Batman, as a concept, isn’t very realistic. But in 2005, Christopher Nolan tried to change that with Batman Begins. He gave the character a logical origin story, and even explained where all of his gear comes from. A man, trained in ninjutsu, inspired by the death of his parents, and with billions of dollars at his disposal, takes down criminals with a persona mirroring his greatest fear: Bats.
It’s a little ridiculous, granted. But it’s a nice attempt. And while the whole thing seems unlikely, it’s also plausible.
The first film had a bit of a sci-fi element, with the introduction of the Fear Gas, and some of Batman’s gear. I’m pretty sure memory cloth doesn’t actually exist. But nonetheless these elements didn’t seem too ridiculous, or too far outside the realm of possibility. Unlike the Burton series, with the magic automated homing Batarang.
In fact, you know what this reminds me of? James Bond. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t seen every film, because… fuck that. But every film I saw always had the scene in the MI-6 headquarters, where Q introduces 007 to all his gadgets. These were always great scenes. He not only introduces all the gadgets and show what they do, but often explains how they work. Like the invisible car; it has a camera on one side, and the image is projected on the other. It’s pretty cool, even though we actually know that it wouldn’t work since people have tried that and it didn’t. But it’s still pretty cool.
Anyway, in the new Batman films, Morgan Freeman is basically Batman’s Q. And that’s the greatest thing about these films; The fact that even though the gadgets are a bit fantastic, they still feel real, or at least on the cutting-edge. And it’s all thanks to Morgan Freeman, as he gives James Bat his load out. Only instead of a BMW, he gets a tank.
The sci-fi elements in Batman Begins even carried over into the design of Gotham city. Specifically, the designs of the Narrows, the monorail, and Wayne Tower.
I touched on this last time.
They make me think of the classic German expressionist film, Metropolis. (Admittedly, I still have to see that film.) It gives a bit of a how-the-past-thought-the-future-would-look feel. But this film takes place in the present day (I think), and we don’t design buildings like that. Though I wish we did.
Nonetheless, as amazing as the designs are in Batman Begins. For the sequel, Christopher Nolan decided to scrap all of that. Wayne Tower is redesigned into a generic skyscraper, and the monorail is gone. And I think, because of this, the first film had a much better aesthetic. However, that doesn’t really matter, because the second film had a much better everything else. Continue reading