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Genius of mystery and intrigue Christopher Nolan (MEMENTO, FOLLOWING, INSOMNIA) helms this prequel to the Batman films based on the DC Comics series, explaining how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale)--the billionaire prince of Gotham whose parents were killed in an alleyway mugging--transformed into the crime-fighting superhero. With flashbacks to his privileged childhood, young Master Wayne, as he is called by the butler Alfred (Michael Caine), develops a terrible fear of bats when he falls through the backyard garden into a hidden cave. As a young adult, Wayne lives among the League of Shadows, a martial arts group in the mountains of Asia. His leaders Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) and Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) teach him strength, endurance, and--unfortunately--evil, against which he naturally rebels. Returning to Gotham and reinstating himself as a dapper socialite and the rightful heir to his parents' enterprise, Wayne quickly devises his secret identity, commanding help from the gadgetry expert Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). With one eye on his childhood playmate Rachel (Katie Holmes)--now a beautiful woman and dedicated lawyer--and the other on his mission to save Gotham from criminal corruption, Batman makes his fledgling debut. But when the blue-blooded mastermind Dr. Crane (Cillian Murphy)--who steals every scene with chilling menace--taints the water system with a hallucinatory substance, Batman realizes he has met his first true opponent. An attitude of grave seriousness elevates BATMAN BEGINS above more cartoony Batman movies, as Nolan crafts a dark drama that thrives on sci-fi intrigue. Bale strides into the role with grace, adding refinement that is seldom seen in action-oriented films. And while the action scenes explode with high-tech glitz and fast-moving thrills, they are evenly placed among sequences of plot and character development, making for a complex and satisfying viewing experience.
Director Nolan's "Batman Begins" doesn't disappoint while revealing how the orphaned billionaire, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), is so influenced by his parents' murders that he becomes an avenger of violent crimes: Batman, the dark-suited, noble knight of all super heroes.
Alfred, the most famous butler (Michael Caine), is largely responsible for mentoring the youngster, 'Master Wayne'. Flashbacks are strategically deployed to show that the boy fell into a bat-infested cave in his backyard in Gotham & developed a phobia. Yet, flashing forward to Wayne the man, reveals he temporarily hung-out in Asian mountains, where he was influenced by the League of Shadows' leaders, Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) & Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe), who trained him to use martial arts for evil purposes.
After rebelling against their use of evil, Wayne goes home to Gotham & develops dual identities: his public persona's the business-like billionaire, while privately he becomes the masked crusader. Batman's goal is to cleanse Gotham of criminal activity.
With the help of police officer, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) & a genuis with technology, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Batman & Bale hit their strides taking on nefarious characters such as mafia don Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilinson), twisted physician & drug dealer Dr. Jonathan 'The Scarecrow' Crane (Cillian Murphy) & a mystery villian lurking in the shadows waiting to strike, who's all too knowledgable about Wayne.
Superb fantasy story & character role playing cast make the film worth seeing once~
Batman Begins discards the previous four films in the series and recasts the Caped Crusader as a fearsome avenging angel. That's good news, because the series, which had gotten off to a rousing start under Tim Burton, had gradually dissolved into self-parody by 1997's Batman & Robin. As the title implies, Batman Begins tells the story anew, when Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) flees Western civilization following the murder of his parents. He is taken in by a mysterious instructor named Ducard (Liam Neeson in another mentor role) and urged to become a ninja in the League of Shadows, but he instead returns to his native Gotham City resolved to end the mob rule that is strangling it. But are there forces even more sinister at hand?
Cowritten by the team of David S. Goyer (a veteran comic book writer) and director Christopher Nolan (Memento), Batman Begins is a welcome return to the grim and gritty version of the Dark Knight, owing a great debt to the graphic novels that preceded it. It doesn't have the razzle dazzle, or the mass appeal, of Spider-Man 2 (though the Batmobile is cool), and retelling the origin means it starts slowly, like most "first" superhero movies. But it's certainly the best Bat-film since Burton's original, and one of the best superhero movies of its time. Bale cuts a good figure as Batman, intense and dangerous but with some of the lightheartedness Michael Keaton brought to the character. Michael Caine provides much of the film's humor as the family butler, Alfred, and as the love interest, Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) is surprisingly believable in her first adult role. Also featuring Gary Oldman as the young police officer Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman as a Q-like gadgets expert, and Cillian Murphy as the vile Jonathan Crane. A great addition to your collection.
'Batman Begins" at last penetrates to the dark and troubled depths of the Batman legend, creating a superhero who, if not plausible, is at least persuasive as a man driven to dress like a bat and become a vigilante. The movie doesn't simply supply Batman's beginnings in the tradition of a comic book origin story, but explores the tortured path that led Bruce Wayne from a parentless childhood to a friendless adult existence. The movie is not realistic, because how could it be, but it acts as if it is.
Opening in a prison camp in an unnamed nation, "Batman Begins" shows Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) enduring brutal treatment as a prisoner, as part of his research into the nature of evil. He is rescued by the mysterious Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), who appoints himself Wayne's mentor, teaches him sword-fighting and mind control, and tries to enlist him in his amoral League of Shadows ("We burned London to the ground").
When Wayne refuses to kill someone as a membership requirement, Ducard becomes his enemy; the reclusive millionaire returns to Gotham City determined to fight evil, without realizing quite how much trouble he is in.
The story of why he identifies with bats (childhood trauma) and hates evildoers (he saw his parents killed by a mugger) has been referred to many times in the various incarnations of the Batman legend, including four previous films. This time, it is given weight and depth. Wayne discovers in Gotham that the family Wayne Corp. is run by a venal corporate monster (Rutger Hauer), but that in its depths labors the almost forgotten scientific genius Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), who understands Wayne wants to fight crime and offers him the weaponry.
Lucius happens to have on hand a prototype Batmobile, which unlike the streamlined models in the earlier movies, is a big, unlovely juggernaut that looks like a Humvee's wet dream. He also devises a bat-cape with surprising properties.
These preparations, Gotham crime details and the counsel of the faithful servant Alfred (Michael Caine) delay the actual appearance of Batman until the second act of the movie. We don't mind. Unlike the earlier films, which delighted in extravagant special-effects action, "Batman Begins" is shrouded in shadow; instead of high-detail, sharp-edged special effects, we get obscure developments in fog and smoke, reinforced by a superb sound-effects design. And Wayne himself is a slow learner, clumsy at times, taking foolish chances, inventing Batman as he goes along.
This is at last the Batman movie I've been waiting for. The character resonates more deeply with me than the other comic superheroes, perhaps because when I discovered him as a child, he seemed darker and more grown-up than the cheerful Superman. He has secrets. As Alfred muses: "Strange injuries and a nonexistent social life. These things beg the question, what does Bruce Wayne do with his time?"
What he does is create a high profile as a millionaire playboy who gets drunk and causes scenes. This disappoints Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), his friend since childhood, who is now an assistant D.A. She and Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), apparently Gotham City's only honest cop, are faced with a local crime syndicate led by Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). But Falcone's gang is child's play, compared to the deep scheme being hatched by the corrupt psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy). This movie was great.. I totally recommend it.!
Batman Begins, this summer's entry into the Batman film legacy, redefines the series. Director Christopher Nolan, who has already captivated me with his takes on "Memento" and the Al Pacino vehicle, "Insomnia" finds the story and the star to tell it. It's a dark piece, and owes far less to the comic book than the Tim Burton versions. All of the action and adventure is tied to the psyche of the man who becomes the dark hero. I don't think Nolan worried about that, because it is obvious that the fan base and the money men wanted a return of the harrowing aspects of the Dark Knight, following the successes in bringing the Marvel comics to the screen, and wanted the cartoon (Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Batgirl and Poison Ivy) parts gone.
To get there, Nolan relied on storylines and backdrops from the excellent graphic novels that have grown up around the Batman legend, then paired with David Goyer to write the screenplay. The result is that this film is far and away the best of the five.
Christian Bale plays a stripped-down, emotionally unavailable Batman, and his character is thoroughly outlined. You know exactly what his demons are, and you go through the decision-making process he takes with Alfred (the outstanding Michael Caine) to build the Batcave, and find the identity of the hero who will finally make criminals feel his presence.
The origin of Batman's training, the ninja backdrop, and the presence of his fearful mentor, Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson, better as a Ninja than a Jedi), open the film, and we see Bruce Wayne traversing through some of the most dangerous spots on the globe, in Asia, to meet the fearsome Ra's Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe, on the screen for too short a time). Ghul is fighting against crime as well, but has chosen Gotham City, Bruce's former home, as his battlefield. His League of Shadows wants to destroy the city, and the crime with it. Wayne cannot go along with the plan, and his escape from the Tibetan stronghold is perilous and destructive. Some good support in other roles, notably Mr. Earle (Rutger Hauer digs himself out of B movies for a guest shot), a youngish police inspector, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman in a great cameo), and of course, the stylish presence of Michael Caine.
The actual battle scenes are tense and inspiring, the Batmobile is undoubtedly a star of the movie all on its own. Camera shots and cinematography are second to none in this production, and all of it carries out Wayne's/Batman's message....
"I went around the world, searched in all the shadows. And there is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge... Me."
What kind of fanboy would I be to let Batman Begins slip by without seeing it in the theatre? After so many adaptations of the Dark Knight it seemed only natural to jump into yet another tale of Gotham's only defender. So, how does it rate? Simply put: this is Batman.
While this movie offers some of the best action seen in a long time Batman Begins is primarily an origin tale. It delves into the beginnings (hence the title) of the detective himself; popping the hood and letting us see the engine that drives this dark avenger. Never before has such attention been given to this character and you will gain a new appreciation for him. Moreover, this film will make you realize how badly all the previous films missed the mark (some worse than others - yes, I'm talking about you, George).
The cast of this film is extraordinary, save for Katie Holmes whose role is superficial at best. She's like a glorified Bond girl; there to look at, but not get emotionally attached to. Moreover, her limited spectrum of acting talent is painfully obvious amongst such an iron clad cast: Michael Caine as Alfred, Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon.
Christian Bale is far and away the best Batman/Bruce Wayne to date (I say that realizing that Adam West still holds a special place in my heart). For the first time, ever, you really see why criminals fear Batman. While not as prominent, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathon Crane/Scarecrow, is not to be overlooked. His insidious gaze and refined dialect make him terrifying...even before he puts the mask on. While a relatively unsung villian, the creators do him justice far beyond what I expected.
My favorite Hollywood screenwriter, David Goyer (the Blade trilogy) has finally brought to life a character that has up until now seemed animated. Goyer makes us realize that Batman is much more then his devices. Coupled with Nolan's attention to detail and commitment to explain almost everything about this superhero, Goyer's script takes comic book movies to a new level. After seeing this, you'll be able to see through the special effects and notice the lack of story and character development in lesser films (of which there are many). Speaking of effects, it was a refreshing change to see a film favoring "pure" stuntwork over tiresome CGI.
So, have I simply bought into the hype? No. This movie is worth seeing as soon as you can. I'll even go out on a limb and say many non-comic book viewers (I'm speaking, of course, to most wives/girlfriends) would even enjoy this movie. There is a solid story here, one even a Batman fan such as myself learned a few things from.
Batman is more than a superhero, more than movie and comic book entertainment. Batman represents the border between sanity and insanity.
This movie is a fantastic Dark look at what Gotham City and Batman are. The cast is outstanding....
Christian Bale is perfect to play Bruce Wayne, the billionaire who is orphaned when a mugger kills his mother and father in cold blood. When I saw Bale in "Equilibrium," his tiger-like athleticism and dark, brooding demeanor made me confident that Bale was worthy to inherit the mantle of Batman. For those of you who liked the Matrix, I highly recommend you check out Equilibrium.
In "Begins," director Christopher Nolan (Memento) and screenplay co-writer David Goyer explore how Wayne adopts his alter ego. On a Siddartha-like quest, Wayne leaves his friends and business empire to find himself in the (Very) Far East.
The talent in this movie is astounding. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) plays enigmatic Ras-Al-Ghul, powerful head of a spiritual, ninja-like clan. Liam Neesan plays Henri Ducard, Ghul's head man, who trains Bruce in the ways of the night fighter. Wayne is a proficient student. All of Neeson's dialouge is highly quotable and inspiring. I can't wait to get my hands on a screenplay.
Wayne returns to Gotham City. His childhood friend, played by Katie Holmes, knows something is up. She is now a relentless D.A. bent on eliminating the corruption that is plaguing the city that was once fair in the heyday of Bruce's parents. Her target is Arkham Asylum, run by the enigmatic Professor Jonathan Crane (played by the amazing Cillian Murphy).
The Wayne's family butler Alfred is played by Michael Caine. Wayne scientist Lucius Fox is played by Morgan Freeman. Alfred and Fox are Bruce's only allies in his war on crime. A younger Police Commissioner Gordon is played to perfection by the chameleon-like Gary Oldman.
Do not waste time. Purchase this DVD for your collection and show it to all of your friends.
Christopher Nolan and his co-screenwriter, David Goyer have chosen to postpone the crossover of Bruce Wayne (a soulful Christian Bale) into Batman until half way through the new "Batman Begins."
And this is a crucial and important step that Nolan puts off until Bruce walks the earth in search of his own personal nirvana... in a sort of Christ-like journey to understand himself and his place in the world after his parents are brutally murdered. It is also from this quest that he acquires the knowledge and skills necessary for him to become a warrior, ready and able to combat the ills and rid his town Gotham of all evil-doers.
Nolan's "Batman Begins" is a more macho, masculine film than were the previous movies, which is not to take anything away from Tim Burton's elegiac, gothic and visionary takes on this story. But Burton's world is/was/ and will always be the world of the dreamer: his Batman is more sinned against than sinning. His Batman needs love and understanding while Nolan's wants and needs justice and revenge more than anything else: even the sultry Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes proves to be of little interest to Batman save a chaste kiss at the end of the movie. It's interesting to note that in the previous Batman films we had big beautiful bombshells like Kim Bassinger and Nicole Kidman as the so-called love interests while here, in Nolan's vision we have a more scrubbed clean, working class (Rachel is an assistant D.A.) heroine: a woman who is as interested in righting wrongs as is Batman and not merely someone meant as an adornment to the suave debonair Batman of Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Michael Keaton. It's an important and telling shift from woman as a plush toy to one who is, not only beautiful but also smart and dedicated to a cause other than self-promotion and self-satisfaction.
Christian Bale's Batman is real..i.e. a genuine, fleshed-out, beautifully written movie character: he is conflicted, he makes mistakes, he trusts the wrong people at times and he pays for his mistakes. It is a remarkable casting coup to have Bale in this role particularly since of late he has been playing a spate of radicals...i.e. in "The Machinist," in which he transforms himself into a skeleton...literally. As Bruce Wayne/Batman, Bale dons the mask, assumes the persona, not out of a lust for power but out of a fervent belief that good will always triumph over evil: several times in this film he is brought to task for his trust in the basic goodness of people and one of his mentors ( Liam Neeson as Ducard) even goes so far as to ridicule Bruce as sentimental and weak for it. Though Ducard is his mentor and sensei, this relationship proves to be fraught with ambiguity as the movie progresses to the climax.
What is a Batman film without its villains? But this film is devoid of the cartoon craziness of the Riddler or the Joker. Here we have Cillian Murphy (so good in "28 Days Later") as a scary-as-hell The Scarecrow, alias psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane, who spews his psychedelic paranoia and psychosis on an unsuspecting Gotham. His "stuff" is more thrilling and frightening than anything that the aforementioned villains could ever muster.
"Batman Begins" is not only a physically gorgeous film, it is also an emotionally and ideologically complicated one. It wears its heart on its sleeve, yes...but it also has the brains and a profoundly strong back and pumped up physicality to back it up.
Director Christopher Nolan (Memento) can be credited with the first cinematic miracle of the 21st century: resurrecting a flatlined franchise. Having no connection to Tim Burton's first two magnificent installments & moreover Joel Schumacher's uber cheesy last two films which transformed the series into a modernized clone of the slapstick filled Adam West show, Nolan instead returns Batman to his gothic gritty roots. While Tim Burton's original will always be classic, the titular hero of his film had most of his mojo stolen by his twisted arch-nemesis the Joker (played by scene stealing Jack Nicholson). Nolan's refreshed vision of the Dark Knight injects an aspect that was mostly dry (albeit brief flashbacks) from Burton's adaptation: a fleshed out backstory to how billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) became Batman in the wake of his parents murders. Now donning the cape & cowl of the Caped Crusader is Christian Bale, who pulls off the rare feat of living up to & possibly outdoing Keaton's original role. A first rate supporting cast includes Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson & Gary Oldman amongst several others. Batman Begins ultimately boils down to being a cinema prototype for comic book mythology. Beautiful cinematography, top notch acting/chemistry, a momentum building musical score, & adrenaline rush action set pieces all gel to create what is probably the most prolific supehero film one is likely to ever see.
e never been a big comic book fiend and I haven't been overly excited by recent comic-to-theater films like Spiderman, the Incredible Hukl, etc. But without a doubt - Batman Begins is the best of this recent phenomenon and is a fantastic movie if if you aren't a comic fan or even a batman fan - Batman Begins is done so well, that it really is an excellent movie. Christian Bale is outstanding (as always) as Bruce Wayne and Batman and the rest of the cast is, for the most part, stellar: Michael Caine as Alred is great, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman are always excellent. My only criticism of the acting - and really of the film - is Katie Holmes as love interest Rachel Dawes... she is awful - has no emotion, is a painfully poor actress, and of course this movie arrived during her Tom Cruise escapade... But enough about Katie and more about Batman:
Batman Begins is more like an epic and a novel than a regular action film - it follows certain themes very nicely throughout the entire plot and does so under a very dark setting. The action scenes are filmed beautifully and the movie is general is a pleasure for the eyes - the DVD is an excellent addition for any big screen TV!
Batman Begins Cast:
Christian Bale .... Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine .... Alfred
Liam Neeson .... Henri Ducard
Katie Holmes .... Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman .... Jim Gordon
Cillian Murphy .... Dr. Jonathan Crane
Tom Wilkinson .... Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hauer .... Earle
Ken Watanabe .... Ra's Al Ghul
Mark Boone Junior .... Flass
Linus Roache .... Thomas Wayne
Morgan Freeman .... Lucius Fox