Friday, July 11, 2008

I just watched Batman Begins for the second time
One of the things I noticed on this viewing is how many "repeat lines" there were. I don't really have a better name for them, but they're pretty much instances in which one character, say the villain, says one thing to, say the hero, at the beginning of the movie and then the hero repeats it back to the villain in a different inflection at the end of the movie. You see them in superhero movies especially, but throughout action movies.

Anyway, Batman Begins amazingly had at least 7 of them, by my count, though I may have missed some. Here they are in my pretty arbitrarily ranked order - please forgive me if my wording is not exact, as I'm writing these from memory after finishing the movie, although I'll try to look up what I can.

7. “But it's not who you are's what you do that defines you.”

First spoken: By Rachel, to Bruce after she runs into him being a playboy around the city.
Repeated (as the slightly changed:
"It's not who I am underneath...but what I do that defines me.")
By Bruce, to Rachel after he helps her and the little boy get away from the inmates of Arkham Asylum

Review: This one's pretty lame, as is pretty much everything about Rachel - she's more trouble to Bruce than she's worth, and is the most boring character in the movie. Even this line lacks bite - there's no venom, or even warmth - it's main purpose is just to show Rachel that Bruce is Batman in a clever way (if this could be called clever, which is quite generous) without actually saying who he is.

6. "Haven't given up on me yet?


First said: Exchanged between Alfred and Bruce upon Bruce's return to Gotham from Princeton, when Bruce is simply determined to avenge his parents.

Repeated: (As: “You still haven't given up on me?


Again by Alfred and Bruce, this time after Wayne Manor is burned down by Ra's Al Ghul, and Alfred and Bruce escape to the Batcave (I assume that's what it's still called?)

Review: Another warm moment, developing the continual bond between Alfred and Bruce, and showing Alfred's continued faith in Bruce no matter what he deals with. It's also kind of boring at generic, but at least it comes at a point where Alfred has demonstrated his usefulness by saving Bruce from the fire and been a little bit of a badass by taking out Ra's Al Ghul's guard. Still, it lacks something.

5. Okay, this is a little bit of a stretch, but I think the reactions are those of a repeat line, so I'm going to put it in anyway. Also this one appears about four times if you follow my stretched line, but I'm going to pick the two that I think work best.

"Like your father, you lack the courage
to do all that is necessary."

First said: By Ra's Al Ghul to Bruce as he's about to burn down Wayne manor, with him in it.

Repeated: (as "Have you finally learned to do what is necessary? "

By R'as Al Ghul as he thinks Batman is about to kill him on the subway car (I know it's not really a subway because it's elevated, but that's what I'm going to call it)

Review: Well this loses points because it's really a stretch - but the necessary is the important part - and they use it a couple more times at the beginning of the movie. What would have really made this clutch is if Batman actually did kill him right after he said it, proving that he would do what was necessary. Batman kind of lamed out by not killing him there, and no, Batman, if you leave someone to a certain death when you caused the circumstances, yes, that is killing someone.

4. "And why do we fall?

So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

First said: Thomas Wayne to Bruce after little Bruce falls down the well at the beginning of the movie.

Repeated: (as "Why do we fall, sir?

So that we can learn to pick ourselves up."

As an exchange between Alfred and Bruce right before the repeat of #6, as they descend to the Batcave after the fire.

Review: Okay, this tugs the heart strings a little, and it gets due credit for that. Alfred has been Bruce's surrogate father, and he's reminding him of the wise fatherly advice he received so many years ago. It's a little badly needed inspiration for Bruce and reminds him to get himself in gear for the final encounter. Nothing biting, but we need some happy repeats.

3. "It's a bit technical. The key thing is...our company's future is secure."

First said: By Mr. Earle, the head of Wayne enterprises throughout most of the movie to Bruce at Bruce's big birthday bash.

Repeated: (as "Look, it's all a bit technical,
but the important that my company's future
is secure."

By Bruce to Mr. Earle at the end of the film after Earle finds out Bruce has bought up enough shares to control the company.

Review: Finally, a good spite line - we needed one of those - Mr. Earle has been an irritant the whole movie, not evil, but clearly representing evil corporate interests, and not the high-minded philanthropic idealism of Bruce's parents, and had his comeuppance coming for the entire movie. When Bruce reveals that Mr. Earle was no longer president, what fun would it not to be done in style, and while at it, poke fun at Mr. Earle's naivete towards Bruce's business acumen. Take that, asshole.

2. "Didn't you get the memo?"

First said: By Mr. Earle to Lucius Fox after an angry Earle, who had just found out his war-mongering product had been stolen, is peeved at Fox for really, no apparently reason, and fires him.

Repeated: By Fox after Earle walks in on a board meeting and sees Fox as president and realizes he is no longer in control of the company.

Review: I'm not exactly sure what memo Fox was supposed to get. Moreover, I'm not sure why Earle who clearly disliked Fox from day one, did not fire him years ago. Anyway, neither of these things make this second Earle comeuppance line any less sweet, another fuck you to Earle, and automatically a step higher than the other one because Morgan Freeman is involved.

1. "- You never did mind your surroundings"

First said: By Ra's Al Ghul to Bruce Wayne, after he knocks down Bruce right into a falling beam in Wayne Manor, which traps Bruce while the fire rages.

Repeated: (as "You never learned to mind your surroundings!")

By Batman to Ra's Al Ghul after he reveals to Ra's Al Ghul, that he doesn't plan to stop the train at all, but to destroy the tracks, sending the train off the edge.

Review: Now here's a damn fine line - it directly connects to actual actions, and it's Batman's big fuck you moment to Ra's Al Ghul - the student has become the master and all that jazz - Ra's Al Ghul thinks he has an unstoppable plan and that Batman is a mere peon, but guess what, Batman is one step ahead. Truly a classic repeat line.

Addendum: As I found a script to look at to the get the lines right, I noticed yet another one I had forgotten about - "Finders Keepers" - which is said by Rachel at the very very beginning of the movie when both Bruce and Rachel are kids and is repeated, in written form, on the birthday present of the arrowhead that Rachel gives to Bruce. Pretty lame, as is anything involved with Rachel but it bears mentioning - I bet I could find even more if I read closer, or invented lines.

No comments: