Batman Begins Reviews

Christy Lemire
Associated Press
Top Critic
April 14, 2013

Nolan takes an admirable stab at developing a character-driven drama, only to give in to generic action-movie conventions with a blinding, deafening, explosion-laden finale that could have capped off any number of interchangeable Jerry Bruckheimer flicks.

Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
April 14, 2013

Batman Begins summons up moments of great eloquence and power. If only its cast of characters was as fully inhabited as its turbulent city.

Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
September 7, 2011

It's not just the birth of Batman we're seeing in this triumphant interpretation, it's also the dawning of Gotham City's age of greed.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic
February 3, 2007

Here's how any great franchise should start: with care, precision and delicately wrought atmosphere.

Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
May 12, 2006

A nonstarter.

Keith Phipps
AV Club
Top Critic
September 26, 2005

A rousing, reverent, often brilliant re-creation of a seminal comics character.

Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
July 7, 2005

Without the biff! bang! pow! of pop signifiers, this intelligent, well-made film is too heavy to transport us anywhere but down the dark hole of its good intentions.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
June 17, 2005

If you love Batman, then Batman Begins will the best Batman movie ever made. On the other hand, if you love Batman movies, Batman Begins may leave you wondering where the Joker went.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
June 17, 2005

For all the hype about exploring Batman's damaged psyche, Nolan and Goyer haven't added much beyond a corny opening in which he falls down a well and is attacked by bats.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
June 16, 2005

Batman Begins is for morons.

Ben Walters
Time Out
Top Critic
June 16, 2005

The muscular grit of the action sequences is leavened with nicely judged sarky banter.

Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

A confidently original, engrossing interpretation, with a seriously thought-through (but never self-serious) aesthetic point of view that announces, from the get-go, someone who knows what he's doing is running the show.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Apart from the lumbering pacing and embalmed tone, the movie is densely forested with oaken dialogue, wasteful in its casting...and incoherently over-edited in its action sequences.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Batman Begins leaks existential phoniness from the first frame.

Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Director Nolan remains true to his own vision, which is largely that of the original Batman comics. As a result, Batman Begins has a unity not often found in these extravaganzas.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Is it too much to ask that the action sequences not be monotonously, narcotizingly dull?

| Original Score: 2.5/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

A mature take on material often relegated to the kiddie file, and it's simply the latest proof that, when treated properly, comic books are a viable art form for all ages. Bring on the sequel.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

When you shine too much light, you take away the shadows. And without those, the Dark Knight is just a guy in a rubber suit mugging muggers.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

If comic books must be a staple of our movie diet, please let them be as thought-provoking and thrilling as this.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

For all the effort and expense that went into this salvage job on an old, abandoned property, I would have preferred that Batman -- now past 66 years old -- be given his pension and sent on his way.

Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Batman Begins is a remarkable movie. In making it, Nolan swept aside not only the other Batman films but the whole over-burdened shelf of previous super-hero flicks.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Michael Booth
Denver Post
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Here's a legend sometimes proved true: Sharp writing and thoughtful directing make the oldest tales seem new.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Bale, in his first venture into superhero status, hits just the right balance between Bruce's uncertainty and the intensity of his alter ego. Besides, Caine and Freeman elevate any project in which they appear.

Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Finally, a Batman movie that's actually about Batman.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

A ponderous, deeply unironic psychological portrait with such a pervasive sense of gravitas that it borders on self-importance.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Christopher Nolan has gone back to basics, jettisoning both the silliness of the TV incarnation and the gothic and fetishist elements of the '90s version. This is a hard-core, down-and-gritty origin story.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
June 15, 2005

Say goodbye to 'pow' and 'zowie.' Say hello to a level of raw excitement that at times makes Batman look like a predator for justice.

| Original Score: B+
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

What makes this Batman so enjoyable is how the director Christopher Nolan arranges familiar genre elements in new, unforeseen ways.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

Bruce Wayne's invention of Batman is the story of Batman Begins, and it's an epic one, with a suitably epic cast of A-list actors.

Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

A superhero saga grounded in the real world.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

There's just the pleasure of seeing something that's both fantastic to the eye and emotionally dimensional. This is how to make action movies.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

Christopher Nolan has loaded the story with enough myth and emotion that it would not be silly to compare it with the samurai tales of Akira Kurosawa.

| Original Score: 3.5/4
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

The earlier Batman movies were charades. With Bale, it's a biopic, filled with nuance, emotion and contradictions.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Gene Seymour
Newsday
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

Maybe, now that this version of the franchise has drained itself of explanatory residue, the next chapter will have more bounce.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

With Christian Bale in the title role, this is a film noir Batman, a brooding, disturbing piece of work that starts slowly but ends up crafting a world that just might haunt your dreams.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

The action sequences feel like generic studio product, frantically and confusingly edited, and the lengthy Batmobile chase scene feels like a good opportunity to take the kids to the bat-room.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

It's all a little disappointing, particularly given the talents involved.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

An undeniable return to good form for the enduring comic book hero, an industrial-strength summer-action flick fantasia that manages to capture the excitement of the early Batman films while working in a decidedly darker tone.

| Original Score: B
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

It's a wake-up call to the people who keep giving us cute capers about men in tights. It wipes the smirk off the face of the superhero movie.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Mike Clark
USA Today
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

No fan of cult director Christopher Nolan is going to regard this respectable effort as anything but a comedown from 2001's Memento.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

Nolan turns Batman Begins into something much closer to Miller's 'Dark Knight' interpretation than the glamorous, slam-bang Hollywood jokefests into which the series had slipped by Batman and Robin time.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

In Batman Begins, Christian Bale gives us the best Bruce Wayne that has ever graced the screen.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

It's about the birth pains of a superhero, with the emphasis on those pains as much as on superheroism.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

Batman Begins at last penetrates to the dark and troubled depths of the Batman legend.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
Top Critic
June 14, 2005

It's still an old-school superhero summer movie, the plotting tortuous, the characters relegated to one-scene-one-emotion simplicity, the digitized action a never ending club mix of chases and mano a manos.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
June 10, 2005

Nolan's too good for Bat business as usual. His secret for making Batman fly is as basic as black: Keep it real.

| Original Score: 3/4
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
June 9, 2005

[Bale plays] a Batman who, even demystified, still manages to cast a long, dark, mythic shadow.

Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
June 7, 2005

[Nolan's] effort is not dishonorable, but 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.

David Denby
New Yorker
Top Critic
June 6, 2005

In Memento, Nolan and his editor, Dody Dorn, created a new syntax for movies. It's depressing to see Nolan now relying on the same fakery as everyone else.

Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic
June 6, 2005

This is the best Batman movie ever by far.

Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
June 5, 2005

There is talent and cleverness here, but not much excitement.

Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
June 3, 2005

For Christopher Nolan to turn Batman Begins into such a smart, gritty, brooding, visceral experience is astonishing.