Batman: Year One
The point was to put more focus on the parts directly adapted from the Frank Miller graphic novel while putting the mystery and mystique back into Batman’s origins. Many people praise Christopher Nolan’s attempt at creating an entirely realistic and logical approach to the Batman legend. Sometimes, I felt the filmmakers spent so much time on the exposition of the premise, that the entire thing became entirely too real. David Mazzucchelli wrote
“Once a depiction veers toward realism, each new detail releases a torrent of questions that exposes the absurdity at the heart of the genre. The more ‘realistic’ super heroes become, the less believable they are.” With this in mind, I set out to re-create the obscurity to the premise of which it generates from, creating a realistic, but still believable super hero film. The viewer is asked to accept much more about the premise than is given, and close their mind to the questions that inevitably come up once a premise has become too real.
The scenes in which Bruce spends years in China learning ninjitsu (Chinese ninjitsu apparently), the time he spends putting together his costume and arsenal, Bruce’s time spent with Lucious Fox, are all deleted. The resulting atmosphere is very similar to that of Burton’s Batman, in which instead of getting an hour of needless explanation of an idea we’ve accepted since 1939, we get right to Batman’s first few shaky months in the fight on crime, his building relationship with James Gordon, and the growing tension between him and the police department.
Bruce Wayne as a character has been reduced to a facade. It is edited so the only time you ever see him open his mouth, he’s in super douche-bag mode, playing up his rich and spoiled brat routine. In the comic, the readers only ever see Bruce when he is playing the boy billionaire to throw off Gordon, while other times see him in complete silence in contemplation and reverie–the film now reflects this portrayal.
Ducard is cut. His part in the second half of the film was out of place once his part in the first half was eliminated. The attack on Gotham is no longer planned and executed by the League of Shadows, but by Scarecrow and his associates. His character has gained screen-time in the now hour-long film.
In addition, the cheesy parts are cut. Some annoying moments with Katie Holmes have been trimmed, the very cliche incompetent cop reactions during the Tumbler chase scene have been removed, and many other changes have been made to provide a loose, but faithful interpretation of Frank Miller’s work.
I enjoyed this edit but it could have been better.
It’s been years since I have read Batman Year One but I remember that one of the great things about it was seeing Batman make mistakes and learn from them. He wasn’t always a pro at crime fighting and it showed him growing into that role through trial and error.
This edit shows some of this but snipped a little too much of Batman/Bruce being injured. The effects of Scarecrow’s fear gas on him was cut short after Batman crashed to the pavement. It would have been good too see that he was laid up in bed for a couple of days and that he developed an antidote for the toxin. Instead, he is suddenly well and has the antidote handy shortly thereafter.
I actually like it that Ra’s was cut from the movie, even though this does indeed sacrifice coherency.
Even better, I actually like Rachel Dawes in this version. Which is surprising because I always hated her existence on the sole principle that she was made up for the movie and not a “real” Batman character. When I first saw Batman Begins at the theatre, I was like.. “Who the f*** is Rachel Dawes?”
Anyway, the whole Bruce/Rachel saga is toast and Batman is simply out to save somebody who also wants to make Gotham a better city. It could just as easily have been James Gordon that he was trying to save and it would play out the same way. The Batman/Rachel interaction is drastically better in this edit than the official movie.
Generally, I enjoyed this faster paced Batman edit but too much was cut.
Although it is 61 minutes, the last 10 are the end credits and that is way too long. So the edit is actually a mere 50 minutes of movie time.
Which is good in a way, when all you want is meat without any potatoes or gravy.
I’d like to offer a bit of a counterpoint to the first review. [NOTE: Review in question not added.] While admittedly, there isn’t much effort put into tying everything together in a neat little package, that’s kind of the point. We all know the batman origin story. We don’t really need all the little details. While I wouldn’t suggest anyone try this with a character that is less well known, Batman is a cultural icon. The audience is completely capable of filling in any blanks on their own. While I do think that a little more back story would be welcome, I think that as a separate work (i.e., if not in comparison to the original) that this is very successful. Now obviously, this edit would never make it as a Hollywood blockbuster, but I think it would be great as the pilot for a Batman TV series, or perhaps the first part of a mini-series (because I must admit the end doesn’t really feel like an ending).
Honestly, I only have two real complaints. First, there should be fades between each new date, to make it feel like time has passed. Second, I don’t really feel that the way the climax is resolved makes sense. How does shooting down the monorail near Wayne Towers blowup the microwave gun that would have to have been somewhere in the narrows (since that’s where the water mains started bursting)? I understand that this was done as a way to still keep the train crash while eliminating Ra’s A Ghul, but I would rather see him left in. Overall though, I give this entry 4 Stars.