He is rescued from a Chinese prison by a mysterious warrior named Ducard (Neeson), who teaches Bruce the mental and physical discipline to fight his enemies. Ducard wants Bruce to join the League of Shadows, an underground vigilante movement headed by Ra’s al Ghul (Watanabe). When Bruce refuses to battle evil with evil, he becomes the League’s mortal enemy and returns home to his parents’ country manor with Alfred (Caine), the family’s trusted butler and mentor. Discovering that Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences division, headed by Lucius Fox (Freeman), has developed the tools needed to fight crime, Batman gradually evolves.
Beginning his campaign against corruption, he strikes the heart of the criminal empire, but soon realises that a more sinister force is destroying Gotham. A force fronted by cunning psychiatrist and medical experimenter, Dr Jonathan Crane (Murphy), backed by the League of Shadows.
Bale, physically slight and borderline nerdy, seems a strange casting choice, but his aura of troubled, focused intensity is just right, and he ends up being by far the most interesting, believable and oddly charismatic of all Batmen. Michael Caine is fantastic as Alfred, Gary Oldman is incredibly convincing as a young Jim Gordon, and you just don’t get any better than Liam Neeson. Other stars include Morgan Freeman as Batman’s Q, Katie Holmes as a DA, and Rutgar Hauer as the smarmy head of Wayne Enterprises.
Christopher Nolan has managed to explain all of Batman’s gadgets and completely side step the nipples on the Batsuit – problems that plagued the other films. Overall, Batman Begins isn’t perfect, but it’s one heck of an improvement over past films, and it’s a great way to welcome the hero back to the silver screen.
****-If you miss the nipples on the Batsuit, Holmes’ tight sweaters create similar effects!