film review – BATMAN BEGINS

news: film review – BATMAN BEGINS

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.

This is a psychological, serious movie with hardly a camp or humorous moment, though Caine does his best. Nolan’s detail is not as gothic as Tim Burton’s and his plot not as clear as past Batman incarnations, however, it keeps you guessing. It consistently tries to be intelligent rather than simply entertaining. Nolan hasn’t been overwhelmed by his material, adding to it without betraying too many expectations. He keeps things logical and rational, despite the story’s comic book origins. Batman’s heroics are the result of planning and psychology, not superhuman abilities. It’s impossible not to admire the job Nolan has done of rethinking and restaging the concept in a refreshing context of semi-reality, with tongue nowhere near cheek. Unlike its predecessors, this Batman is more of a character than a caricature piece – it gives us a look at Batman and Bruce Wayne as two parts of the same character.

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!