Last night’s viewing festivities consisted of the firing up for the first time of the blu-ray copies of Christopher Nolan‘s two Batman flicks, Batman Begins followed by The Dark Knight. I hadn’t watched either movie in some time, though lately, with Sid on a big Batman kick, I’ve read three or four graphic novels. Even watched the recent animated DVD, Batman: Year One based on the graphic novel of the same name.. Batman has been one of my favorite characters since I was just a kid, and I’m with the crowd that thanks Nolan for rescuing the movie franchise after its crash and burn in the wake of the four movies that came out in the 90s. With a third installment, The Dark Knight Rises, said to be Nolan’s final one, coming out this summer, watching these flicks served as a great warm-up for stoking my eagerness for it to hit the screen.
What these movies did most is prove that superhero movies can be more than just campy nonsense. Both films are almost as much cop dramas as they are action flicks. Christian Bale makes an excellent Batman; he’s even better as Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine? Gary freakin’ Oldman? Hell, the cast is excellent across the board (even the “leading lady” change between movies doesn’t bother me much). Gotham City itself is a great character. And Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight — outstanding. I also love the soundtracks. They both run a little long (maybe too long — the final acts of both drag a bit) but I didn’t get bored.
I wasn’t a fan of Nolan’s most recent non-Batman movie, Inception, but I’ll forever be a fan just for setting a high bar for comic book movies via these Batman flicks. Some people bitch about how many comic characters are showing up in theaters. As long as they’re good, I say keep ’em coming.