Road to TDKR: Batman Begins Review

 Batman Begins1 Road to TDKR: Batman Begins Review

 After the infamous Batman and Robin back in 1997, the Caped Crusader went dark for nearly a decade on the film front, even before Batman Begins came out there were several attempts at Warner Bros. to revive the franchise, from another Shumacher film with a darker tone, to the futuristic Batman Beyond, to Frank Millers classic Batman: Year One and even a Batman VS Superman film, all of these attempts obviously failed but in 2005 Batman came back on the big screen and started a legend.

Batman Begins is an extraordinary film in its own right, despite having an extremely poor marketing campaign, the movie won several awards, gained critical and commercial success and brought Batman back in a new darker, more realistic universe. Now with the Dark Knight Rises just a mere week away, its time to see how well this movie holds up 7 years later.

I would be lying to you guys if I didn’t tell you right of the bat (pun intended) that this in my opinion is the best Batman origin story ever created. The movie did everything for me on the origin story front. It gave us a look into Bruces life before the murder of his parents, it showed us his relationship with them and how much he really loved them. It showed a teenage Bruce who actually wanted to murder Joe Chill himself but eventually ran away from Gotham to travel the world so that he could understand the criminal mind and their world.

What makes this movie great as an origin story is that it adds elements to further deepen the character himself, he has a phobia of bats, he has an already established relationship with a young Jim Gordon and most importantly its all about Batman. Where Year One really stumbles for me is that you never go into Batmans head and understand what drives him, the book later on just becomes Gordon Year One and Batman becomes a minor character.

Here we see that Batmans main drive isn’t to avenge his parents, he wants to inspire the good people of Gotham with extreme examples by dressing up as a bat and fighting the criminals who are destroying everything his parents stood for. It’s also a realistic take on Batman, he needs the help of allies like Lucius Fox to get his gadgets, suit and vehicles from, he actually works with the legal system by helping Rachel Daws (later Harvey Dent in Dark Knight) to make sure the criminals he fight stay locked up.

However his belief in the good people of Gotham inevitably puts him on the opposite side of the League of Shadows, a group if assassins who believe Gotham is beyond saving and must be destroyed, but even this is turned on its head because this isn’t just Batman vs Ras, its two men with different beliefs colliding and the fate of millions of people along with the future of an entire city on the line.

However all these themes couldn’t be explored if the cast was good, but Nolan got a AAA team together, considering how bleak the future looked for this movie im surprised big actors like Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Christian Bale would even agree to do this, but its a good thing they did because this would be a lesser film otherwise.

Christian Bale is the best live action Batman so far, he does the Bruce Wayne playboy persona perfectly while still being brooding and serious when he’s Batman, you can really see that he’s having fun doing this roles.

Michael Caine is also the best Alfred, he comes off as the wise old man who really cares for Bruce and he also doesn’t always agree with him, it’s these scenes that are really human because realistically these two shouldnt always agree on things.

Gary Oldman as James Gordon looks exactly like the Year One Gordon and he does the character justice, unlike in the comics, Gordon was always in Gotham and had to suffer for decades in a dead end job because he was one of the few good cops, he looks very sad and hopeless but his alliance with Batman gives him hope that things will get better.

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is also in a dead end job after also being one of the few people in Wayne Industries who wanted to preserve Thomas Waynes legacy, however his seemingly bad position lets him grant Bruce Wayne an assortment of weaponry, gadgets and vehicles, he’s very fun to watch and you don’t really know if he’s figured out who Batman is until the end.

Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow creeped me out, there was just something insanely disturbing about him and he looked like he was holding back until he could finally cut loose and fear gas people, he was a fantastic villain and was used sparingly as Scarecrow should be.

Liam Neeson as Ras al Ghul was the best possible villain for this reboot, he is the exact opposite of Bruce Wayne and while he did really care for his greatest student, his beliefs and mission came first but Nolan did give the two some quiet moments where they just talked and the two seemed like genuine friends before Bruce destroyed the League.

Katie Holmes was a great pick for Rachel and I really wish she came back for the sequel, she had an important role in Batmans life and they had some genuine chemistry, I really don’t understand why people hated her.

The city itself looks run down and like a nightmare to live in, the atmosphere is lifted straight from Batman TAS as everything has this noir kind of vibe to it in the real world, Nolans realism actually made me believe that Batman could exist in our world and the fact that there isn’t a shred of CGI in the film just show you how hard the team worked to make this all work.

The fight scenes while close up and slightly confusing make us the viewers fear Batman because the camera angles and quick shots of him fighting make him look as super natural to us as he is to the criminals. The score is haunting and its used sparingly, but when it does show up it further enhances the epic or emotional scenes.

The batsuit is the best one made yet and I also wish it came back for the sequel, all the gadgets look authentic and everyone one of them serves a purpose, batarangs are used as signs for people to know Batman was there, the grappling gun and cape make it seem like Batman is actually flying and the tumbler…. dude its a black tank that goes 600 miles per hour, with a cloaking device, rockets and it can jump off walls, how can you not want one?!

All in all, Batman Begins is the ultimate Batman movie and the best super hero origin story ever told and the Joker card in the end just made me geek out and instantly made hyped for the sequel.

Final Score: A+


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