hopscotchee: christian bale score: 65 rating: pg-13 time: 140 minutes
NINJA UNDASTANDS best outta all of us that a sticky trail of controversy consistently follows the batman films wherever they go!! like, til this day people still argue over who's the worst batman (not even the best - ouch) and what movie's superior. and because of that, we want to clarify up front that this isn't another one of those arguments. deciding to solely hopscotch through this trilogy for fun, you don't have to worry about reading a 'christian bale sucks' or 'christopher nolan's batman trilogy stinks' review, cuz that just ain't us. that said, we can all agree that batman is the worst superhero and move on ;)
to (batman) begin, the first thing we noticed going into the first 140 minutes of this trilogy was that rather than going along with the typical '15 minute set-up' for expositions, writers christopher nolan and david s. goyer chose to span bruce wayne's evolving backstory across nearly four times the needed amount and landed on a 42 minute long-butt exposition before getting into any of the action or plot. now, whether it could've been longer is to be debated. for all we know, the editor cut the heck outta that beginning, but, still, this falls on the script (and not in a 'why do we fall' kinda way). and even though it is a good exposition nonetheless, the time-frame it takes up squashes the pacing of the story which puts a viewer's engagement on turtle-mobile speed rather than bat-mobile speed.
but it was still a team effort to receive a score of 65, so the next hiccup that we caught belonged to the realm of shot comp. incredibly small, but leaving a big impact, the excessive inclusion of close ups, made scenes difficult to take in without an establishing shot (wide shot). in such moments like (spoiler) when bruce wayne stalks rachel dawes (good on ya dude) after returning to gotham, the exclusive use of close ups created some confusion for the audience by having no shot to see where bruce was in relation to rachel. if we had a wide shot, we could've understood that bruce was lurking outside and staring at ms. dawes, who was inside, but because we didn't get this, the two shots felt unrelated as if they were jump cuts. and, unfortunately, it didn't just pertain to that scene, which ultimately led us to take a few points off.
now, however, funny enough, the good came out of the bad. yes, we be talking bout our irish friend!! no doubt, cillian killed it!! (spoiler) shocking us all with that plot twist, his switch from corrupt doctor to poisonous baddy as the scarecrow is just a wow!! snapping completely, he really took his character arcs and used them to flex his acting abilities to shine some starlight in this darkly lit film.
just as wow wow, the sets were big and baller and so batman!! coming home with the comic feel, the clean wayne industry side of gotham felt ironically cohesive with the grit and gloom of the unpolished side of gotham, although they we so drastically different from each other. and as much as this holds true to batman begins, just in general, elaborate sets and big productions in movies are SUCH a christopher nolan staple. like - it's so him!! basically to put it, the sets was great, but to no surprise.
now, at the end of the day, we're not trying to convince you of our opinions because film is art, and just like art, everything's subjective!! more importantly, we especially know that when it comes to batman, everyone has their own opinion. so, whether we changed yours today or not, that is up to you, but it wasn't our intent. we appreciate the read regardless.
-- thanks, christian xo