"Batman Begins" Film Review

Batman Begins (2005) - IMDb

"Batman Begins" Film Review

Rating: 5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Batman has had a bunch of hits and misses in its filmography. Tim Burton crafted two very good films about the Caped Crusader, with Joel Schumacher coming in to create one mediocre and one horrendous film right after. After "Batman & Robin", which practically was a death sentence for the character. up and coming director Christopher Nolan decided he wanted to give this franchise a shot, rebooting the franchise with Christian Bale taking over the mantle of Bruce Wayne. I'm sure fans and audiences were worried when this film was announced due to how bad the last two films were, but Nolan shocked everyone by crafting a fantastic superhero origin story, with an amazingly written screenplay and great performances, especially by Bale. 

    Bruce Wayne lost his parents when he was very young, in a random shooting after attending a show. Because of this, it caused the young billionaire to start acting out, trying to find where he fits into society in Gotham while also being consumed by rage and vengeance for what happened. He voluntarily goes to a Bhutan prison to train, and he meets a man named Ducard (Liam Neeson) while he is there. He introduces him to Ra's Al-Ghul and the League of Shadows, promising to train him and he can then join among their ranks. 

    However, he learns that the League has ulterior motives for Gotham, ones that Bruce cannot get behind. Because of that, he burns down their temple and goes back to Gotham to live with the butler that raised him after his parent's untimely demise, Alfred (Michael Caine). Bruce decides he is going to assume the moniker of Batman, donning the leather suit to fight crime around Gotham and rid the world of people similar to the man that murdered his parents. Now, Bruce must figure out a balance between his personal life, made even more complicated by the return of romantic interest Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and the life of a vigilante fighting crime. 

    This is how you do an origin story. Nolan and his partner David S. Goyer craft a brilliant screenplay and story that explain how Batman came to be. In the other films we have received about the caped crusader, we just go in knowing Bruce Wayne is Batman and his parents were murdered. This film, however, really cracks open Bruce's psyche and shows why he does what he does. In doing this, they perhaps craft the best Bruce Wayne we have ever seen. 

    The other forms of this character, played to this point by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney, are incredibly charming and charismatic. They act like nothing is wrong with the character, and that he is this happy-go-lucky guy who fights crime on the side. This Bruce Wayne is demented. He is full of rage and vengeance, wanting to kill the people who took away the things most important to him. Bale plays him with charm as well, but you can tell there is something deeper down in this character; he really makes him three-dimensional here. 

    Because of this, Nolan made the characters around to him change based on Bruce's personality. Consider the character of Alfred, who Caine plays perfectly here. Alfred has always been the yes-man to Bruce in the other films, going along with whatever his employer wanted and not batting an eye. Alfred here is more headstrong and will stand up to Bruce. There are a few times throughout the movie where he tells Bruce how it is, and won't back down if Bruce is acting like a pompous ass. The same can be said for Holmes Rachel and Gary Oldman's James Gordon, who I liked that we got to see a lot more of throughout this film. 

    Nolan brings the darkness and seriousness back to the world of Batman, which I think pays off greatly. In my opinion, the campiness of the previous films didn't really do Batman justice, and Nolan is able to put him back where he rightfully belongs. This is made more evident by the inclusion of the terrifying Scarecrow, played very well by Cillian Murphy. Nolan sets up this world that is different from any other Gotham we have ever seen before, and I'm all for it. From the cinematography to the set design, the film brings the viewer in and immerses them for the entire 2 plus hour runtime. 

    Christopher Nolan revived the Batman franchise in such a powerful way. This launched Nolan and Bale into superstar status, and for very good reason. Not only do I think this is one of the best Batman movies that have been made, but I easily think it's also one of the best superhero origin stories we have ever seen. It sort of makes me wish Warner Bros. forgot about the franchise after "Batman Returns", allowing Nolan to come in and reboot it without releasing the bad Batman films we had to suffer through.