The Reviewing Network’s Favorite Movies #23: Batman Begins

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When his parents were killed, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) relocates to Asia when he is mentored by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) and Ra’s Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) in how to fight evil. When learning about the plan to wipe out evil in Gotham City by Ducard, Bruce prevents this plan from getting any further and heads back to his home. Back in his original surroundings, Bruce adopts the image of a bat to strike fear into the criminals and the corrupt as the icon known as ‘Batman’. But it doesn’t stay quiet for long. The rest of the cast include Michael Caine as Alfred, Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, Gary Oldman as Officer Jim Gordon, Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane (a.k.a. Scarecrow), Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Talk about a great return to form for Batman following the abysmal Batman & Robin with the right people to take this comic book universe and make it not only appear to be realistic on the big screen but to also make these characters exist in the real world and make it seem plausible.

Watching the origins of how Bruce Wayne came to be Batman is pretty fascinating to watch and see the evolution of this normal guy who lost his parents who would later become the slick badass we know as Batman.

Christian Bale does a great Bruce Wayne and of all three Batman movies he appeared in, actually makes Batman actually sound like how Batman should sound and not making him sound like he’s smoked a huge pack of Marlboros. I mean, just watch this scene and prove that I’m wrong:

Granted, that was basically Bruce telling Rachel, “Yeah, I’m Batman.” but honestly, that voice he gives is much better and more properly handled than the one he gives in the later films. On top of that, it’s Christian Bale being the badass actor that we’ve come to respect him for over the years. While Michael Keaton or Kevin Conroy will stand as the ultimate Batman, Christian Bale, at least in this first film, manages to pull it off very well.

Liam Nesson and Cillian Murphy make for really good villains in this film that goes back to having two villains with Liam Nesson’s Ra’s Al Guhl and Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow, both of them are very effective villains and carry a lot of what makes them great villains in the comics and in the animated adaptations.

Michael Caine’s Alfred is a much more developed and more emotional interpretation of Bruce’s butler than what we had seen in any previous adaptation. Here, he treats Bruce like his son obviously because he realizes that he’s the only family that Bruce has left. Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox is perfectly handled the only way Morgan Freeman can bring to a role like this and do I really need to say anything more about Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, he’s incredible and aside from Bale gives the other strongest performance in the movie.

And then we come to everybody’s big question mark when it comes to this film, Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Some people like her, some people hate her. Me personally, I thought she was good in the movie. I think she gets all this negativity in whatever film she’s in because of her being married to Tom Cruise and honestly, that’s a really dumb excuse. Holmes is a good actress but I wouldn’t say she’s on the level of somebody like Jennifer Lawrence or Julia Roberts. I think she’s a decent actress who’s been in some decent stuff like Pieces Of April, Wonder Boys, The Gift, The Singing Detective and Thank You For Smoking. And here, she’s doing the job she’s suppose to be doing. She’s being the damsel-in-distress but at the same time, tries to be above the normal damsel-in-distress that we’re used to seeing. And it’s not like her acting is terrible in this but I will agree that Maggie Gyllenhaal was a better Rachel than Holmes is.

The action scenes in this are shot beautifully are incredibly well-handled by director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister. The action sequences are all great, there’s a lot of good tension and it’s all perfectly handled keeping you on the edge of your seat with every scene.

The script by Nolan and Davis S. Goyer does a good job of giving us everything we want to see in a Batman movie without overdoing it.

And the music is just awesome, nothing comes close to the great Batman theme by Danny Elfman but Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s came pretty damn close:

I mean, what else do I need to say that hasn’t been said already, it’s fucking awesome.

Batman Begins did a much better job of rebooting a superhero and changing certain parts of the story of how Batman came to be without letting go of what makes the Batman character such a fascinating character. And also packing on a really great cast that work really well off each other. A lot of great action, good characters, great music, it’s a great, great superhero movie and one of my all time favorite movies.

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