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Batman Begins – …and ends, with little to show for it. Before it opened, I had little interest in seeing it — the Batman film franchise has been one long disappointment. But both critics, and many many friends raved about it, so I thought I’d take a gamble. Particularly because I wanted some escapism.

What I got was merely competent fare. The movie takes an awfully long time to get going, setting the backstory for Batman’s transformation. And then it takes a long time to continue. One problem with the film is that it’s all exposition. As Joe Bob would say, there’s too much plot getting in the way of the story.

BB doesn’t measure up at all to, say, either Spider-man movie. For starters, it’s not nearly as fun. But more importantly, I think, the Big Action Sequences are instantly forgettable. Spider-man and Spider-man 2 have bunches of unforgettable scenes — the wrestling match where he first dons his suit, chases down the cavernous streets of New York, the out-of-control subway that nearly kills him. Batman Begins has nothing so memorable, so iconic. The action tends to be stock fight scenes or car chases, very mechanical, with no emotion.

Word Wars – rented this documentary on DVD, and it is well worth a look. I loved Stefan Fatsis’ Word Freak, upon which this film draws a lot of inspiration, and the movie ends up bringing to video the characters that Fatsis brought to the page. Word Wars is about the world of competitive SCRABBLE™, and follows four top players as they make their way to the Nationals. It’s clear that this doc would never have been released without the success of Spellbound.

This film doesn’t really compare with Spellbound, but it’s good nonetheless.