I liked it. It could have used a little trimming in the beginning while expounding Bruce Wayne's Asian backstory. (Midstory? After the fatal childhood robbery, before the adult Bat.) Katie Holmes did not really measure up to the rest of the cast; a baby-face does not automatically qualify one to act as an idealist. And, as one of my companions to the showings said, there were no real iconic moments. But I liked it. And better than the much vaunted Tim Burton versions. Those were dark, but also mildly cartoonish--their injected comic relief was too visual, the darkness constantly broken up by wackiness. People might accuse this Batman of being too serious--indeed, one of his villains does just that--but the pitter patter with Michael Caine's Alfred and Morgan Freeman's Lucius contradicts that. This Bruce Wayne is goofily bemused at what he has to do to make Batman, but as Batman his humor is all the dreadful glee of hunting.
I purposefully lowered my expectations ahead of time because I knew they'd been raised too high. Besides the hype and the wonderful posters everywhere, reading that director Christopher Nolan's favorite comic-book movie is my beloved Superman II might have raised the bar too high for most anyone director. Again, excepting Holmes, this lived up to the tradition of a great ensemble cast. Analyzing the lack of iconic moments, the main feature in which it doesn't measure up to Superman I & II, I have to guess that the main fault is choppy editing during the action sequences. Nolan really emphasized staccato fear and the terror of knowing something awful is happening in the dark. Why bats, Alfred wants to know? "Bats frighten me. I want my enemies to share my dread." The terror of being swarmed by bats is grounded in the partial blindness caused by your own fear and their flying; their wings chopping up your visual field much like rapid cuts and a quickly moving camera. That gave the film lots of atmosphere, but not enough pullback, and I hope that in the next one (there better be a next one!) he gives his Bat a little more room to swoop in.
Ahem, bats are generally nice creatures, but I couldn't help but be somewhat more frightened because of this
. Be careful people! If there's any chance you've been bitten by a bat, get attention immediately.