Movie Review: “Batkid Begins” 

Batkid BeginsIt’s refreshing to see a film that’s completely lacking in cynicism. And that’s “Batkid Begins,” an unbelievably heart-warming look back at the Batkid social media phenomenon of 2013.

Anyone who was anywhere near the Internet on November 13, 2015, undoubtedly remembers the saga of Batkid. Miles Scott, a young cancer survivor from rural California, got to, with some help from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, act out his lifelong dream of being Batman’s sidekick, “Batkid.” The film takes us through the planning and execution of the wish, which ended up involving numerous organizations, a live audience of thousands and an online audience of millions.

“Batkid Begins” was directed by Dana Nachman and co-written by Nachman along with “Dear Zachary” director Kurt Kuenne, and in addition to an inspirational film, it doubles as a how-to guide for viral social media.

We’re introduced to Miles, his family, and local Make-a-Wish chief Patricia Wilson, and the first half of the movie is setup for how the wish came together. The second half is a blow-by-blow of the day itself, in which Miles-as-Batkid, along with Batman (played by stuntman and Lucasfilm employee Eric Johnston) engaged in a series of adventures throughout San Francisco.

We see Miles do battle with the Riddler and Penguin, rescue San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal and (don’t tell Anita Sarkeesian) rescue a damsel in distress, before meeting Mayor Ed Lee and receiving the key to the city.

But it wasn’t just Make-a-Wish that made this happen. Many, many people clearly heard about the story, were moved by it and did their part, from the Giants organization to equipment manufacturers who helped with the costume’s technology to Hans Zimmer, the composer of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies who provided a “soundtrack” to Batkid’s adventure. And we discover that Zimmer, of course, composes by candlelight. And that’s to say nothing for the social support of President Obama as well as every living actor who’s played Batman.

Yes, I suppose a cynic could poke some holes in the story, or consider the stunt a waste of time and resources, or call it a crass commercial for the Batman corporate collossus. And we’re already getting a feature film version of this, with Julia Roberts- in full Brockovich mode, no doubt- playing Patricia Wilson.

But I don’t care. “Batkid Begins” is pretty clearly the third-best Batman movie ever made.

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