Keaton's and Bale's costumes have been radically altered from the Giordano/Aparo
halcyon days of the 70s comicbooks. The comicbook costume was gray with dark blue
cape and yellow snatches. Keaton's and Bale's costumes are "none more black."
For them to get any blacker, they'd have to be wearing Djimon Hounsou.
Batman's cowl was seen pulled back many times in the comics, almost like a cloth
hood, the movie batsuits make this cowl a kevlar and rubber neck-brace. Not even
George Clooney could do his esteemed head-waggling in this prison.
we hardly see Bale's full batsuit after a few initial glimpses, we are made privy
to its wondrous utility, with Lucius Fox's descriptions of its gadgetry. Keaton's
suit kicked it Old School, though exhibited constricting flaws (i.e. how scary
can a dark night avenger be if he has to turn his whole body sideways just to
look at the right side of his dashboard?).
actors' fight scenes in the suit are defined by the directors who orchestrated
the camerawork. Keaton's fights seem stilted, due to his immobility in the rubber
suit, whilst Bale is given hard closeups to alleviate this visual problem. Thankfully,
neither of them wear their undies over their pantyhose.
Keaton's suit may be all-black (except for the chest logo), but Bale's is, like
the title of a Chris Rock feature, Bigger And Blacker.
down some of that car-oil, think of the nastiest clam chowder you've ever eaten,
ingest as much root beer as possible and belch until you're hoarse - maybe then
you'll have the necessary gravel in your throat to intone: "I'm Batman!"
with enough feral portent to make your enemies' pants turn brown.
Keaton and Bale voice this ominous locution in answer to, "What ARE you?"
Keaton answers a mugger whilst dangling him off a rooftop; Bale answers a crime
boss after dragging him out of a car sunroof. Keaton's mugger scene was powerful
- because it was the first time we'd been exposed to the power of that statement
(after having survived through Adam West's comically melodramatic fiendish deliveries)
- but Bale's crime boss scene, in addition to weighing in with a more potent criminal,
was better staged.
characteristic lip structure actually spawned similar-looking merchandise and
artwork in its wake. Though it took getting used to, his visage grew very impressive
behind the cowl.
becomes indistinguishable behind the mask and though this is probably what a real-life
incognito vigilante crimefighter would aspire towards, it's hell on product recognition.
the aficionados, it will always be Keaton's famously-styled Batmobile.
But Bale's design team boldly stepped out past the fringe and came back
with a "batmobile" hewn from the hides of a Hummer and an F-14 Tomcat.
My personal choice is to bow to the technology.
Pat Hingle was Keaton's Commissioner Gordon.
The budget and star power
of Bale's film catapults his pre-commissioner Jim Gordon into the upper reaches
of the breathable atmosphere. Dare we speaketh his name in vain? Gary Oldman.
much as Bale sympathetically gave us a spectrum of human emotions for his Master
Bruce, Keaton nailed that billionaire's absent-minded contempt for the lesser
We dig it when rich people treat us like byoches.
all rock bands know,
the Opener is the throat-grabber or the deal-breaker. Opening sequences for both
movies are remarkably ingenious.
opening features the camera slowly moving through a labyrinth which is revealed
to be a three-dimensional interior of the bat-logo.
opening features hordes of bats against an ochre sunset, their swarming bodies
coalescing to teasingly reveal, almost imperceptibly, the bat-logo.
the emotive appeal of both openings, the organic, blood-furred, bat-winged opening
evokes a more feral intent than the singular gloom of the labyrinth. The technical
term would be, "it's more icky."
Michael Gough makes for a respectable, typecast Alfred Pennyworth, liege to the
Wayne Foundation, but there are two words to describe Bale's Alfred: Michael.
And I bloody well mean that.
insipid Katie Holmes versus Keaton's smokin' Kim Basinger?! |
possesses about as much acting talent as Kim Basinger's ham sandwich. Need we
even mention that Basinger is still regarded as one of the finest specimens of
regal womanhood walking this green planet on those luscious, luscious legs, whilst
Holmes is defining herself by the cult-worshipping douchbag she is dating.
Bale's actual batcave houses real bats and a subterranean waterfall; by movie's
end, he has still not raised the dank fixer-upper to the level of hi-tech sanctuary
that we have grown to take for granted.
it yet does not resemble the rising platforms and cyberlight élan of a
KISS concert (like Clooney's Batcave), Keaton's cave has found the perfect balance
between a computerized crime-fighting headquarters and Chick-Magnet.
its razor-sharp cutting surfaces and pointy jagged steel reflects a harder-edged,
streetwise, more lethal dark knight.
Keaton's is refined classicism. I'm
a sucker for the classics.
Gotham was gothic. Moody and foreboding, perfect for a moody and foreboding
schizo vigilante to prowl the rooftops - and for Batman too.
computer graphics have definitely worked in Bale's favor here, with the New Gotham
retaining its seedy underbelly, veiled beneath tiers of monorail trackway, but
made apparent through the course of the film.
essence, Bale's city's dichotomy marries it conceptually with the Bat Man's dichotomous
psychosis more so than Keaton's bleak cityscape.
Bale's film, though
Liam Neeson is fantastically complex and duplicitous; though effete Cillian Murphy's
Scarecrow was a frightful oddity; though Tom Wilkinson's crime boss was necessarily
insouciant about his power over life and death, Keaton's film had
Nicholson is cemented as the grandest Batman villain when Jerry Hall says to him,
"You look fine." And he replies, "I didn't ask
Danny Elfman score and Prince music had a lot going for it - hell, it's DANNY
ELFMAN and PRINCE! Though the score is darkly rich and perfectly suits the nocturnal
para-detective, the Prince songs lend nothing positive to the production, and
in some cases, fall incongruously flat, as in the art gallery scenes and the air-balloon
Hans Zimmer score enriches the lustrous quality of what came before and is headily
breathtaking. The swells and swoons draw your breath from your lungs, make your
temples throb with the expectation of Legend in the making, and induce one to
beating of breasts in fervor. Anyone's breasts.
makes a better Batman in toto?
comes to the Dark Knight by way of clowning and dramatic Everyman roles (Beetlejuice,
The Dream Team, Clean And Sober), whilst Bale's roster includes roles which
seem perfectly congruent with the dark avenger he is portraying (American Psycho,
Keaton's Batman came to us in 1989. If you were
young enough to be at that magical age when it was not egregiously fey to don
a towel and swish about the garden as Superman, rose-colored memories of that
period will forever residue your recollection of this movie.
old enough to be inured to rose colored memories (yet still occasionally donning
a towel and swishing about the garden as Superman whenever I feel like it), I
place Bale as the more "realistically realized" Batman. Maybe that's
the wrong criteria for a fantasy character in the first place, and maybe the more unrealistic should properly be deemed the "better" of the bunch
who is truly qualified to judge the Better Batman - except maybe Superman? And
he won't return my calls.
|BATMAN Movie Reviews by Poffy The Cucumber: