Batman Begins

Evil fears the knight.

Action Crime Drama
140 min     7.7     2005     United Kingdom

Overview

Driven by tragedy, billionaire Bruce Wayne dedicates his life to uncovering and defeating the corruption that plagues his home, Gotham City. Unable to work within the system, he instead creates a new identity, a symbol of fear for the criminal underworld - The Batman.

Reviews

John Chard wrote:
It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me. Bruce Wayne is constantly tortured by his childhood memories when he witnessed his parents being murdered. Taken under the wing of The League Of Shadows, a deadly ninja assassin army devoted to erasing crime with their own brand of harsh justice. After completing training, Wayne refuses to join them on account of not agreeing with their methods, he returns to Gotham City to reek his own one man war against crime. Director Christopher Nolan literally goes back to Batman origins to not just give the dead franchise a kiss of life, but actually to spark it into a sort of triumphant homecoming. Gone is all forms of camp veneer so evident in Joel Schumacher's offerings, and in place we have a darkly rich picture intent on fleshing out Batman's motives, and crucially, his fractured persona. One of the most pleasing things to me was that Nolan paced this picture to perfection, the build up of character, and then birth of the Bat, dominates for practically the first hour of the piece. This gives Batman Begins some crucial heart, it really helps us to focus on this weird super-hero now that we have some meat on his bones. We then follow Wayne from a Chinese prison to The League Of Shadows monastery, watching his transformation from brawling man of anger into a controlled fighting machine. A machine that still roams with a revenge laden heart. Then its to Gotham City where he then births Batman and all bad guys are on his agenda. Mob boss Falcone, the mysterious Scarecrow, and also a face from his past that rears its surprising head. Wayne is driven by powerful motives, and it's here in the second part of the film that Batman Begins rewards those who indulged in the character build up. In come the stunts and outrageous sequences, all played out in Nolan's desperately dank Gotham City (a far cry from Tim Burton's dark Oz like scapes). This Gotham is pot boiling to disaster and is crying out for the Bat to sweep all before it, and thankfully Nolan and his cast fulfil all the early promise to deliver a wonderful action fantasy that caters for all ages. Christian Bale dons the Batsuit and it fits like a glove, his Bruce Wayne may lack the ebullient charisma that Michael Keaton's had, but his Batman is mean and moody and comfortable with the zippy dialogue. Michael Caine plays Alfred the loyal servant to the Wayne family, much heart and emotive drive from Caine ensures the role is a roaring success. Cillian Murphy is Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow who actually scares more as Crane with his piercing eyes and devilishly smirky leer, whilst both Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon) & Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) are solid with what little they actually have to do. Liam Neeson gets his teeth into a meaty role as Henri Ducard, and as a character arc he gets the best scenes (Nolan clearly having great fun here). Minnor let downs to me without hurting the picture are Katie Holmes (pretty but hardly convincing as Assistant D.A. Rachael Dawes) and Rutger Hauer as Earle (a little bit of menace wouldn't go amiss here Rutger old man). Still, as I said they are very minor let downs because as comic book adaptations go, Batman Begins is from the top draw, a franchise re-suited, rebooted and completely reinvigorated. But now the test comes with that all important sequel... 9/10
molleigh wrote:
i'm beginning to think people only say a movie is good because of it being long and having a good camera. to me the only highlight was cillian murphy's performance. the rest of this was just some dumb, boring trek.
NoxiousScythe wrote:
Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" shows us exactly how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) transforms into the caped crusader we all know and love, Batman. Admittedly like many others, even though this is the first entry in the Dark Knight Trilogy, I watched it is as my last one, and that is due to me not even knowing of it's existence, which is thanks to it being heavily overshadowed by the critically acclaimed sequel, "The Dark Knight." Batman Begins has a simple plot to follow full of twists. A young Bruce Wayne travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. Ducard later reveals the true purpose of the League, the complete destruction of Gotham City as they feel it is an unjust cesspool full of criminals that is too far gone to be saved and must be cleansed to preserve their duty and for justice and balance to be restored. Bruce does not agree with the League's morals and returns to Gotham on his own determined to clean up the crime-ridden and corrupted city without resorting to murder. With the help of his loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born. The number one takeaway from this film that I did not experience as much in any other Batman movie, was that it really makes you care and feel compassion towards Bruce Wayne himself, not the masked vigilante he disguises himself as. The real Bruce is tragic, realistic, relatable, quite unstable, and frankly doesn't know what his purpose is or what he should be doing with himself. This is the origin story, and you get to first hand see the traumatic events that turned him into the lonely, guilt ridden bitter man you see today. His feelings and actions are completely justified, and I've gained a lot of respect for the character. Now this is a dark, gritty and mature film clearly made for adult fans, do not expect the colorful, campy comic book styled "Joel Schumacher" treatment here, this is going to get real, real fast. I can and do appreciate the attempt to not be a generic superhero film and head towards the crime drama genre, and don't get me wrong it's a great movie, but there a few issues that keep it from being perfect movie status like the sequel in my books. It was maybe a bit too serious for it's own good, and ends up being so focused on becoming an art piece that it almost stops being fun. Primary antagonist Ra's al Ghul is great, but secondary villain Dr. Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) has an apparent lack of quality visual effects and proper screen time. The long run time was not wasted, but they probably did not need to include so many side characters, world building and lore into what could have been a quicker, neat, well done origin story. Overall I liked and can get behind Batman Begins, I do not think it's the best in the "Dark Knight Trilogy," but it's a top quality film on it's own accord especially if I stop comparing too much. This film delivers a uniquely cold, cruel, and memorable experience that will make you see and appreciate Bruce Wayne and his Batman persona from a completely new perspective.

Cast

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