Batman begun

Since I might be throwin' in some mild spoilers here, I'll put the majority of the post in a comment below for those five or six people in the world who want to see the movie but haven't yet. In the meantime, I'll be padding this post out with some linguistic Batman-related stuff.

First, an excerpt from Batman's self-introduction in the special manga Batman story by ASAMIYA Kia (麻宮 騎亜), Batman: Child of Dreams:

黒い闇が僕を変える / The black darkness changes me:
闇が街の闇を狩るのだ / darkness hunts [in] the city's darkness.
僕は長い間 / For a long time, I
闇と一緒に生きてきた / lived as one with the darkness...
I hope you caught all that stuff about darkness, because he's not going to repeat it. And what's Batman doing using boku?!

Anyway, in this story, Batman actually goes to Tokyo to fight an evil female version of himself that he later marries to stop drug dealers or something. Although he does meet up with a Japanese version of Catwoman. It's kind of complicated. The only sad thing is that since Batman's eyes are only visible as glowing slits anyway, he's not really "manga" enough to bother scanning. Just picture Batman with a bigger, pointier nose ('cause that's Asamiya's thing), speaking Japanese, and you'll be about there. (On the other hand, there are plenty of distinctly Japanese fanservice Catwoman poses, but you don't wanna see that.)

Point 2: An awful lot of Japanese folks grew up thinking that Battoman's name meant "Bad Man", not "Bat Man". This is because Japanese doesn't like consonants to be both geminated and voiced, and tends to devoice them. Thus, most people say bakku instead of baggu for "bag", for example. This means that batto is a quite plausible Japanesification of "bad", and since more people know the word "bad" than "bat" (in the animal sense), and Batman looks, well, bad...

Popularity factor: 11


Two rather spoilery things:

1) That train scene right at the end? Where it crashes and turns sideways? Made me and apparently a lot of people think of the hideous JR West train wreck that happened a few weeks ago. In fact, the theatre even had a sign posted by the entrance: "This movie contains a possibly disturbing train scene; naturally, it was filmed before the JR West crash and is intended as entertainment. Please do not become unduly upset" was the thrust.

2) I guess this is probably old news in the comics world, but it was kind of neat to see how exactly opposite the Batman movie is the Spiderman movie/s. In particular, the role of the city and its inhabitants. In Spiderman, most people are basically good at heart and it's just the supervillains (who are themselves just insane or misguided) who ruin it for everyone. In Batman, most people are basically evil at heart and only the superhero and his allies are trying to save it for everyone. Take the scene where a gang of Gothamites surround Batman and try to bring him down: the polar opposite of the Spiderman train scene.


That's interesting. I actually hadn't heard about the JR West wreck. I don't really, you know, keep up with what's happening on the surface of the planet in real life.

But man oh man was Batman good!


It's an interesting point about cities. I think there's much more awareness of heroes' symbiotic relationship with their hometown now, which was why I was interested in what Asamiya would do with Bats against a Tokyo backdrop, but I was disappointed in this regard.Mentioned this one myself a while back in a Doctor Who post (and posted the big nose look you mention) : - http://psychbloke.blogspot.com/2005/05/who-seven-and-other-stuff.html


Yeah, for reals. It's just like "Hey, Batman's swooping over that Kabukicho sign! I've been there!" That's a real short-lived thrill. I'd rather Batman have gone to some made-up Japanese metropolis, a Japanese Gotham where the immediately post-war buildings are more monolithic and worn, and the old temples and shrines are pointier and spookier, and all that good stuff.

And man, that picture of Bruce Wayne is exactly the one that shocked me.

I may as well mention another fanboyish thing that disappointed me about the movie: distinct lack of the phrase "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot". Sure, it's lame, but I think it would have worked well as a League of Shadows line.


That's picked up a lot of comment around the web - you're right, it wouldn't have done any harm to throw it in for the fanboys.

Tell you what disappointed me - there was a HORSE shown wandering about on that island. A quick trot round the block from Bats would'ver been a lovely nod to Dark Knight returns, but wasn't to be.......


Oh, and before I forget: I was totally surprised by the big revelation in the mansion on Bruce's birthday, but only because I'm familiar with the traditional version of the character it concerns, and I was assuming that some basic things about that character wouldn't be changing. (And because I'm thick, I suppose.)

I still can't decide if that was cheating or genius. Maybe both.


Nah.... clearly I wasn't paying attention there... you'll have to give me more of a clue....


So, in the comic books, at least as I understand it, Character X (I'm trying to be vague just in case) is supposed to be hundreds of years old and to have a vaguely specified origin. In the movie, he turns out to either have a completely different origin (visibly so), or to only be an idea, not an "actual" character at all. (I guess it's also possible that these are all layers of deception and the "real" Character X will appear in Batman Continues To Begin Part III saying "They were just my minions all along!")

It's kind of like if you were watching a movie and Batman and Superman are teaming up to fight a mysterious criminal, and it turns out to have been Superman all along. And he's seriously a criminal, not Red Kryptonite insane or whatever. That's just the way he is in this movie's continuity. It's a brilliant twist, because no-one would suspect it, but it's also a pretty serious change to the Platonic Ideal of Superman.

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but I think that using that kind of twist is "cheating" in the same sense as a murder mystery that suddenly introduces a new character who can turn himself into a chair, and that's why no-one noticed him in the Locked Room before.

Fortunately I was never that attached to Character X so I was pleased rather than annoyed in this case.


yay.... I'm with ya now....

I never liked character X much anyway. Wouldn't have minded appearances from other members of his family though....maybe next time (sigh)


Woah woah woah woah there jerkboy hold right up! I am one of those six people who haven't seen Batman whatevers! Also one of the seven or so who hasn't seen Star Wars Ep.3.

And are you gonna ruin that for me too?


Hey, you can't say I didn't try to warn you! Very first sentence of the original post!

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