Double Feature

July 2006 - It's a good summer to be a comic book character! First, X-Men: The Last Stand took in a record take over Memorial Day. Now, Superman is back on the big screen. With that in mind, here are two recent movies featuring some other comic book heroes.

In 2005, Christian Bale took over the role of the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins. In this film, a young Bruce Wayne becomes obsessed with bats. He also quits college to seek out an understanding of the criminal mind. Eventually, he's found by Liam Neeson, leader of the league of Shadows. Liam mentors Bruce in the skills of fighting, but Bruce balks when he's asked to execute a murder suspect.

Back in Gotham City, Bruce rejoins the family business and is fascinated by all the neat toys that Morgan Freeman has invented. There’s a bulletproof suit and an early version of the Batmobile. Bruce uses these things to fight crime and corruption in Gotham.

Overall review: Liked it. I thought Christian Bale did a good job of playing Bruce from a confused teenager to a twenty-something Batman. There's not too much to complain about here, although Katie Holmes seemed rather lightweight compared to the rest of the cast that included Michael Caine as Alfred, along with Rutger Hauer.

Also in 2005, someone came up with the bright idea of taking stars from two hit TV shows and putting them in the same movie. The result is Elektra, an action flick based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

Jennifer Garner (Sydney Bristow from Alias) reprises her role as Elektra Natchios, which she first played in the 2003 movie Daredevil. Elektra died in that movie, but a martial arts master named Stick (Terence Stamp) knew some sort of martial arts technique and brought her back to life for the sake of the sequel. When the movie begins, Elektra is working as a highly-paid assassin. She even has an agent.

Elektra, who also has a bad case of OCD, schleps off to a house in the mountains to await her next assignment. She meets Goran Visnjic (Luka from ER) and his teenage daughter. Surprise! They're her targets! Elektra takes aim with her bow and arrow but can't bring herself to shoot. Instead, she saves them from a group of evil-doers known as The Hand. It seems the teenage daughter is "the treasure" spoken of in legend, and if The Hand gets hold of her, well, it won't be good.

Overall review: Liked it. I know. I'm probably giving this movie too much credit. The plot is kinda lame, but the action is pretty good, the special effects are good, and Jennifer Garnet flat-out rocks.

Elektra and Batman Begins are both rated PG-13. Both are also available on video or DVD.