Pompous & bloated. When was it decided that superhero comics were now to be treated like Shakespearean tragedies? Oh, the agony of being Bruce Wayne, playboy millionaire with a bat complex! The guilt, the fear, the fateful choice between vigilantism and revenge! Even Ang Lee’s Hulk had some jokes (and primary colors.)

Perhaps the thudding seriousness would be acceptable if the movie wouldn’t keep asking us to believe more and more outrageous conceits: first there’s the bat thing, then there’s a secret clan of ninja criminals, a stolen superweapon, a mad doctor who uses bummer hallucinogens to attack a city that only exists in a comic book universe… and most ludicrous of all, we’re supposed to buy that Katie Holmes is a D.A.? Come on. Stiff pseudo noir does not suit a pop hero franchise. Tim Burton’s 1989 version was far superior because it embraced its silliness and had some fun with it. In the immortal words of Joker Jack: “What this town needs is an enema!” So does Nolan’s Batman.

Batman Begins. Christopher Nolan, 2005. *