‘ Batkid Be­gins’

The film cap­tures the boy su­per­hero’s ex­ploits in the staged 2013 phe­nom­e­non.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Sheri Lin­den cal­en­dar@ latimes. com

Young leukemia pa­tient’s Make- A- Wish dream strikes global chord.

Miles Scott is easy to fall for. En­dear­ingly good- na­tured and shy, the 5- year- old leukemia sur­vivor got his strut on, as his some­what amazed farmer dad puts it, one fall day in 2013 when the Make- A- Wish Foun­da­tion re­al­ized the boy’s su­per­hero dreams.

Decked out as the Caped Cru­sader’s mini- me and rid­ing shot­gun in a Lam­borgh­ini “Bat­mo­bile,” Miles was guided through a se­ries of elab­o­rately staged es­capades that turned San Fran­cisco into Gotham City. As he saved the pop­u­lace from the Rid­dler and Pen­guin, he was cheered on by huge f lash mobs and by an es­ti­mated 1 bil­lion so­cial media fol­low­ers world­wide.

The cheer­ing con­tin­ues with “Batkid Be­gins,” di­rec­tor Dana Nach­man’s cel­e­bra­tory if not es­pe­cially search­ing look at the mak­ing of the event.

Com­bin­ing in- the- mo­ment footage shot by John Crane with af­ter- the- fact in­ter­views, the film will re­store one’s faith in hu­man­ity, at least dur­ing its run­ning time.

As to truly ex­plor­ing the phe­nom­e­non of a live- tweeted col­lec­tive fic­tion, the doc­u­men­tary makes a cou­ple of in­trigu­ing ob­ser­va­tions but doesn’t look far be­yond the met­rics, con­tent to ex­ult in the wow fac­tor of it all, which ad­mit­tedly is con­sid­er­able.

There are many he­roes in the story, which ul­ti­mately in­volved San Fran­cisco’s mayor and po­lice chief ( a game ac­tor, it turns out). Key among them is Eric John­ston, the for­mer stunt­man who played Bat­man to Miles’ Batkid. Their in­ter­ac­tions are ter­rif­i­cally sweet and mov­ing.

Those scenes go a long way to off­set repet­i­tive stretches that feel like pro­mo­tional videos for Make-A-Wish.

So too does ev­ery shot of the adorable Miles, who had spent years in treat­ment, f ight­ing for his life, when he donned the Batkid cos­tume and ac­cepted his new mis­sion, un­aware of its ex­tra­or­di­nary breadth.

Paul Sakuma Pho­tog r aphy

MILES SCOTT, 5, as Batkid saved the day in 2013 in “Gotham City” in a Make- A- Wish Foun­da­tion event.

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