Batman Begins Review
Christopher Nolan revived the character of Batman and Bruce Wayne after the train-wreck that was Batman & Robin.
Genre: Action / Crime / Drama
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson and Morgan Freeman.
Run Time: 140 min.
US Release: 15 June 2005
UK Release: 16 June 2005
German Release: 16 June 2005
With Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice arriving in theatres a mere two months from now, I decided to develop a series of reviews that will lead up to this film. It will Include Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and Snyder's Man of Steel, which I will post on my blog along the next two months. Kicking it off today, I will begin my series with what was considered a game changer in the adaptation of graphic novels, I will start with Batman Begins.
My personal history with Batman goes back to my childhood; he was my ultimate DC hero, just as Spider-Man was my hero of the Marvel comics. I had such love for the characters that my grandma used to make up Batman stories before putting me to bed. So when this movie was announced to screen in 2005, I was desperate to go see it in the cinemas. Sadly I did not go because none of my friends wanted to see it, however I bought it on DVD as soon as it was released!
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
When Bruce Wayne (Bale) loses his parents in a robbery gone wrong, his butler Alfred (Caine) takes on the role of his father. Years later, when the murderer of his parents is about to be released from prison in return for information on mob boss Carmine Falcone (Wilkinson), Bruce returns from University with revenge on his mind and set out to kill the man that shattered his childhood. But one of Falcone’s pawns shoots Chill right after the hearing, before Wayne has the chance to get anywhere near him.
Rachel Dawes, assistant attorney and childhood friend of Bruce, is disgusted by what he was about to do and shows him the real underworld of Gotham, ruled by Falcone who feeds on the fear of the citizens. Bruce leaves Gotham to train under Ra’s Al Ghul and comes back years later to save the city. He creates the Batman persona to share his fear of bats with his enemies and starts stirring up Gotham’s underworld, but as his quest begins an old friend reappears who is willing to destroy the city he swore to protect.
The script was heavily inspired by a set of comics, such as O’Neil and Giordano’s “The Man who Falls” or Loeb and Sale’s “The Long Halloween”. But Frank Miller’s Year One was the main basis for Batman Begins. Nolan wanted to create a more realistic and grittier Batman movie.
This film is an origin story done right, focusing more on the characters of Bruce Wayne rather than his alter ego. It is a psychological portrayal of the man who lost his parents at a very young age and his dealings with it. Nolan really manages to make the audience care for the character of Wayne and his relationship with butler Alfred.
It also explores the world around Batman like no other movie did before; Gotham and its underworld are organic and breathing parts of this action-drama. Wayne Enterprises feels like a real company with actual economic issues and the training with Ra’s and the League of Shadows was marvellous to witness. It was not simply a great Batman film, it was also a marvellous portrayal of a city that is rotting at its core and in desperate need of saving.
I loved how Nolan and Goyer introduced typical minor DC/Batman characters, such as Victor Zsasz or Barbara Gordon, in the most subtle way and without distracting from the main plot. Even Dr. Crane (aka The Scarecrow) was a mere side character that was used in a fantastic manner, with Cillian Murphy giving a great performance. I also thought that saving up the archenemy (Joker) for a later movie was a daring but genius move by Nolan, because this action-drama was a mere set up for something bigger to come.
This was Bruce Wayne’s film and Christian Bale gave a magnificent performance as a man who is torn between his anger, fear and moral compass. The decision to show the viewer Bruce’s relationship with his parents before their death, helped to give the character a much-needed depth. I also thought that Katie Holmes did a grand job as Rachel Dawes, old friend and love interest of Bruce.
Ra’s Al Ghul was the right choice as the main villain for this superhero flick, because after witnessing what Gotham is, the audience fully comprehends why he takes such drastic measures to destroy it. This was one of Neeson’s best performances and he fully sold the character of the Demon’s Head, making him real and threatening.
Michael Caine as Alfred was a brilliant casting choice! He made the man who stands by Bruce’s side to be much more than just a simple side character. Caine gave him depth and an emotional factor, which helped the audience care for him and his relationship with Bruce Wayne. Alfred was always a father figure for Wayne and Michael Caine reflects this well on screen. Morgan Freeman portrayed the side character of Lucius Fox and was another great addition to the cast that elevated this movie to new heights.
Batman Begins was shot in anamorphic 2.40 format and made extensive use of practical effects. The streets of Gotham look real, the viewer can nearly smell and feel the air of the city and Bruce’s training in Nepal did send cold chills down my back, as I witnessed Bale and Nesson train in a frozen tundra. The music composed by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard sounded epic, strong and dark. It suited the dramatic world of Gotham and Batman unbelievably well.
Verdict: This is one of my favourite trilogies of all time and Christopher Nolan simply got it right from the start. Batman Begins is a fantastic portrayal of a man who needs to overcome his anger and fears, to rise above everybody else and become the protector of his city. The cinematography, the story and the acting was close to being perfect, with just a few minor things that bothered me. I will therefore give it a 9.0 out of 10!
Thank you very much for reading my review for Batman Begins, if you found it helpful don’t forget to click like and share it with family and friends. So which Batman movie is your favourite? Leave a comment in the section below.