Batman Begins is my all-time favorite comic book movie. The gritty realism really brought the whole story home for me in a way that no other movie ever could. A fantastic cast rounded out the first one, and made it a memorable film for all times. When I heard that they were indeed doing a sequel, I was both overjoyed and concerned. How could they ever top the greatness that was the first film? The answer? Heath Ledger.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’re well aware that Heath Ledger passed away due to a tragic accidental drug overdose. What you don’t realize is that this role was an absolute masterpiece of work that frankly would be impossible to top. Playing a very different Joker than Jack Nicholson or Cesar Romero, Ledger created one of the most terrifying villains I’ve ever seen in a film. In truth, he takes the top spot in my scariest bad guys top ten away from Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. He creates a truly terrifying force, a polar opposite of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman. I’ve heard lots of Oscar talk about Leger’s role, and now I see why.
What gets lost in the wake that was Heath Ledger’s performance is all the other great performances. Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, and Maggie Gyllenhal all have great performances that truly make The Dark Knight one of the best acted films I’ve personally ever seen. I’m a big fan of director Christopher Nolan’s, and he didn’t disappoint me at all with the performances he once again gets out of his cast.
About the only criticism I can lay down is that the story felt like it should have ended sooner, though in my humble opinion, that passed soon enough and I was grateful for more film. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should go now. Seriously…right now! Come on readers (OK…I know it’s just you Mom, but still…GO!!)
Seriously, this is a great movie and Ledger’s final full performance is worth every penny of ticket price. However, this may not be a good choice to see with small children. While my son tolerated it fine, he’s used to being traumatized. After all…I’m his father. Only you can judge whether your kids can handle this one. You, on the other hand, can, so go and you can thank me later.
Nothing in the world quite gets my inner-geek fired up like a comic book come to life. I loved the first Hellboy, and I eagerly awaited the sequel. Well, it’s here! As a Dungeons and Dragons geek, the inclusion of the elves is a neat touch. Since I never really read much of the Hellboy comic, I was able to come into the theater with an open mind. Whether that’s necessary or not remains to be seen.
One thing that doesn’t remain to be seen is that Hellboy 2 is one hell of a good time!
Ages ago, man in his greed waged war against the elves and goblins (who are apparently good guys…who knew?). The goblins offered to build the Golden Army for the elven king, numbering 70 times 70 (their words, not mine). It was controlled by a crown, and when the kind put it on, he could command the army so long as he was unchallenged for leadership. Obviously, there was no challenge. After the army was unleashed, it was unstoppable. It destroyed any human it came across, forcing a treaty.
While that sounds good, the elven prince Nuada isn’t happy about it. He wants to continue the war, and kill everyone or something cliche like that. Legend says that Nuada will return when his people need him most. OK, so besides the overplayed legend bit (when have we heard that part before? Like, all the time?), this is just a good, fun movie. It has some interesting tension between Hellboy and his pyrokenetic lover Liz for reasons that become quite apparent later in the film, and Hellboy has to deal with his inner demons. No pun intended.
However, for me the highlight scene has to be Hellboy and his fish-like buddy Abe getting drunk on cheap beer and singing love songs. In an incredibly funny scene, there is a deeper meaning that gets missed in the comedy. Hellboy and Abe are both human in most ways. They feel, and while their loves are different (Hellboy’s relationship with Liz is a bit rocky at that moment, and Abe is in love with an elven princess), the emotions are very real and the two quasi-men relate to one another’s plight in a very realistic and touching way. The fact that the scene is funny is pure win in my book.
However, the movie wasn’t without faults. One being the props. In all honesty, they looked like leftovers from Lord of the Rings, and not even the best ones. Prince Nuada’s armor was pretty cool, and his spear kicked ass. But so much of the other elven props looked like Legolas should walk in and smack the hell out of whoever stole his stuff. In addition, some of the acting could have been better, though the returning cast from the first movie was great (and Selma Blair looked hotter than ever…even without the flames). The make-up effects looked a bit cheesy, but that’s really part of the shtick from a Hellboy movie, ain’t it?
Due to the gas prices these days, my local theater has dropped ticket prices to pretty low levels. If yours has as well, then go and see Hellboy in the theater. If it hasn’t, then wait for video. Very little will be lost in the translation to the smaller screen, and you’ll save a few bucks. However, no film ever looks as good on TV as it does in the theater. It’s your call on this movie. Either way, if you’re a geek, you probably won’t be disappointed!