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tales from a fangirl
Rambly, spoilerly thoughts on Batman Begins 
23rd-Jul-2006 01:20 pm
ca
I bought a copy of Batman Begins last week, but until last night I hadn't gotten a chance to really sit down and watch it. It's on the premium channels and I was watching in bits and pieces, so of course I was missing out on the deeper elements.


Hey, I came by my fangirl cred honestly. When something captures my attention, it latches on like a leech and doesn't let go.

I really like this movie, so much. It's, needless to say, very different than the last two Batman movies, and I really think it's heads and shoulders above the first two, which I enjoyed immensley. Whoever wrote this and directed it really respected the graphic novels and did a lot to bring the images to life. The way Batman stands, and crouches, the shots of him sitting on the rooftops of Gotham and especially his rage are all as faithful to the comics as I think it can get.

And he is a creature born of rage, helpless fury at the crime that spawned him. So many small flashbacks during the movie show that Bruce Wayne still lives in the moment of his parents' murder, that he'll always live there. Rachel Dawes was correct - for all intents and purposes Bruce Wayne, the slacker billionaire, is his mask and his true face is the cowled one with rage-filled eyes.

I adore this kind of layered storytelling, especially from a genre that doesn't get a lot of serious attention.

Everything that leads to him in his bat costume, with his neat-o weaponry and cars, is explained in a way that makes perfect sense. He has to be an extreme figure in order to startle the numb populace from their roles as victims, to terrify the criminals that aren't easily scared - to have an avenue for his own anger. I believe in his drive for justice, it burns through his actions, the way he walks and the words he chooses.

I also really loved how human everyone is. No preternaturally strong heros and villains - the tide is easily turned against Batman when Crane shoves his poison in Batman's face, and suddenly he's falling out of the building, on fire and in emotional agony. But later, it's ridiculously easy for Batman to turn the tables on the doctor. He doesn't sweep Rachel up with effortless ease, there's some effort involved. When he falls, it hurts.

From a purely feminine point of view, Batman is deliciously dark and edgy - an alpha male with a damaged, but not broken, moral compass. I love that sometimes, he's not the center of the frame, but off to the side as he swoops in on the bad guys. When he pulls Falcone up through the roof of his car and headbutts him after saying "I'm Batman", then looks at the bum, I shivered.

When that dirty cop he hung upside down twelve stories high swears to God about what he doesn't know, Batman interrupts with a furious "SWEAR TO ME!" before dropping him nearly to the ground below and jerking him back up, I shivered. That may be my favorite line.

Honestly, there's a lot of great scenes, great lines, in this movie.

When Bruce Wayne explores the caves beneath the manor and runs into the bats again, it's an iconic moment, because instead of reacting in fear, which was his first instinct, he raises himself to a standing position, closes his eyes and is still in the middle of all those furiously beating wings.

Batman being born.

I have to say, if the next two movies are this good, I may have a new fandom.

But don't worry, I'll always come home to the Buffyverse at the end of the day.



So I posted a couple of ficlets in the last few days, one here on LJ and one in DW, and I've had some awesome feedback on both, which make me feel very good. Like, Angelus happy. Good thing I'm not under a Gypsy curse, I guess, or I'd be punning in leather pants right about now.

In RL news, it's one hundred-and-thirteen-freaking-degrees outside my front door.
Comments 
23rd-Jul-2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
It's much cooler here today, thank God! We had a sheet of rain hit us yesterday, and I never thought I'd say YAY! at the sight, lolol.

And yup, BB is very dark and intense. I actually enjoyed it, must admit...sorta reminded me how I felt when I watched Blade Runner; gripping but at the same time, depressing environment, if ya get me.

And don't you DARE leave us! *wibble* Don't make me come over there! (being a stowaway on a plane on such a long journey is so not a fun thought *snikker*)

As for the short- thank youthankyouthankyou. it was getting a little like the remotest place on earth recently, what with everyone's Muse upping and going to live it up possibly in a place where there is plenty of 100% proof drink, exotic food and hot gals/guys, lollol

*licks you*
24th-Jul-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Mmmm.

Rain.

I remember rain.

It wasn't so long ago I thought we were gonna float away from all the rain.

Now, I'd give Lindsey's left hand for a good day long downpour, with refreshing, off-the-ocean breezes. I'd fling open all the windows and just breathe.

::shakes off the daydream::

I envy you being in England sometimes - it's such a lush, rain soaked island. I totally loved all the s7 Willow and Giles in England location shots they did.

Er, at least I assumed they were in England.

And dont worry, even though I'm in the grips of a very intense infatuation with Batman Begins right now, my love affair with the Buffyverse and C/A is true blue. I'll never leave.

No problem with the ficlet. I just love having some place to put them besides my LJ. Outsider just came out of nowhere. I was working on Oblivious, clicked on an icon during a break, and boom, it sprung out nearly fully done, like Athena out of Zeus's head. All I had to do was write it down.

If only the other twenty WIPs on my hard drive went that way.

Oh well.

24th-Jul-2006 08:46 am (UTC)
If only the other twenty WIPs on my hard drive went that way.

I don't even want to think about mine *gulp* I really should focuss more instead of avoiding writing by creating yet more sites (anything to get out of it lately, GAH!) My Muse is well and truly absent, and no matter how many times I open Word, it still taunts me.

I'm hoping that my dry spell, writing wise, is soon over. *cries*

As for the wet weather here....well, must admit after around ten+ months of rain a year, it doesn't normally get a yay, lol. Being on the border of Wales too, hich is one damp country, lol, we get more than most.

Wales is so green and everywhere there is foilage... but tis damp a lot of the time.

should have called our island "SoggyLand", lolol.

and ooo, Oblivious *yomps it*

Cannot wait.
24th-Jul-2006 06:08 am (UTC)
I must admit I love all the Batman movies. And that one was no exeption, for exact same reason you've so beautifully layed in your post. Even though Tim Burton's are still my favourite - I love how Batman's edge and fear and rage and all the angst contrasts with all the Big Bad's surreal.. I dunno, easiness? While you do see them as deep (I mean c'mon, Denny De Vito, Jack Nicholson.. They CAN and DO pull out incredible villains), they're just ridiculously not real. But Batman's pain is. It's all that's real in this weird comic series, I guess. It's all about pain of loosing parents. Although I just can't hook up with any of female leads. They were all pretty, and lovely, and somewhat suited him to a point, but in the end Batman is a loner - not because he likes to be or needs to be or can't not be (well, Angel), but because he's so deeply and helplessly head over hills into his angst. Pairing him up with anybody is hopeless. Not gonna work anyway. It's like his issues are not something he will ever be able to work through, they make him who he is, they give him reason and stamina to live and fight.

Sorry, I probably didn't make much sense=( *smiles*
24th-Jul-2006 07:33 am (UTC)
You're making perfect sense, and boy, is this going to be a long post:) -

The first movie was really good - the scenes where he's in that big mansion all by himself except for Alfred really reinforced his aloneness. His isolation. There was that scene where Alfred put soup in front of him and he takes a bite and says it's cold and Alfred replies it's cucumber soup, it's supposed to be cold and Bruce just resumes eating it without missing a beat. For some reason, that stuck out in my mind as showing how disconnected he was.

But I never got a sense of his anger. As much as I really liked the first two movies, and as good as they were at showing his inner broodiness, they never showed his anger.

That's what sets BB apart to me, what makes me watch it several times in one day, not only does it give texture and depth to his history, but it shows the rage which is such a driving force with him. His guttural growl, his brutal way with criminals, his need to overcome injustice.

I'm not very familiar with comic!Batman - growing up, I was always Superman's girl - but it seems to me that the odd ball criminals that always seem to come from, or end up at, Arkam Asylum are outer projections of Bruce Wayne's mental imbalance. I mean, most, if not all, of them are insane, aren't they? Criminally insane and dangerous on a level far removed from Lex Luthor or Solomon Grundy or Brainiac. Murder is real in Gotham, brutal, swift and personal. Just like the crime that took Bruce's parents. The Asylum plays such a large part in the movie, I can't help but wonder what the creators were saying about Bruce Wayne's mental health.

The women...except for Selena Kyle, I sometimes wondered if they were just in the movie to give Batman someone to rescue, or to make sure he wasn't coming off gay. Vickie Vale did little more than scream, the one in the third movie was like a glorified groupie that just happened to know how to talk to Bruce about his problems, and the one in the fourth - wasn't she a model? Arm Candy?

I think you're right, in the end, he's alone because he's too far into his own angst, his pain. There's no room for anything else, much less a healthy relationship. Alfred seems to be the only one who has a normal relationship with him and that might be because he knew him before his parents' murder. Selena Kyle might be the exception. She was as damaged as Bruce, and further gone than him (going off Batman Returns here). I loved their fight scenes (shades of Spike and Buffy), but the end of that movie really did it for me. Taking off his cowl, trying desperately to reach the one person he felt a connection with, to pull her back from the brink, and failing. Ultimately, like Angel, he fails and he's alone because that's who he is.

Wow. I hope I didn't ramble too bad, and I hope it made sense. Meta is sort of beyond me. But this is fun to talk about, and I'm very glad you commented.
24th-Jul-2006 09:42 am (UTC)
Well, I guess you're right, the first movies never showed his rage in particular, I just kinda assumed it's there because that's how you feel when you loose your parents, and that's just there when you fight crime in Gotham. I am not a comic girl at all, ya know, it's just not part of the culture here. I don't even know if you could buy it. Now that I think of it, probably just order on the net.
Anyway, I got this distinct feeling of loneliness and angst from the first movies. And boy does Bruce seem like a loner... And I remember when Alfred was ill and preparing to die, and I just knew Bruce will break, coz his last family member is leaving him too... I guess that is why making movies of further in the future of Batman is hard. I can't imagine him moving past this ultimate death. I mean, yeah he kinda likes Robin, and yeah, this Alicia Silverstone girl is sorta Alfred's replacement, but they are barely friends, and they will never-ever-ever understand and empathize with the drama of being Bruce Wayne slash Batman (I know, a little too sarcastic at this point, I like Batman, and, WTH, I like Buffy as characters, but this whole woe-is-me, while understandable, is sometimes really irritating. Sorry, it in no way diminishes my love for them).
As for Arkam Asylum - you make a really good point here. And it's really striking in the movie as well. I sometimes think Burton *who I tend to think is a creator of the movie series, and, well, a genius* tried to make all of the Batman series a research of human sanity. Matters of sanity and morals are very interwined in this story, and have you noticed (I'm sorry, I have to parallel it with 'Angel' they are so friggin alike) how most of the bad in both stories comes from (or ends up in) 1) main character (or his past to be correct) and 2) an institutionalized evil. Well, in Buffy villains are institutionalized as well, it's some part of a modern class dychotomy, I believe. But it's just so obvious in 'Angel' and 'Batman'. All the villains in the latter are (or supposed to be, or will be) the patients of the Asylum, as one can tell in the first few minutes of seing them. And in 'Angel' they are in one way or another related to W&H.
And the point of it all is that Angel finished alone and in W&H. And I got the feeling the Bruce will end up alone (since Alfred dies) and in Arkam Asylum. Both probably in questionable, if not futile attampts to fight and break the system of evil/crime. Both of them represent chaotic evil/crime, in which being chaotic (vs. systematized) allows them to do good, and probably be good, although both believe their personal good (happinesss, ya know) is as much unattainable, as undeserved. Both fail to save those who are the closest, and those they can relate to. I guess these similarities prove Batman ending up in the same bad place Angel did.

Although Bruce/Selena has interesting dynamics, it's just so bound to end the way it did... Characters that are so much alike and have so many similar issues just can't save each other. Unless one of them grows up and grows beyond those issues, which is just not possible for Selena and Bruce, you're right, it's not what they do, it's just who they are.

Wow. Wowow. I think I'm addicted to discussing stuff with ya!
24th-Jul-2006 08:30 pm (UTC)
I think I'm addicted to discussing stuff with ya!

Back at ya!!

You're very right about Selena and Bruce. Too much alike to save each other. But I loved watching them try. I think it meant something that Bruce tried to claw his way out of his own darkness to try and help her see her way out of hers. But I loved that he failed because he wouldn't have been Bruce if he succeeded. I hate to say it, but it's very Bangel. Two people so alike trying to save each other. If it hadn't snowed in Amends, I don't think Buffy would have been able to save Angel. They were both so caught up in their own individual angst, they weren't listening to each other, weren't even having the same fight, spiraling ever downwards until one of them died.

Alfred, I think, plays Cordelia's role in Bruce life - with some differences obviously. But Cordy anchored Angel to the world (in a way Buffy couldn't), reminded him of the people that needed his help so he didn't drown in his own misery, connected him to day to day life.

Alfred did the same, reminded Bruce of his father's wisdom, reminded him to eat, and worried over him - reminded him of Bruce's Wayne's obligations so that he wouldn't lose himself completely in the Batman. If Alfred weren't there, I think Bruce would spend less time as Bruce and more as Batman. He might lose that moral compass altogether and get totally lost in the darkness. He probably would, like you said, end up in Arkham as Angel ended up in W&H after he lost Cordy and Connor. They were Angel's reasons for fighting the good fight. Without them, he lost his way.

Alfred is Bruce's anchor, so if he died, Bruce would get lost in the fight.

Gotham's criminals are interesting to me because they weren't like Superman's enemies. Lex and the rest were meglomaniacs, trying to rule the world, everything being on a world scale. Joker, Crane, and the rest were very centered on Gotham, about taking that city down. Batman fought them on a one-on-one basis, almost like he was wrestling his own darkness, his own demons. His fight is more desperate. Maybe he's trying to save his own sanity when he fights them.

Huh. I don't know if I'm talking out of my ass at this point. Talking to you about this is fun - I may be making this up in order to prolong the conversation. If you have any more thoughts, I hope you share them with me:)

25th-Jul-2006 06:48 am (UTC) - Well, we can always disscuss one of the thousands of other fandoms out there =))
But I'm still on Batman here=) Just for the heck of it, coz Batman is that amasing, and yeah, talking to you now is very much the most amusing part of my working day.
Selena and Bruce are mostly like Bangel, but you know, if I believed Angel did have a thing for Faith - ever - I'd say it's even more like those two. Coz Faith is not just one-girl-fated-to-live-in-darkness-to-protect-the-world, which he respects and admires in women, as we know. Faith is also a recent criminal, someone who's done something bad and doesn't know which way to go. And I remember their interaction in BtVS season three - he was only capable of helping her then because he wasn't so emotionally attached. Yet here's the thing about Angel - he's almost always emotionally detached (at least on the outside), even with Buffy and with Cordy. It takes something grave - say, a portal to Pylea or a Judge - for him to actually loose it. And so is Bruce. It's just those kind of guys who you know are boiling inside, who are beyond boiling, there's a whole halflife chain reaction going on inside, but try to never show it. I admit it's this kinda sexy. Darkness in the whole tall-dark-mysterious stereotype=) And I admit I so totally buy it=)) Hell, I'd even buy a pack=))
In the Selena/Bruce story I think I loved everything Bruce did. I loved that he tried, no, I loved him coz he tried, and really, that was very heroic of him. To think of it, Bruce is not opening it all up coz he's afraid to loose his mind, his sanity, and I'm sure he realizes how unstable he is and how wrong is the situation in general. But Batman - along with Alfred - are the only things that allow him to stay out of his own skin - and I think he left his own skin standing in the dark alley watching his parents being shot over and over and over again. So of course he'd end up in Arcam, his subcounscious (hell, even his conscious) is in a very bas, sad and lonely place and not being able to get out of it.

25th-Jul-2006 06:48 am (UTC) - and now my comments are too long to post them...
That is partly to be blamed on the others, as BB shows. I mean, he'd feel way better if he just shot the bastard himself - that way the scene in his head would be played differently (or, at least, could be played differently). But he was stopped from doing it - with some very unintelligent reasoning, I must say - and now he's just not capable of getting out of this loop himself. And it's not like anyone ever offered him help. Yeah, he's helped to fight crime, but nobody ever talks to him even. That's the part where Cordy is different from Alfred - she's able to use his emotional dependancy on her (and believe me, she knows he's dependant on her after Doyle is no more, it's not yet romantically or sexually charged all the time, but it's intense like hell nontheless) to get him through many of his fears and psychological loops in his past - like that famous "I'll kill you dead" line - typical Cordy therapy. I remember Alfred trying to reach out to Bruce, but I can only remember Bruce brushing it away. I can't explain why, maybe you understand it? Maybe, Alfred didn't try hard enough, or maybe he's too delicate... Dunno. Just know that it didn't ever work.

What amazes me most about all the villains in the Batman series is that they have fun. A lot of fun, really. They are all ugly and completely nuts, yet they live very merrily. They were left by their parents, each and every one of them was abused and subjected to some kind of a serious childhood trauma, just like Bruce was, yet they always have fun, while Bruce never does. I think it's what draws the line between them. Villains want to rule the city - Bruce doesn't even have to try, he already does. If at one point or another Bruce just has too much and snaps, I believe he'll end up like one of them. Cumpletely nuts and living to his fullest. You noticed how he never lives at all? And every ending of every lovestory in every Batman movie is kinda like Bangel saying goodbye after the Graduation fight. Not that melodramatic, of course, but still=) Bruce is kinda afraid to enjoy whatever good he has in his life, he assosiates it with the madness and the joys of being crazy evil criminal, I guess. But what bugs Bruce the most, I think, is that he wants that city down, in a way. He wants that alley to just not exist anymore, to be able to pretend it just never happend, to cancel the running of this frigging looping programme on his hard drive and finally be free. And what I love about Bruce is that he fights any attempt of others to do what he wants done because it's wrong, because it's against what his parents and Alfred believed in. And he'd rather go down in a fight, being true to the truthes his beloved taught him, and be free in his death finally then let himself succumb to his own twisted dark little boy's reality.
That's another thing that's so Angel. Neither needing nor wanting his shanshue *did I spell it wrong? I always spell it so wrong. My English sucks, but my demon languages suck even more* anymore, not believing he'll be able to go on how Cordy and Connor would have wanted him - needed him to be, he's just going out. Sorta committing suicide, but in a good, socially justifiable way.
I think when Alfred dies, Bruce would do the same thing. And it would be helluva sad, but right, and I'll love it all the more because it's so desperate, intensly sad and so very in the series atmosphere.. *now I'm gonna cry coz all my favourite heroes go down, and also the bad way*

I think most of this rant is just my imagination. But it kinda fits to me. Whaddaya think? *hugs*
26th-Jul-2006 07:05 am (UTC) - Re: and now my comments are too long to post them...
I think...nice imagination.

This is going to be scattered, so I hope you'll bear with me.

You're so right about Faith and Angel - I couldn't imagine two other people (besides the bat and the cat) least qualified to try and save each other. Not early S3 Angel and Faith, anyway.

I always imagined Bruce keeps himself detached because if he doesn't, he'd go down that slippery slope to insanity. Maybe as the Batman, he can let the rage out because he's behind a mask. It gives him permission. And, more viscerally, he gets to target the portion of society that murdered his parents. That's got to be the next best thing to killing Chill himself, I would imagine. If he had killed Chill, do you think it would have been cathartic, or do you think it would have just left him with the grief? The anger gives him a way of channelling his grief, but grief without that righteous anger, where could that go but inward and then maybe he'd self-destruct.

Cordy reaches Angel because she's not afraid to hurt him in order to shock him out of his misery or whatever self-destructive path he's hurtling along. I think Alfred hesitates the way she wouldn't, because he doesn't want to hurt Bruce, because he still sees him as a damaged child, and Bruce knows this? Also, Bruce might brush him off because Alfred is more of a parental figure and we're more apt to listen to our peers than our elders.

The villains in Batman's world are fun because they lack a conscience. Angel said when he was soulless (without conscience) it was freeing. Bruce still has his moral compass, he's not free to feel anything other than loss and grief - and the injustice he must feel, the helplessness of standing there while his parents are gunned down. That's another reason he's so extreme, maybe to make up for the passivity of that moment. I think that endless loop in his head will prevent him from feeling anything else, because it was such a defining moment in his life, THE defining moment.

And Angel not caring enough about his Shanshu, so that he signed it away, I like to think it was because he lost Cordy. He still had Connor, sort of, but he didn't have Cordy, so he goes on this suicidal offensive against the Black Thorne after she dies, and the last time we see him, he's attempting to take on a dragon - presumably a fire breathing dragon. I don't know why, but I like that. Not the idea of him dying so much as the idea that he's committing suicide in the guise of being a hero, because he has nothing left to anchor him.

God! I'm crushing on Batman so much right now, I need to find some more icons!

Anything to add, I'd love to hear it. This is fun!
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