BATMAN BEGINS Review; "Easily One Of The Best Films Featuring The Iconic DC Comics Superhero"

BATMAN BEGINS Review; "Easily One Of The Best Films Featuring The Iconic DC Comics Superhero"

Ahead of the release of The Dark Knight Rises next week, we revisit Batman Begins. So, without further ado, here's our spoiler-free take on Christopher Nolan's first instalment in his epic trilogy...

After 1997's Batman & Robin, just about anything would have been an improvement (unless, you know, Joel Schumacher had returned to helm another instalment). It's a credit then to director Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins that it managed to succeed in bringing the Caped Crusader back to the big screen with an incredible origin story. In fact, Batman doesn't appear until well over an hour into the two hour and twenty minute runtime. Nolan instead spends a lot of time delving into Bruce Wayne as a character, and this really pays off. In this first hour, the character's motivations are firmly established and we see more than enough to be thoroughly convinced that this guy really could suit up as Batman and fight crime on the mean streets of Gotham City. There are a lot of memorable moments in these opening scenes, although some clunky and expositional dialogue (there only to set up events which take place later in the film) stick out like a sore thumb. Perhaps the most pivotal moment in Batman Begins - the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne - is handled extremely poorly. This scene is shot and edited together so rapidly that it loses an awful lot of the intended impact.

It's clear that in this film, Christopher Nolan envisions Batman as an elemental force, and this is perhaps demonstrated best by the way in which the fight scenes are shot. Fast-paced and pieced together so that we see little more than a blur, they're far from satisfying to watch. While this may work from a storytelling perspective, it considerably weakens these scenes in a similar fashion to how the death of Bruce's parents is handled. Batman Begins doesn't exactly begin to go downhill once he suits up, but the story is noticeably weaker. The way that the events in the latter half of the film are connected to Bruce's time with Ra's Al Ghul feel forced and never entirely convincing. Scarecrow meanwhile is a decent enough villain until Ra's returns, but his fear toxin never seems frightening enough to be...well...frightening! However, some stellar action sequences (Batman's escape from Arkham Asylum for example) more than make up for these flaws, as does the fantastic relationship Nolan builds between Bruce and characters like Alfred, Lucius and Gordon. Rachel? Not so much. There's a serious lack of chemistry there. The conclusion of the film is an exciting one, especially as the battle between Batman and Ra's is perhaps the most cohesive in the film. A final scene which sets up The Joker as The Dark Knight's main villain will send a shiver down any comic book fans spine and is easily a better tease than ANY of Marvel's brilliant after-credits scenes.

In terms of performances, Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman) really stands out. The actor adds a real amount of depth to the character, making him a believable and compelling lead. Liam Neeson (Henry Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul) is equally as good, both before and after he takes a villainous turn. When he does finally go full on bad guy, he quickly shows that he is a convincing threat to Batman and the rest of Gotham City. Speaking of which, Cillian Murphy (Dr. Crane/Scarecrow) is fantastically creepy and a treat to watch, although he could have done with being a little more fleshed out. Similar in many ways to Bruce Wayne, when we meet Jim Gordon (played perfectly by Gary Oldman) he's a haunted man burdened by being the only truly honest cop. As the film progresses, it's not heard to see the character develop as hope appears in the form of the Caped Crusader and this is down solely to Oldman's nuanced performance. Michael Caine (Alfred) and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) are on fine form - the former is lucky enough to have some of THE best lines in the movie - although the same can't be said for Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes). There's nothing wrong with her perfomance as such; it just feels flat and uninteresting. However, throw in some quality supporting turns from the likes of Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone) and Rutger Hauer (Earle) and this is a solid ensemble.

Ultimately, Batman Begins is a very good movie, but far from perfect. The story and screenplay are far from Nolan's best (its not hard to imagine that this is down more to David S. Goyer than Nolan, especially when you compare their résumés) but as the director's first major blockbuster, this is a solid entry into the genre which deservedly finds itself in many top ten lists. The action doesn't always work, but scenes such as the one in which Batman interrogates crooked cop Flass (Mark Boone Junior) as he dangles him from a rooftop most certainly DO. Of course, the film is much different to the comic books as it puts a far more realistic spin on everything from the Bat-cave to the Batmobile Tumbler. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's understandable why purists many not appreciate this very different interpretation of the characters. However, the only major casualty is Gotham, as the city (apart from the Narrows) lacks any real personality, with the skyline often looking far too clean and contemporary. This arguably results in the brooding silhouette of Batman looking VERY out of place. Hans Zimmer's top-notch score and some cracking special effects (mostly practical, making them all the more impressive) make Batman Begins one hell of a package.

Batman Begins is easily one of the best films featuring the iconic DC Comics superhero, but far from perfect, despite telling what may just end up being the definitive big screen origin story for the Dark Knight. 

IF
DISCLAIMER: Comic Book Movie is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
Related Headlines
TENET Director Christopher Nolan Unlikely To Work With Warner Bros. Again Following HBO Max Announcement

TENET Director Christopher Nolan "Unlikely" To Work With Warner Bros. Again Following HBO Max Announcement

Christopher Nolan has had a long and very successful relationship with Warner Bros., but it looks like the Tenet director has decided to part ways with the studio following the recent HBO Max deal...
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Sequel Reportedly In Development For HBO Max

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Sequel Reportedly In Development For HBO Max

Batman: The Animated Series is rightly considered a classic, but reliable sources are now reporting that a sequel of some sort is currently in development for HBO Max. Find out more details after the jump!
THE BATMAN: Our Best Look Yet At The Costumed Riddler Has Been Revealed...Courtesy Of Mountain Dew

THE BATMAN: Our Best Look Yet At The Costumed Riddler Has Been Revealed...Courtesy Of Mountain Dew

We know The Batman will be featured on Mountain Dew bottles at some point, and some newly surfaced promo images offer what might be our best look yet at Paul Dano's Riddler. Check it out after the jump...
Latest Headlines
JURASSIC WORLD Exclusive: Scott Kreamer Details The Process Of Keeping CAMP CRETACEOUS In Canon With The Films

JURASSIC WORLD Exclusive: Scott Kreamer Details The Process Of Keeping CAMP CRETACEOUS In Canon With The Films

The new season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is now streaming on Netflix, further exploring that ever-expanding franchise, and we spoke with Scott Kreamer about the process of staying in canon!
WE CAN BE HEROES Exclusive: VFX Supervisor Dan Macarin Discusses Creating The Complex Character Of Facemaker

WE CAN BE HEROES Exclusive: VFX Supervisor Dan Macarin Discusses Creating The Complex Character Of Facemaker

We Can Be Heroes has been in the top ten on Netflix since it hit the streaming platform, and we spoke to the VFX Supervisor, Dan Macarin, about bringing one of the funniest characters to life on screen.
SPIDER-MAN 3 Star Zendaya Teases Running From Aliens In The Upcoming Threequel

SPIDER-MAN 3 Star Zendaya Teases "Running From Aliens" In The Upcoming Threequel

Will Spidey have to contend with extra-terrestrials as well as multiple Spider-Verse villains in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel? Zendaya seemingly let something slip in a new interview...
Marvel Comics Will Celebrate Black History Month With MARVEL'S VOICES: LEGACY #1 By John Ridley And More

Marvel Comics Will Celebrate Black History Month With MARVEL'S VOICES: LEGACY #1 By John Ridley And More

Marvel's Voices: Legacy #1 will feature stories by creators like John Ridley, Nnedi Okorafor, and Danny Lore, and we have a series of incredible variants featuring Miles Morales, Black Panther, and more.
Mad Cave Studios' NOTTINGHAM Offers A Dark Twist On The Classic Robin Hood Story

Mad Cave Studios' NOTTINGHAM Offers A Dark Twist On The Classic Robin Hood Story

Get your first look at Mad Cave Studios' dark and twisted take on the classic Robin Hood origin story with a preview trailer of Nottingham issue #1, and find out how to enter our giveaway!
WANDAVISION Showrunner Jac Schaeffer Says She Can't Answer When Asked If [SPOILER] Is The Show's Big Bad

WANDAVISION Showrunner Jac Schaeffer Says She "Can't Answer" When Asked If [SPOILER] Is The Show's Big Bad

Most fans are confident they've worked out who the big bad is in WandaVision, but showrunner Jac Schaeffer basically shared a "no comment" when asked about the villain during a recent interview...