Anyway, as you no doubt have surmised by the pic at the left, I went off to see Batman Begins. I had begun to worry that this was going to be yet another of a long line of movies that I would have liked to have seen, but could never quite "pull the trigger" on while it was in theaters. I still had a stack of Lowes Cineplex gift certificates (from the family a year or more back), so opted to go to the Webster Place theaters. Down here the "hot new films" will typically be at either the 900 N. Michigan Lowes or at the big new AMC, and Batman was at the AMC, which means that it was at Webster Place instead of 900 N. Michigan (being that I was planning on using the gift certs, I was going to one of those). While both the AMC and Webster Place require "multiple transit", it is a bit more of a hassle getting out to Webster Place, involving taking the Red Line up to Fullerton and (usually) the Fullerton bus out to Southport (at which point it's a 3-4 block walk). I was shooting for an 11:25am showing, so left home at 10:30am ... got the El right away, but there was no sign of the Fullerton bus when I got up there. I waited 5-10 minutes before deciding that I'd better try walking, which was a good call as I'd not been passed by the bus by the time I got the 8 blocks to Southport. I ended up getting to the theater with about 10 minutes to spare, but a bit sweatier than I'd planned.
Batman Begins was quite good, although I found the multiple-layer flashbacks in the first half slighly confusing. I was always a "Make Mine Marvel" comic collector as a kid, so I don't know how much of the Batman "backstory" was created just for this movie, or if it had been taken from the original D.C. Comics source materials. The idea that he ran off to "plumb the criminal mind" and ended up in a Tibetan monastery is fascinating, although having it happen essentially on a whim is pretty freaky. The combination of the stuff from the "justice cult" and the "unfunded defense research" stuff at Wayne Industries do provide a pretty solid footing for Batman's personality and "toys", though.
One thing that was delightfully twisted, from a movie standpoint is the casting of Gary Oldman as Jim (eventually Comissioner) Gordon, seemingly the only good cop on the whole Gotham police force. One is so used to seeing him as some warped sadistic baddie, that it plays with your head when you're having to root for him the way you do in this fim!
I hope that it's not a big spoiler to mention that I was very surprised that Katie Holmes' character, assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne) survives the movie ... from the posters I'd assumed that she was toast at some point in this one, adding another layer of scarring to the Batman persona. Given the circumstances, I figure she's a gonner in the next film (it would be a spoiler, I think, to note why, but if you've seen it you know).
As a Chicagoan, it was interesting to see how they'd taken our city as a template of downtown Gotham ... weaving things through it, and then abruptly cutting it in half (I'm guessing the area with Arkahm Asylum is right in River North, as the area "south of the river" is pretty much like the Loop). Batman seems to like the old Stone Container building (at Miichingan and Wacker) for his "gargoyle" perch ... and I'm guessing that the Wayne building is the Board of Trade building on steroids (with LaSalle St. running right into it).
I was glad to get to see this one in the theater. We'll probably see Fantastic Four with The Girls this weekend, but figured (rightly, I think, given some of the "Scarecrow" scenes) that this might have been a bit freaky for them.