Batman Begins Reviews
One of the more interesting aspects here is how it shows Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne (Linus Roache), and how he molded Bruce's life and instilled good judgment within him, a point which is misunderstood about him by most people he comes in contact with. Thomas, too, teaches Bruce valuable lesson, such as "We fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up". This is pretty close to the theme of the movie or motto Bruce Wayne lives by. The resemblance of the father & son is pretty good, too.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the training Bruce Wayne endured becoming "invincible". Bruce is trained by Ducard (Liam Neeson) in many ways like a ninja (The concept of Batman IS similar to a ninja). He is taught many valuable lessons in this temple and is shown no mercy. Eventually, we even see his first real enemy as a superhero/vigilante.
Although I am not positive as to how true to the comic book this movie is, I am sure it took a few liberties, as did Spider-Man. Most of the small examples I have noticed are for the better and make for a good story. The Batmobile is more believable as an expensive armored vehicle that the military would not spend the money on than a juiced up Corvette (or whatever that was). Same with the Batsuit.
Katie Holmes is excellent as Rachel Dawes, a D.A. who is not afraid to go after the big villains in court. Also worthy of mentioning is Michael Caine as Alfred the butler. I do not believe they could have found a better man for that role, although I could not get the image of Caine as Austin Powers' dad out of my head when he was on screen.
Finally, in my opinion, Christian Bale makes a much better Batman than the three recent previous ones in Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Something about him makes Batman darker and more mysterious. Hopefully, DC Comics and movies have learned from their mistakes and we will not have to worry about Batman picking up a sidekick in this newest installment of the Batman series. 9/10Christopher Nolan (and cast) have pulled off what I hadn't dared to dream - a Batman every bit as good as Burton/Keaton's vision - and eradicated the camp, feverish memories of Clooney, Kilmer and (cough..) O'Donnell.
The story is as good an origin story as you'll find - covering all the major (true-to-the-comic) events, and not wasting ages on them. We see Wayne's all-important training period (previously ignored), and his connection to the Tibetan shadow-ninja clan led by Ra's Al Ghul. We see Bruce come up with ideas for his symbol, his costume, his gadgets, his car, his cave - IT ALL FITS SO PERFECTLY.
That's not all - Liam Neeson is perfect (as ever, when Lucas isn't writing his lines), Batman's first mad nemesis (the Scarecrow) is genuinely frightening; with some outstandingly scary 'fear' effects.. Gary Oldman looks just like a young Commissioner Gordon (and doesn't dominate), Morgan Freeman and Rutger Hauer give solid heavyweight support to the boardroom machinations at Wayne Enterprizes. I love Michael Gough(?) but Michael Caine is great as Alfred. It's only Katie Holmes who didn't ring true for me - not because of her performance, but simply because she looks all of 15 years old (sorry Katie). I am always blown away by Christian Bale, and this is no exception.
The fights are great, the Bat-gadgets all there, the car is amazing, the plot is thorough and exciting, Gotham looks great, Batman really is frightening & menacing (and lethal!).. And the scenes with the bats themselves FINALLY get across the idea of how scary they can be.
There is some humour, but it's fairly dry. The soundtrack, like all the best original soundtracks, is excellent - you hardly know it's there, but the emotions of the scene are enhanced and boosted. For the most part this is a serious Batman film, with plenty for long-time fans. This NEW Batman is one I'd like to see again. Bravo Mr Nolan, bravo.Finally, after the previous 2 outings of the caped crusader, the Batman franchise is back on track. Having been a big comic collector over the years and a long time fan of the Dark Knight, I was especially disappointed by 'Forever' and 'Batman and Robin'. To me, these film lost the essence of what drives Bruce Wayne to do what he does and turned Batman into more of a pop star than misunderstood hero.
Thankfully though, Nolan has gone back to the roots of the character, portraying a confused and angry Bruce Wayne, who ultimately rises to become Gotham's greatest champion. Don't expect to see loads of shots of Batman in this film though. It is the story of Wayne and focuses mainly on his years of training and preparation for becoming Batman. You are almost teased throughout the first half of the movie, waiting to see the excellent Christian Bale in the costume, as it keeps holding back to keep you in anticipation. When Batman does finally turn up on screen, it is well worth the wait. In my opinion, Bale was born for this role and for the first time when watching a Batman film, I enjoyed the scenes of Wayne being Wayne as much as Wayne being Batman.
One of the strongest features of the film, is the way that it manges to suck you in believe that a 'Batman' could be a reality one day. The technology is current, with no use of silly OTT weapons and gadgets, again making the film work by today's standards. Plus, we are not allowed to forget that Batman is still just a man under the costume and there are times when he gets a bit of a kicking and shows that he can be vulnerable too, something we sometimes forget when watching a superhero flick. Gone too, are the silly villains!!! Jack Nicholson was the perfect Joker but from there it went downhill. Thankfully, in this movie the bad guys are actually fairly 'normal' and manage to be menacing at the same time.
Which finally brings me to the cast. I always had high expectations for this film when the cast was announced. Let's face it, what a line up! Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katy Holmes, Ken Watanabe and Tom Wilkinson are not to be sniffed at. Even an old favourite of mine makes an appearance: Rutger Hauer! Awesome. Actors of this calibre would never have gotten involved in this project if they didn't have faith in Christoper Nolan's talents and thankfully they took the leap...
For the comic book fans out there, waiting to see this movie, let me assure you that you won't be upset. Imagine the darkness of the 'A Death In The Family' and the 'Year One' story lines. I have never met a fan of Batman who didn't love these books. Well, this is the kind of Batman you can expect from Bale: Dark, brooding and tortured by his past, yet the hero we have come to love. For those of you who are not comic fans, then just look forward to seeing how Batman should be. This film is a credit to Bob Kane's original vision and a testament to all the talented artists and writers who keep the legend of the Dark Knight alive in the comic books today....
Thank you Mr. Nolan and thank you Mr. Bale. In fact thanks to everyone who worked on this film. Batman finally Begins from here....
It sickened me in the past to see the Batman movie franchise slowly digging it's way to an early grave. After the quality Tim Burton films, the series pretty much went down the toilet, beginning a horrifically campy age of 'Bat credit-cards' and an armored Arnold Schwarzenegger tossing cringe-worthy puns at a Batman who seemed to be trying not to be embarrassed by the fact that his costume had nipples. So what could Warner Brothers producers hope to do to resurrect the franchise? Pretend it never happened, and start the whole series over again with a talented director, compelling story and capable cast.
Enter Christopher Nolan, the mastermind behind 2000's 'Momento', widely praised as one of the most innovative films of the decade. As director/co- screenwriter, Nolan creates a richly dark, atmospheric world for Batman to inhabit, similar to that of the Burton films, but less cartoony. The film's screenplay, written by Nolan and David S. Goyer is quality stuff, it's true that some of the dialog exchanges can seem kind of contrived, particularly between Wayne and Liam Neeson's character, Ducard, but it sounds so classy you tend not to care.
Nolan also puts a lot of trust in his audiences to stay put while the first hour of the film comprehensively explores Bruce Wayne's backstory, with no cape donning and few fight sequences. Nevertheless, the pace never slows, and the story is so unexpected and fascinating (who would have expected a Batman film to begin in a prison in Tibet? only Nolan could pull it off!) there's little chance of us losing interest. And this way, we really get a sense of who Bruce Wayne is, a trait none of the past movies were able to capture, including the Burton films. We see what drives him, what leads him to become this iconic crime fighter, and the reasoning behind the mask.
Of course, to help the audience get under Bruce Wayne's skin, it doesn't hurt to have such a talented lead as Christian Bale. Bale has been emerging as one of the most talented actors of his generation, and he brings that talent to a peak here, playing the darkest of all superheroes. If you were to break down the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne, you would find that it is essentially three characters: Wayne as Batman, behind the mask; Wayne's public facade as the billionaire playboy; and the real, brooding Bruce Wayne. Bale plays all three of the characters to absolute perfection, and molds them together well enough to make it clear to show they are still the same person. He has been given tons of accolades for his performance already, and needless to say, he deserves every one.
And the sheer quality of the supporting cast is mind-boggling, if for the number of big names only. It's very hard to find a weak spot in the incredibly strong array of performances here, but if one had to be found, it would have to be Katie Holmes. It's not that she gives a bad performance, on the contrary, but just she seems too young to be convincing as a district attorney. For me, Michael Gough will always be the definitive Alfred, but Michael Caine does an excellent job of taking over the role, giving a very strong (and often funny) performance. Liam Neeson is sheer class as Ducard, Wayne's mysterious mentor, as is Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Wayne's arms manufacturer and provider of the Batman gear. It's wonderful to see the incredibly talented and much underrated Gary Oldman as Sgt. Gordon, the only decent cop in Gotham, and he truly makes the role his own. Even cult favorite Rutger Hauer makes an appearance as Richard Earle, the ambitious head of Wayne Enterprises. And (surprise surprise!) the villains are also actually menacing for once, as opposed to cartoony and corny. Cillian Murphy just about walks away with the show as the truly chilling Scarecrow (the sequences involving his 'fear gas' are surprisingly frightening) Ken Watanabe is mysterious and creepy as guild leader Ra's Al Ghul and Tom Wilkinson is very convincing as Carmine Falcone, head of the Gotham city mob.
Nolan's knack for realism also comes as a breath of fresh air in this age of CGI bloated blockbusters - there are next to no computer generated shots in the movie, even a sequence with Batman standing on top of a high building staring down at the city was filmed with a stuntman. And it really works, the Batmobile actually interacts with it's environment, and looks so much better real than computer generated. But don't think that the film will come across as too serious and stuffy because of Nolan's realism - true, Gotham seems too dark and dirty to come across as a fantasy world, but Batman Begins retains that unmistakable sense of fun that seems to only be present in comic book movies. We jeer and fear the villains, and cheer the hero as he lays his life on the line to vanquish evil and save the city. And that is how it should be. There's even a surprising twist near the end, which is doubly surprising because it actually comes as a shock. What's not to love here?
(and, further cudos to director Nolan for finally managing to make a swarm of bats actually frightening for once)
Overall, I'd have to label Batman Begins 'The must see movie of the summer' - it's a well written, authoritatively directed, impeccably acted (especially by Bale's powerhouse lead performance and Cillian Murphy's sickly menacing Scarecrow) and very high quality production. Indeed, most other summer blockbusters could learn a thing or two from Batman Begins. If the Batman franchise died under it's own gaudiness years ago, let us rejoice this glorious rebirth - Batman truly does begin here.
Christian Bale plays Bruce/Batman as a dull, slow-witted man with a bit of a speech impediment or mouth problem -- I can't tell -- or, maybe, it's Bale himself who has some sort of speaking impediment or mouth problem. In the comics Batman is highly intelligent but that certainly doesn't come across in this movie.
Anyway, this movie was alright -- you couldn't tell from this film that the next movie, The Dark Knight, would be a steaming pile of something-one-million-times-worse-than-crap-and-vomit-and-cancer-blended-together.
Morgan Freeman plays the token black guy who is a sidekick to the white lead character, which is a cliche in almost all TV shows and movies these days.