Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and Morgan Freeman.
Ahh, Batman. Like a lot of comic book fans, I got into him big time thanks to that Tim Burton film in 1989. And then, from there, the animated series, and finally, the comics. And, once I finally got my hands on the source material, I noticed something strange about the films. They were wrong. They weren’t as good as they could have been. Like many disappointed fans, I consoled myself with reruns of the animated series and curled up by the fire with The Dark Knight Returns. The movies finally faded from existence…until Spider-Man and the X-Men came along and jumpstarted the whole superhero movie genre. It wasn’t long until Batman returned…again.
Bruce Wayne (Bale) is a tortured soul. After seeing his parents gunned down before his eyes when he was a kid, he just hasn’t stopped running. Finally, he finds himself in a remote northern European prison where he beats the crap out of the inmates with ferocity. This gains the interest of the League of Shadows, led by the immortal R’as al Guhl (Watanabe) and his chief lieutenant Ducard (Neeson). They take Wayne into their secret society, and train him how to use his fear and anger to fight the evil around him. But, when the League shows its true colours, Wayne turns on them, and is cast out from the order. The League, though, has given Wayne inspiration. He returns to Gotham City, determined to clean up the town. And it’s just in time, too. That dastardly psychiatrist Dr. Jonathon Crane (Murphy) is running around as the Scarecrow and is determined to destroy the city. It’s not long before Bruce Wayne becomes that which he fears the most…a bat. The Batman, to be specific. Of course, Batman needs allies, and he finds them: his trusted butler Alfred (Caine), Wayne Enterprises head of Applied Sciences Lucious Fox (Freeman), the last good cop, a detective by the name of Jim Gordon (Oldman), and Bruce Wayne’s old childhood sweetheart Rachel Dawes (Holmes), who’s now a crusading Assistant District Attorney. It’ll be this alliance, led by Batman, who saves the city.
Wow. Wowie wowie wow. This movie rocks. At long last, we finally get to see all those great “Batman-isms” that have been lost in the nipples on the batsuits. It almost reminds me of the first Superman movie, in that at least the first half is dedicated to the origin; Bruce Wayne doesn’t don cape and cowl until at least halfway through the film. And that’s good. At long last, on the big screen, we get to see Bruce Wayne, Batman, and why he does what he does. This is just a good movie.
I remember one time a friend was visiting, and she read the classic Batman Year One. At the end, she screamed and threw down the book. “That can’t be the end!” she said. “I’ve got to see what comes next!” I just semi-sarcastically said, “It’s meant to be the beginning…the entire Batman universe comes next!” That’s how I felt at the end of Batman Begins. (Yes, it’s left wide open for a sequel.) That can’t be the end. I’ve got to see what comes next.