I’m truly surprised there are some critics out there trashing or pooh-poohing Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (Warner Bros., 6.15), by far the smartest, best constructed, most adult-minded Batman film ever. And I’m genuinely stunned by Richard Schickel’s suggestion in his Time review that while Nolan’s effort “is not dishonorable…what it needs, and doesn’t have, is a Joker in the deck — some antic human antimatter to give it the giddy lift of perversity that a bunch of impersonal explosions, no matter how well managed, can’t supply.” The lack of a colorfully over-the-top villain is, for me, precisely one of the very soothing and satisfying things about Batman Begins. The decades-long tradition of flamboyantly-mannered actors (a la Jack Nicholson, Chris Walken, Gene Hackman, Jim Carrey, et. al.) playing ultra-flamboyant baddies in comic-book superhero movies has become stupefying. Finally…finally!…we’ve been spared this tedium by a director trying to re-do things with cleverness and flair (Nolan and co-writer David S. Goyer are obviously just as sick of this as I am), and how does Schickel respond? He writes, “Where’s the stupefying cliche role? I miss it!”