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Batman Begins Review

Published June 17, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Warner Bros
Batman Begins Batman Begins
I recently had the pleasure of viewing Christopher Nolan's latest, dark, creation titled Batman Begins. Entering the theatre I do admit that I have grown accustomed to seeing the Marvel logo flip on the screen before comic book adaptations. You know, the one that looks like pages are flipping through a comic book and the name 'MARVEL' slowly appears amidst the drawings.

Well, this comic adaptation did not start like this. Instead, I found myself watching what looked to be tons of spotlights that slowly clustered and swung to form the logo for DC Comics. Immediately after seeing this logo I was impressed with how cool, and dark, it was; leaving me with this question-- was this logo any indication on how cool or dark Batman Begins was going to be?

Batman Begins- The Plot

Yes! Batman Begins is a return to the dark film noir experienced in the original Batman starring Michael Keaton. However, Batman Begins pushes the darkness a step further with its new star Christian Bale. Unlike the original Batman, Batman Begins takes us all the way to the beginning of Bruce Wayne, including a visit in on Bruce during his college days as he still attempts to find himself among the tragedy of his parents' murder years before.

We now get to see the exact steps that converted Bruce Wayne to the notorious costumed crime fighter known throughout Gotham as Batman. How did Bruce Wayne learn to fight? How old was Bruce Wayne when he begun his strategy against crime? Where the hell did Bruce Wayne get all of those cool toys? All of these questions, and more, are answered in Batman Begins.

Batman Begins Bruce Wayne undergoes training from an ancient vigilante group.
Batman Begins does not follow a single timeline, but rather tells the story of Bruce Wayne through flashbacks for about the first half of the movie. Yes, it takes about half of the film for Bruce Wayne [Christian Bale] to fully evolve into Batman. The first hour plus is all about the story of Bruce and the steps he took to train and fight crime. After the first half of the film, the story becomes more parallel and we journey with Bruce as he attempts to play the billionaire playboy role while trying to defeat forces such as Jonathan 'The Scarecrow' Crane [Cillian Murphy], Ducard [Liam Neeson], Ra's Al Ghul [Ken Watanabe], and Carmine Falcone [Tom Wilkinson]. All of whom have some connection to one another.

Batman Begins- The Movie

Batman Begins is dark, very dark. This film is probably the most unique comic book adaptation I have ever seen. When Christian Bale is growing up or playing the role of Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins runs like a standard well-written drama. However, when Bruce Wayne puts on the mask, this film turns dark and dirty. In the original Batman with Michael Keaton, Tim Burton works to show that the number one weapon employed by Batman is fear. After the original film, no other Batman movie looked back on this technique in any significant way.

Christopher Nolan, known for films such as Memento, brings the Batman story back to the darkness and back to where fear is the greatest weapon of all. In Batman Begins, we encounter Bruce Wayne as an excellent warrior, even though Batman works to never attack his opponents directly. Instead, he strikes and disappears, strikes again, and then disappears again. This tactic was awesome and terrifying!

Batman Begins Batman Begins
When Batman is forced to fight groups hand to hand, the fighting in Batman Begins is reminiscent of a bar fight, with each blow showing skull crunching force. The fighting is gritty and fits the look of the overall film perfectly. The only problem is that this gritty-ness sometimes causes the fight scenes to occur too fast or look slightly disoriented. However, I want to go back to the fact that Batman Begins is more about the fear instilled upon villains rather than outright fighting.

Another nice aspect to Batman Begins is that Christopher Nolan has no problem throwing in other exciting moments such as the best Batmobile chase in all of the Batman films. Imagine watching the Batmobile jump rooftop to rooftop as Batman tries to elude police. There were so many cool scenes in this chase alone that it would take a couple paragraphs to try to name them all.

Batman Begins definitely has the proper fill of action and suspense, but there is so much more to it than that. The film probably boasts some of the best written dialogue [mind the one-liners] in any comic book adaptation. The first half of the film has such good dialogue that I found it hard to believe I was watching a comic book movie. Batman Begins was written for adults with the standards laid down for that type of viewership. However, any age should greatly enjoy this film.

Batman Begins also boasts an impressive cast that includes Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Sara Stewart, and Richard Brake. All of the cast play their part perfectly, and I hope that I can see a return from each one of these actors for the sequel.

If you are a fan of movie music-- the soundtrack for Batman Begins, composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, was a nice mix with its, at times, over dramatic themes to accompany the progress of the dark knight.

Final Judgment: Batman Begins represents the successful return of Batman as the caped crusader. If this Batman were to ever run into the Batman's of the last two films, he would probably kick their fruity asses till they couldn't tell which way was up. Christian Bale has impressed me in just about every film he has done, with Batman Begins being no different. Now that the franchise has been saved, bring on the sequel.

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros

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