Batman Begins is one of my all time favourite movies and a great redemption for the character of Batman after Schumacher all but destroyed the franchise.
Plot: After training with his mentor, Batman begins his war on crime to free the crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption that the Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it.
Review: Controversial this may be but not only is Batman Begins my favourite superhero movie but I prefer it to The Dark Knight. Why? Because it focuses directly on Bruce Wayne/Batman and the villains take a back seat for once. It tells the story of Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming the Caped Crusader and explores his psyche so we understand why he wants to undertake this penance.
Its main inspirations were The Long Halloween, Haunted Knight and Dark Victory, with a little bit of Batman: Year One thrown in for good measure. I find it odd when people say Nolan ruined superhero movies whenever this is arguably the most faithful comic adaptation to date. The Dark Knight also takes elements from from these stories creating an over-arcing narrative to tell the rise and fall of Harvey Dent.
Bale was born for this role despite developing a chesty throat for TDK, but his voice as Batman in this is great with his delivery of lines “SWEAR TO ME!” proving effective.
All of the supporting cast are excellent with Michael Caine’s moving portrayal of Alfred further cementing his name as a legend. Liam Neeson arguably gives the performance of his career; you actually empathize with him even at the end as he may just have a point.
The real discovery in Begins though is Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. You wouldn’t even know he’s from Dublin with his perfect American accent but he makes the role his own with his super creepy eyes and a presence that remains unsettling. I like how even uses dialogue from the comics too; “Dr. Crane isn’t here at the moment but if you’d like to make an appointment…” If memory serves me correctly, that was from Dark Victory, which is one of my favourite Batman stories.
This is the first Batman movie where you feel genuine emotion for the character of Bruce Wayne; the scene after his parents are murdered “I miss them Alfred, I miss them so much” was extremely moving and you immediately want him to don the cape and kick every criminal’s ass.
The Batman himself is at his best in this movie as he is scary as hell; you fully understand why criminals would be terrified at the sight of him as he is close to being batshit crazy (literally).
The soundtrack is also excellent and introduces a cool new Hans Zimmer theme tune which disappeared for the sequel; rather than an out and out theme tune, the music actually sounds like wings flapping and creates a really menacing vibe. I do however, far prefer the music to Tim Burton’s Batman as it has an iconic theme tune which is dark and yet heroic at the same time, capturing the essence of the character perfectly.
In terms of flaws one could say that the action/fight scenes are cut a little too fast and it’s difficult to make out what is happening but as Nolan describes, he wanted to show the threat of violence; it isn’t glamorous or fun but it actually is scary and has consequences. Katie Holmes is also a poor choice as Rachel; her deliver of some lines fails to convince especially when during one scene she answers a mobile phone and waits 1.5 seconds before responding. I’m pretty sure the other person who called her got to say “Hello…” before getting interrupted by her.
Overall, Batman Begins is one of my all time favourite movies and a great redemption for the character of Batman after Schumacher all but destroyed the franchise.