Review of 'Batman Begins'

batman_begins.jpg “Batman Begins” begins, unsurprisingly, with a flashback where a young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale as an adult, Gus Lewis as an 8 year old) falls down a well in the backyard of his mansion home. His father rescues him and encourages him to pick himself up and keep trying. Older we see that Wayne has not gotten over this encounter as well as the murder of his parents as he is captive in a Chinese prison. Seeing off an attack from his fellow inmates and put in solitary confinement Wayne is set free by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) who offers Wayne a spot in the “League of Shadows” – a collective of vigilantes and assassins – if he can prove his worth by picking a flower on the slopes of a nearby mountain then climb it. Here he discovers a massive complex where he meets Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe), the head of the league. After training by Ducard, Wayne finds it difficult to commit himself to the ultimate aims of the League and returns to Gotham to join the fight on ever-increasing crime there headed up by gang boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). He will need the resources of Wayne Enterprises, now in the hands of William Earle (Rutger Hauer), the technical expertise of it's Applied Sciences Department and family friend Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), the resourcefullness of long-suffering Wayne family butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) as well as policeman James Gordon (Gary Oldman) to tackle the troubles of Gotham. Little does Wayne know that even the very existence of Gotham is threatened with the arrival of his former mentor Ducard…

An amazing looking piece of film-making that takes the Batman character in a different direction than the previous films as it attempts to explain how Batman came to be and what his motivations are. The set pieces are absolutely amazing particularly the monorail race through the city and the battle sequence in the monastery - Very close-in fight sequences that are blindingly quick and amazingly entertaining to watch. Of course, it would not be a Batman flick without the incredible gadgets and this film is no exception with the introduction of the “Tumbler” as Batman's vehicle of choice - Part Hummer, part quad-cycle, this behemoth is a marvel to behold and truly unique, a fitting addition to the gadget collection of this superhero. Some of the scenes are obviously performed on a set but for many others it is hard to tell with beautifully choreographed action and wonderfully realised sets with an incredible amount of detail. A lot of money was spent here and it is clear to see why - Batman's new suit looks great, allowing him to be far more brooding much like the source material of the comics.

The cast is stellar though let down by the fairly wooden Bale who seems to have very few expressions, except perhaps a perpetual one of slight amusement, but certainly handles himself well in the action sequences. Caine is absolutely wonderful as Alfred showing a humanity that Wayne lacks and bringing a welcome air of lightness to what is otherwise a fairly heavy and dark movie.

Good fun and a great addition to the film history of Batman. Lots of action with a satisfying conclusion. OF course, next up after this is an encounter with the greatest of Batman's villains…The Joker.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-06-08

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Studio: Warner Bros.

Year: 2005

Length: 140 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Christopher Nolan: