I just watched ‘Batman Begins‘. Apart from certain criminals, a few innocent citizens and Batman himself, another thing that needed to be suspended way up in the air, was my disbelief. Spoilers ahoy.
I totally didn’t get the ‘Tibet prison and warfare training’ part of the show. When you piece it all together, the storyline is such:
Bruce Wayne as a boy, falls into a ‘well’ and discovers a crevice full of bats, which fly at him. He gets a phobia of bats. His parents take him to a scary opera full of singers prancing around like bats. He freaks out, and gets Dad and Mum to leave with him, in the middle of the show.
For some reason, the back door of the opera isn’t as plush as their dress code, and a few paces away from the door, a crazed-looking man robs Wayne senior of his wallet, then attempts to take Mrs Wayne’s pearls, at which point panic ensues and he shoots the parents dead. You can draw parallels with Spider-Man’s story.
Fast forward to a new trial, where the criminal’s trying to shorten his jail sentence due to good behaviour. The adult Bruce Wayne (a gorgeous Christian Bale) is in court, planning to kill him with his father’s old gun. However, someone else does it first, Kennedy style (ie. Nobody’s quite sure who did it or why).
Bruce still can’t find closure, feeling perpetually guilty that his fear of bats led to his parents’ deaths. Suspecting other involvement, he confronts the mafia chief who owns most of Gotham City’s powerful people, and naturally gets beaten up and thrown out of a restaurant.
[At this point I was initially confused as prior to this scene we were shown clips of Bruce mastering Jedi-like warfare in Tibet, so I was wondering how he got beaten up so easily in the restaurant.]
The actual sequence, I gather, was after he got flung out of the restaurant, he goes bonkers, swaps jackets with a homeless bum, and gets himself arrested as a dock worker moving illegal items in China/Tibet. And that’s how the opening scene of the movie begins – him in a Tibetian jail, getting attacked once again.
Then this mysterious white stranger turns up with cryptic advice – tomorrow he will be released from jail, and he must pluck a rare flower and climb to the top of the mountains. He does so, and finds a huge temple with a Dalai-Lama lookalike sitting on a throne. At this point I wondered if I was in the wrong movie because this didn’t feel like Gotham City at all! Anyway these ‘shadow warriors’ take him in, and he is trained well by a white man. However he smells a rat during his initiation, when he’s asked to execute someone – because while he believes in justice, he feels that even murderers should be given a fair trial. He decides to kill everyone and burn the whole temple down instead. Amazingly, both the Lama and the white master are knocked out. He makes the mistake of saving his master’s life…
Next, a plane appears, with his faithful butler Alfred. He returns to Wayne Enterprise’s boardroom after SEVEN years of disappearance, and kicks up a storm as a maverick playboy. However he meets Morgan Freeman, former Director and scientist who shows him – ta-da! – familiar-looking weapons his father commissioned. He borrows and builds up his armour, working in his rediscovered Bat cave. He has through vigorous training, overcome his fear of bats to a great extent.
Meanwhile, his childhood playmate is now a public prosecutor (Katie Holmes) who isn’t tainted by corruption. She looks slightly miscast and too young and sweet, like someone out of Legally Blond. She has a run-in with a weird looking doctor who also looks out of place. His quirky spectacles and funny scarecrow mask don’t help. And his hallucination-inducing gas? That’s the main weapon in this show! He uses it to render the Mafia chief, implicated and imprisoned after a run-in with Batman, totally mad. He’s out of the picture from then on.
Anyway, apart from Alfred and Batman, there are only 4 other good guys in this show – the company scientist, the police cop, the prosecutor and her boss (who gets murdered after he uncovers what the evil Doctor has hidden in a cargo crate). Batman teams up well with the cop, but as Bruce Wayne he gets ambushed in his own home by the Tibetians, who burn it down. After coming to, he gets into his bat-gear and saves the prosecutor’s life, turns the mad gas onto the Doctor himself, drives over rooftops and blows up a good part of Gotham City.
Finally, he gets to kiss the prosecutor, who knows by then that he’s her childhood friend. However, why isn’t she with him in subsequent Batman movies? Because she feels Bruce Wayne is the real mask, and Batman’s her real man, and maybe it isn’t time for them to be together yet until Bruce changes. Strange, because he seems fairly serious in later movies.
I didn’t get how the Tibetians + white master infiltrated the Wayne mansion. That was too easy. How can a billionaire have no security, in a city rife with crime? And who would feel they’re doing a service by killing EVERYONE in Gotham City? This isn’t Sodom and Gomorrah, part two. Anyway. Lots of good action and a great OJ-like car chase in the Batmobile/tank, Mach 1. And I loved Alfred’s sense of humour.