"Would You Like To See My Mask?"

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So, the weekend is almost over and with it ends the first weekend of release for what is sure to be one of the summer’s bigger movies, and certainly one of the biggest salvos in the ongoing superhero-movie wars: Batman Begins.

Overall, I’d guess that the results are a mixed bag for Warner Bros., Batman fans, and DC Comics.

First, the box office results: for the period since its Wednesday opening, the movie brought in $71.1 million in domestic box office, which is probably not as high as anyone would have liked. According to the AP, though, the sequel is going ahead anyway.

Second, the movie itself: it’s probably not as good as it should be. The script is OK, the dialogue unpleasant (the one-liners especially were hideous), the grand scheme a little senseless, the action scenes a little choppy, and the whole thing smacks a bit of the larger arc of the first Spider-Man film. To its detriment, the thing really plays out like a Hollywood summer blockbuster.

Still, there’s a lot good.

Christian Bale is a pretty awesome Bruce Wayne and his Batman is good, too.

Cillian Murphy is absurdly well-cast as the Scarecrow (our title is taken from his best, and most frightening, line in the film) and nails the role to the wall.

The script is pretty right on with Batman’s psychology, as per Frank Miller (via David Fiore, in this case).

And, most importantly for our purposes here, the movie treats Batman as a monster and nearly becomes a horror movie in some areas (“zombies” emerging out of the smoke being the most visually notable instance). Which is a smart, interesting take on the character and his milieu.

It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of this movie and whether it can help general audiences who don’t read the comics forget the awful Batman movies of the 1990s.

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