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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3726/batman-a-review/

Batman: A Review

June 16, 2005 by

This is the best Batman movie yet. Christian Bale, living up to the promise of his performances in American Psycho and Equilibrium, is the best Batman, hands down. Bale’s Batman is dark, dangerous, disturbed, dehumanized and vengeful—as he was meant to be. As Batman, his voice takes on a guttural, animalistic quality. The new menacing-looking, tank-like, car-crunching, building-smashing Batmobile is a better reflection of Batman’s spiritual being than the sleek Batmobile of earlier movies. The slow-paced and meandering build-up in the first half hour or so ultimately pays off handsomely in the movie’s climactic scenes, with plenty of action and suspense along the way.

Katie Holmes (not one of my favorite actress) does a credible job of transforming her character’s desiccated and de-sexualized career feminist early in the movie into the increasingly alluring and desirable woman that is released after she experiences Batman’s primal nature. Michael Caine was, of course, born to play Alfred.

Gotham City is given a much-needed makeover: it is no longer unrelentingly dark and polluted, and from the night sky it now appears, like contemporary New York City, as a glittering, jewel-encrusted metropolis raising the expectation of prosperity and culture below, while at street level it is sleazy and decadent, rife with slums and human corruption. The brilliant Liam Neeson steals some early scenes from Bale, but Bale holds his own later in his Batman persona.


  • Danny Elfman’s great Batman theme is nowhere to be heard.
  • Batman’s playboy alter ego, Bruce Wayne, has too few scenes for the character to be fleshed out.
  • Many of the fight scenes involving Batman in the middle of the movie are choppy and hard to follow.
  • The notion that a conspiracy of bad guys can “use economics as a weapon” to cause a depression in Gotham City is ridiculous—unless they have somehow infiltrated the Federal Reserve System.
  • Even more ludicrous is that Bruce Wayne’s dithering, liberal philanthropist father actually believed that the decaying public transportation system he built for Gotham would “bring the city together.”

    It’s not The Batman Chronicles on Mises and Batman, but what is?


    Daniel J. D'Amico June 16, 2005 at 1:15 pm

    Salerno’s portrayal of “Equilibrium” as something of quality to live up to for actor Bale leaves one wondering the credibility of his review. Though I agree “Batman Begins” is a quality film and does a long overdue justice to the bastardizations of the Batman story line, it does not negate the fact that Bale has some making up to do for audiences to overlook the abomination that is “Equilibrium.”

    Jeffrey June 16, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Daniel’s inexplicable calumny against the great movie “Equilibrium” illustrates why it is now next to impossible to pick movies for everyone to watch at the Mises Universitiy. Note to students: if you are coming to Mises U, bring a hand-held device to watch a movie of your choice during break times.

    Adam Martin June 16, 2005 at 1:39 pm

    Getting into the equilibrium debate again would be foolish.

    For more great Batman/libertarian stuff, check out The Dark Knight Returns or its sequel.

    In both Batman is portrayed as fighting crime against the wishes of a right-wing, cold war fascist government. The sequel is much weaker but possibly of interest to libertarians because in it Batman leads a revolution against the government.

    Roderick T. Long June 16, 2005 at 3:22 pm

    Now all we need is a movie based on my favourite Batman supporting character, Lonnie Machin — otherwise known as ANARKY. (For more about him, DON’T CLICK HERE.)

    np June 16, 2005 at 9:37 pm

    man. they should just do miller’s DK on the big screed. damn amazing series.

    Yid June 16, 2005 at 10:15 pm

    Yeah, but which actor would play a 55 year old Batman convincingly?

    fancyleprachaun June 16, 2005 at 10:33 pm

    Bruce Campbell.

    Oh man, I just had a giant nerdgasm just thinking about it.

    Geoffrey Allan Plauche June 16, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    I too think Equilibrium is a great movie. But alas, I don’t have time to argue the point. I’m off to present a paper at the IHS Social Change Workshop! Just wanted to put my two cents in on the movie. I’ll have to go see Batman when I return. I’ll be attending Mises U as well, so I’ll be seeing you in about a month Jeff and Roderick.

    Vardaman Bundren June 17, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    The movie is awesome, as you say, Joe, but what needs to be pointed out is that the movie makes several anti-statist, pro-market points. These are:

    *Corporate take-overs can be good for the company and the world, too.
    *Psychiatrists have become state-licensed agents, in many cases.
    *Private wealth can do plenty of good, in the form of, yes, for instance, the subway system–which was in good shape at the time of its first appearance.
    *State police forces abhor competition.
    *State-favored business interests are corrupt and corrupting.

    Tracy Saboe June 17, 2005 at 9:04 pm

    I actually just picked up back-issues of the Anarchy limited series and the 8 issue ongoing one. (That wasn’t so ungoing because it was cancled.) and it’s actually really good. I wish they had published issue 9 and 10.

    I picked up this months Green Arrow b/c Anarchy was in it, and it was OK.

    Need to see if I can find some of those back-issues, of Bat-Man that have anarchy story-lines in them.

    As an avid comic book collector, the discovery of Anarchy, is really cool. I wish that they would bring him back. And homefully not basterdize his charactor and keep him the same spirit as the previous incarnations.

    I liked this BatMan though. It is true. Bruce father is dead b/c he failed to act. If he’d been armed, that would have turned out much differently.

    I couldn’t help but think that these people trying to destroyu Gothum were part of the reason for Gothom’s decadence. They complain about it being unsaveble, so then they infilterate and become part of the corruption for the purpose of destroying Gothom b/c it’s corrupt?

    Sounds like CIA and FBI agents when they infilterate groups for the purpose of encouraging them to mis-behave, so they can take them out. Or other various entrapment methods.

    What’s wrong with a liberal philanthropists building a cheep rail-system. That’s what the best business people do — serve the masses, by making things cheeper.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie. It would be cool if Anarchy showed up in a sequel eventually.

    V is for Vendeta is coming out though, hopefully that will be good.


    Marwan June 18, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    I haven’t seen the new movie but he is a great character and this version looks more true to his spirit. As for who would play the Dark Knight Returns, Tom Selleck is a good choice. I haven’t collected comics in years and I always favored Batman. He is entertaining and interesting. One point I haven’t seen articulated is that Batman is not hired to defend nor does he operate solely on property he owns — that means he is a property rights violator; irrespective of the end result.

    Of course, if he is operating in a ‘public’ area then he is just efficiently doing what the government cannot do successfully and since the government doesn’t have a natural right to the property he is only violating the governments laws but not those of nature.

    melt_core June 28, 2005 at 1:37 am


    In depth analysis of the legal plotholes in Batman Begins… and it’s kind of funny ;)

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