#385/#102 Batman Begins
When billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) witnesses the death of his parents as a child, he begins a journey that sends him to the ends of the earth in search of training so that he can ultimately return to Gotham City and take up the mantle of the Batman.
This film came at just the right time to keep the Batman movie franchise going. The terrible memories of Batman and Robin were still fairly fresh in the minds of the movie going public so Warner Brothers decided to take a chance, giving this franchise to Christopher Nolan and allowing him to go in an unproven direction. This has paid out wonderfully for everyone involved. Nolan getting to do more kickass films (including getting Inception green-lit as one of the eventual benefits), the studio raking in the cash and the public getting a batman series worth watching.
Batman Begins gave us something we hadn’t really gotten before. It gave us a superhero movie rooted in the real world and it provided the first worthwhile film version of Batman’s origins. All previous attempts either only mentioned his parents deaths in passing or showed some brief flashbacks. This film shows us the origins, the training and the resolve Wayne had to obtain before becoming the dark knight, making it a strong movie and an even stronger first part of an eventual trilogy.
One of the strongest elements of this movie was the casting with Bale handling the duel roles of Wayne and Batman fantastically, truly showing how one became the other over time. Silly Batman voice but you can see what he was trying to do with it. Additionally, Micheal Caine and Morgan Freeman both add an element of humour to these fairly dark films and Gary Oldman (while a little lacking this time around) does establish himself to be a larger part of the next. Liam Neeson also handles his role well, portraying a believable mentor figure and yet an equally calculated villain. The only weak link overall, I think was Katie Holmes as Rachel. There’s nothing wrong with her performance but her role could have been filled by any competent actress and nothing would be missed.
This is going long so I’ll just say the direction, the effects, the stunts, the action, the sets, the cinematography and the music are all equally as engaging as the actors in this picture and that they all come together to make a fantastic overall product. This film is only marred by the fact that its sequel shines so brightly that it pales in comparison. 4.5/5