I went to see Batman Begins the other night with my girlfriend. We’d been hearing good things, and are both fans of Batman. I, because Batman doesn’t have super powers… he’s just a human who’s that good (very cool), and Sarah, because Batman is, well, hot (yeah, I can’t argue with that).
Batman Begins is, without question, the best Batman movie yet. Directed by my second favorite director, Christopher Nolan (Following, Memento, Insomnia), Batman Begins is a fresh look at the franchise that completely eschews the camp silliness of previous installments. You’ll find no Joker character laughing manically and making groan-worthy jokes. The bad guys in Batman Begins are bad. You can practically feel the evil seeping out their pores.
The cast is top-notch. Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) plays Dr. Jonathan Crane, a character simultaneously beautiful, captivating, and utterly frightening. Michael Caine plays the character of Alfred with the perfect blend of fatherly affection and butler-ly disdain for Bruce Wayne’s violent escapades. Liam Neeson appears as Ducard, the man who trains Wayne, creating the skills necessary for him to become Batman. Katie Holmes plays Rachel Dawes, part love-interest, part moral voice to Wayne. Gary Oldman turns in an expectedly solid performance as Jim Gordon, Batman’s police “in.” Tom Wilkinson, who never fails to impress me, plays the mob boss Carmine Falcone, in a performance that I particularly enjoyed. Morgan Freeman, an asset to any film, plays a small role as Lucius Fox, who is to Bruce Wayne as “Q” is to James Bond. Finally, Christian Bale plays the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman perfectly.
The best line of the movie comes after hard-working D.A. Rachel Dawes (Wayne’s childhood sweetheart) encounters playboy Bruce Wayne wandering out of a hotel, dripping wet, with a European bimbo on each arm. He tries to explain it away, after she shames him with her talk of fighting corruption in the justice system of the city by saying that all of “this” isn’t who he really is. Dawes replies, “deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be… but it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.” Knife. In. Heart.
Honestly, the only real fault I can find with the movie is that the fight sequences are disorienting. It effectively communicates that Batman is swift and takes his enemies by surprise, but I’d rather feel like a spectator than one of his enemies as I watch him fight. Minor quibble, really.
You owe it to yourself to go see this one. It’s rated PG-13, but you might want to leave the kids home. The “Scarecrow” scenes are rather frightening, and the whole movie is very dark and not really kid-friendly.