batman adds a touch of black greasepaint to his eye sockets. “I’m a man in makeup with a cape,” says Batman. “Exactly the type criminals loathe and Liza Minnelli loves.”
“Meet my man-servant, Alfred,” Batman says. “Two men living together in a big house. One is subservient and the other likes S&M gear. And we’re both fans of Peter Allen – what are the odds!?”
Now Batman must crush evil before he gets a crush on evil. What kind of plot are the criminals dreaming up? And why did they steal an industrial-sized microwave emitter? “We will warm-up every leftover in Gotham City!” say the evil-doers, laughing diabolically!
Batman’s babe is the not coincidentally everywhere Katie Holmes. If Katie wanted a guy with utilities under his belt, what possessed her to pick Tom Cruise?
Batman’s newest nemesis is the Scarecrow. What kind of God-awful logic led to the casting of Metrosexual man Cillian Murphy? Says Batman: “I’m always intimidated by a pretty boy with groovy glasses who’s barely tall enough to qualify for the Lollipop Guild chain gang.” This guy looks less Scarecrow and more Sheryl Crow.
The Scarecrow puts a potato sack on his head. And with the help of psychotropic dust his foe visualizes maggots wriggling out of the mask. Imagine the kind of crime you can do when you look like maggot food!
Are you still imagining because I am, and I don’t get it either.
Is it just me or is Batman’s new head really tall? Is he Marge Simpson-man? If Batman has an idea, does it need to be hoisted to his brain? Is Christopher Nolan storing sequel ideas in Batman’s belfry along with lunch for the crew?
“What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing?” asks Katie Holmes who was speaking from the heart, even if the heart was plagiarized from English philosopher Edmund Burke.
Granted, Batman Begins is a cut above its genre, but its genre sure doesn’t ask for much.
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