Rapid Review: Batman Begins (2005)

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Batman Begins Poster

“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!”
– Scarecrow

SYNOPSIS: After training with his mentor, Batman begins his war on crime to free the crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption that the Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it. – via IMDB

batmanbatman begins lighter

GRADE 9The movie was simply amazing, with great cinematography as well as a brilliant score. This is one of my favourite origin stories, if not my most favourite. I know they have been done to death, but let’s face it, not quite the way that Nolan has done it. The man is a master, and he revolutionized the way we perceived the Batman films after they were butchered by Joel Schumacher. Nolan’s casting choices were dead on. Michael Caine is a perfect Alfred and Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon is a solid, trusty character. Christian Bale is my favourite Batman because he manages to pull of both Bruce Wayne and the caped crusader, which is something a lot of actors fail to do. ore often than not in superhero movies the actor can either pull off his identity or the alter ego, but so few times are they a success at both. He is pitted against the awesome Scarecrow, and Cillian Murphy was freaking perfect here, he plays the role so well. You cannot forget about Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul because he was truly a formidable enemy to have. Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox is a character that I thoroughly enjoy. The confused love story between Bruce and Rachel is very sad, too. Never overplayed, never not there. I think that the humour that is put forth in this movie is exactly what it has to be: not enough to make it a comedy, but not so greatly lacking that there is nothing but insurmountable drama. The humour that is laced throughout this is hilarious and gets me giggling good and proper, which is fun. The plot is put together well, and manages to stand on its own, and is definitely more than your average hollow action flick. If you have not watched it, where have you been?! For those who have watched it, watch it again and again! A Christopher Nolan Batman marathon is worth it each and every time. The length of the movie was just right, with plenty time to tell us Bruce’s story as well as take us through the motions of becoming the Batman. It did not feel long or dragged out anywhere, so well done! There is so much great stuff going on for this movie, from the awesome score from Hans Zimmer, to the great performances from the cast, a fantastic story and plenty action that looked fantastic… you can’t help but love this movie!

Sporadic Scene: Batman Begins (2005) – The Doctor Isn’t In

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Obviously I am a huge fan of Chritopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. This was just one of those priceless scenes. I thought that casting Cillian Murphy as Dr Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow was absolutely ingenious – he was everything the role needed to be. However, to see the cocky doctor doused with his own fear gas and terrified beyond his wits was something to see, and his reply was just perfect.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).

Review: The Avengers (2012) – Overhyped and underwhelming

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The following statement will be deemed heresy by the firm believers in the franchise, the fans and my friends: I was seriously underwhelmed by The Avengers.

I heard about it for months. It was everywhere. I did not see it in theatre, although many of my friends did and went back repeatedly. I was not that desperate to see it, I would wait for the DVD release, after all, The Dark Knight Rises was my extreme freak-out superhero movie for the year.

Just before the release of The Avengers, I rewatched all the movies pertaining to what would become the crime fighting squad. I own both Iron Man movies (big time Robert Downey, Jr junkie, I love his work), and started with them. I progressed to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was duly impressed (aside from the fact that I am still trying to reconcile Chris Evans being both Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers – I sort of expected to hear “flame on” come up somewhere) with the role that Chris Evans portrayed. He was what I would have expected for a Captain America, and he aced it. It was believable. The movie was entertaining. Then there was Thor. I really like Norse mythology, so this promised to be a treat. Not really. It was ok.

Hulk out

Superhero movies so often fall short of the mark. They are alright to a point, and sometimes are not even semi-decent. Of all the movies, I skipped The Hulk. I watched the Eric Bana one when it was released, and I was not thrilled about it, but I refuse to subject myself to watching Edward Norton do it (I respect him far too much to watch the flawed logic of a brilliant scientist go daft when he hulks out). My friends keep telling me it is not so bad, and a friend’s father, who is big into his comic books and especially the Hulk, said that Edward Norton was definitely worth seeing in that film. Aside from that, I was now ready for The Avengers.

THE PLOT (very roughly):

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), S.H.I.E.L.D. director, gathers a group of crime fighters together when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his followers decide to invade Earth. Loki has teamed up with the Chitauri Army, and have stolen the Tesseract to open portals to Earth. Loki starts up with some mind control of a crazy different level, and S.H.I.E.L.D. soon realizes that the Avengers might be the only way to survive it all.

Thor and CoulsonThe Avengers Initiative is back on track, and Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets with the rest of the freshly assembled team: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is the Hulk, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is Captain America, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) is Black Widow, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is Hawkeye. They meet to stop his stepbrother’s insane plans.

Despite all their differences and separate ways of dealing with things, the group needs to band together to stop Thor’s stepbrother Loki from taking over the world. They would be doomed should it happen. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is slightly overwhelmed to have the entire team together, as he is fans of most of theirs. Loki is intent on destroying Earth in the most public and humiliating way – to have the people become his slaves, and though Nick Fury has gathered them all together, the Avengers project seems dead in the water before takeoff has even been established.

Iron Man and Captain America

When the ages just don’t correspond

Loki is brought into custody, and plans go awry when Thor is convinced that he can reason with his brother, and talk him out of the disaster he is setting them all up for. Many things would (naturally) go wrong, nothing can be as simple as someone wanting to take over Earth and just quickly apprehending the traitor. A death in the unit brings the members closer, and gives them a common goal to fight for. Together they work on their strong points and try to work out the bad points, leading them to becoming a great unit of heroes.

Thor and Captain America the Avengers

Fighting for Earth

Earth has long since needed saviours such as the Avengers, but now is the time. Loki holds the key to closing the portal to ensure his defeat: his staff. Manhattan is in danger of being permanently eradicated due to Loki’s presence within it. Will the Avengers be able to stand up to him, to defeat him without bloodshed, and restore  Earth back to its calm and peaceful ways?

THE VERDICT:

Overall, I give it a 6.5/10. You know, I got home, all excited. It was time. I was going to have my mind blown. I was going to be super impressed. I was not. I was not pulled into the movie to that extreme at all. The cast was solid and phenomenal, the story was pretty much non-existent, and there were inexplicable inconsistencies with the story lines. The humour was, however, entertaining (at times, when it was not too childish), the effects were good, but that was it. It is not a dreadful movie, not by a long shot, but I cannot comprehend why people went so ballistic about it. I did, however, think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk I have ever really seen on film, so well done. I don’t think I would have been as disappointed had it not been called the movie of the decade, best thing this year, blah blah blah. It was overplayed, that is all there really is to say about it. I thought The Dark Knight Rises was way better, and not just because I am a fan, but because it was way more consistent.

Recently impressive films

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This time I have compiled a list of movies that have impressed me as of late, unlike the previous list of disappointments from last week. These are not reviews, just what I felt about the films.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

I did not just add The Dark Knight Rises to this list because I vastly enjoyed the last two installments offered by Christopher Nolan into a monstrosity of a film conglomerate, but because he again brought so much to the table with this installment, and I was not disappointed. I did not fear as so many did to be let down, as Nolan is truly an awe-inspiring director. Again, he had the villain/hero ratio down perfectly. As much as you want Batman to succeed, so you want to see what Bane has up his sleeve, and what shall become of Gotham should a hero not rise?

I was completely blown away with the manner in which Tom Hardy brought Bane to life on screen for the world to see. I have to give him immense credit for how, although the majority of his face is obscured for the duration of the movie, you felt every emotion he had to offer. I also appreciate how Christopher Nolan gave Bane existence that was closer to what it should have been (albeit not his entirely correct back story), but he was no longer Ivy’s bitch.

The overall story was immensely engrossing, and entertaining. A stellar cast that works so tightly and seamlessly you get drawn in altogether. I thoroughly enjoyed having the Scarecrow featured in this film as judge, jury and executioner, but I saw that a lot of the audience that did not know the Batman story or the past movie characters too well, totally missed this little gem.

I feel that this was a tremendous way to close what I feel was one of the best film trilogies since The Lord of the Rings. It was excellent. It drew all the subplots together, concluded Bruce Wayne’s story so well, and gave the audience what it wanted. I personally felt no bitterness about the finale of this three part story, I only felt slightly saddened that this was the end. I mean, this is how you bring a superhero to life, after all. This was the most successful rendition I have ever seen of bringing a comic to screen. Christian Bale is Batman, there is no denying that, but I am glad the Christopher Nolan had the good sense to end it on his own terms, instead of it dragging out and having it fall apart at the seams.

50/50 (2011)

Then there was 50/50. I really feel this movie should have gotten far more acclaim than it actually did.

50/50 is a story about a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) of 27 being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer, with a survival chance of only 50%. The movie takes us through the understanding of the life of a cancer patient, the friendships that are developed, the effect that cancer has on friends and families as well as how the process of cancer works. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I could laugh, get angry, get sad, get hopeful, feel despondency, and so I highly recommend this movie to be watched.

The humour was excellent, looking at dealing with things in life in a different manner, how people react to certain social events and how people sometimes use the most flawed reasoning. The film greatly balanced the humour and more somber side of the movie, having the mix perfectly right. You never get the feeling of mockery, scorn or ridicule off of this movie, and it is that that makes it work. It is heartfelt, and warming. This is not what I anticipated when I got ready for this movie, at all. I was slightly worried I would take offence of something like cancer being made fun of. That was definitely not the case.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Then.. The Hunger Games. I have mentioned in a previous blog that I was astounded that they conveyed a first person narrative so effectively to screen. The cast was strong and solid, and I think having Suzanne Collins on board for the screenplay must have made an insanely large positive contribution to the film.

I enjoyed how you could follow the story, and get wrapped up in it. The betrayal, anger and suffering of the people was brought predominantly well to the screen, and it was mesmerizing to watch. The cast was amazing, slipping into the roles ever so easily. I still find Katniss difficult to identify with at the best of times for varying reasons (not so much from this movie as from the books, however). Do not chalk this up as a children’s film and move on, as it really is so much more that that. It bears the story of hope and rising up against a regime of unfairness and oppression, and is truly worth the watch.

I am holding out for Catching Fire, which is due next year. I am sure that if they can keep the next two movies in the same line as The Hunger Games, they will have a remarkable trilogy. So let us hope for the best and see where this goes. 🙂

Are there any films that you can recommend that I see?