Saturday, July 19, 2008

Batman Begins (2005)

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Batman Begins came out in 2005 and made a stir among its guaranteed audience, the legion of comic book and video game fans, but wasn't a huge hit because of its dark, nature, favoring dialogue and realistic action to the bombast action and explosions of all the previous Batman and other superhero movies. For the same reason it wasn't a blockbuster, Batman Begins developed a somewhat cult following as a truly good film, not just a box-office hit. One thing is for sure, upon its release Batman Begins was the best Batman film of all time and is solely responsible for the mega-hit Dark Knight which was to follow. Director Christopher Nolan, who gained acclaim for his 2000 thriller Memento, took the groundwork laid by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher for the first four Batman movies and threw it in the garbage, starting anew at the most appropriate place, the beginning. Whereas previous directors framed the saga of Batman within a theme park, thrill ride atmosphere, Nolan gives Batman, the only superhero without superpowers, the realistic treatment he deserves. Gone is the superfluous action and slapstick humor and silliness, as Nolan welcomes accomplished actors such as Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, and more into the story. Batman Begins chronicles Bruce Wayne's metamorphosis into the Dark Knight, starting with scenes that we have seen in other movies and culminating in his pursuit of justice in Gotham City. Christian Bale, one of truly great actors in Hollywood, is a perfect for Batman and dons the Batsuit with more authenticity than anyone to date. He is surrounded by a plethora of solid actors, all of whom (disregarding Katie Holmes as childhood friend and love interest Rachel Dawes) deliver rock-solid performances. The script is sharp and the only action is what is absolutely necessary, but the strongest point of the film is the astounding depth, particularly for a superhero film. Batman Begins pays homage to the true essence of the original comic, exploring the nature of vigilante justice, crime, punishment, terror, and order and uses the Dark Knight as a metaphor for these deep and complex issues. The use of the Scarecrow, although played devilishly by Cilian Murphy, may disappoint some as Scarecrow is one of the less exciting on the remarkable list of Batman villains. Batman Begins isn't perfect and has some of the comic book film cliches that are nearly impossible to avoid, but Christopher Nolan took a big chance, reinventing Batman in the dark world of Gotham City with great actors, a realistic perspective, and an honest look into pertinent issues.

Good for: Batman fans, fans of the original comic, Bale fans

Bad for: action movie fans

The Gallery
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The Film Maker: * * *
The Writer * * * *

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