Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Phil Jackson is Batman... And he begins! 

I mentioned yesterday how my expectations for Batman Begins were fairly reserved. Let's just those expectations were exceeded. By a lot. I really really really like this movie. Haven't seen more than 8-10 movies this year, but this is my favorite of the lot, so far, no question. Aside from a few (I'd say 5 or 6) cut away points during action scenes to random characters for comic relief (that poorly miss their mark) and one devestating betrayal to Batman's moral code (spoiler: it involves death and a bad guy), I'd say it was pretty darn great. I think Bale's cold Wayne facade and completely f'ing crazy Batman are pitch-perfect. Strong performances all around. Ra's is awesome. The relationship between Batman and Gordon is perfect! And I really appreciate how fantastic Gotham looked, something I clearly preferred over the Burton entries. I'll even go so far as to make this statement, which I'm sure will piss off some of my friends: Batman Begins is the best of the Batman movies. If you're coming into the film with a rich history of the comics, try not to cling to every detail of the origin story as you know it. Opening up on Bruce Wayne in a Chinese prison is such mind-fuck. I love it. In my opinion, the origin story presented by Chris Nolan actually improves upon the original, at least in a cinematic format. That's the scary thing about doing an origin story -- they tend to be a little dull and formulaic. Hence why I was reserved heading into the theater. That is definitely not the case here. But I love that Nolan started from the very very beginning and leaves us at the point where Bruce Wayne is just starting to get the hang of being Batman.

Just for kicks, a brief retrospective of the Batman films.

By the way, Batman's real identity is Phil Jackson. The more I think about his re-hiring by the Lakers yesterday, the more excited I get. It can only mean good things. Here is why it is a fantastic move for the Lakers organization and here are a list of reasons why Laker fans have just reason to be excited.
Third, Lamar Odom gets better with this, because he gets some true point-forward opportunities and some show-me-what-you-got defensive challenges.

Fourth, the man coaches defense, the glaring absence of which was the real reason for the Lakers' demise this season. People are always talking about the offense and the triangle and such, but the '96 Bulls and 2000 Lakers (according to stats analysis guru Dean Oliver) were the 10th- and 11th-best defensive clubs all time. The 2004-05 Lakers on the other hand, were 29th in the league in points given up per 100 possessions, just barely better than the Hawks.

Amen, brotha!

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