Lead by the direction of Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins is an action-adventure superhero movie that tells the origin story of the Caped Crusader, played by Christian Bale. It deals with a Gotham City that has been rotting from within with Batman tasked to help save the city from itself while fending off a host of mad villains. It is a highly-stylistic film that relies more on realism than anything else.
The way Christopher Nolan chooses to direct this film provides Batman Begins with one of its most prominent strengths. Departing from previous Batman films that dealt with the characters and subject matters more like cartoon characters, Nolan instead chooses to have Batman living in a modern day setting. This excellent decision immediately gives the film a great sense of realism.
His gritty and dark style throughout the picture has resulted in a film fit more for adults than children. It is a dangerous world that Batman occupies. One where violence and destruction is the norm. Indeed, he presents the origin story in such a mature way that one thought was impossible for a comic book character. He does not rush things but is instead calm and confident to have events occur naturally and logically. He greatly succeeds in this and provides cinema with the greatest origin story ever put to film. Simply, Nolan demonstrates in this film a masterclass in directing.
One should also not forget the acting in this film, which is superb, to say the least. Starting with Christian Bale, he is extraordinary as Batman and Bruce Wayne. Admittedly benefiting from the wonderful script, Bale nevertheless gives the character a lot of credibility and weight with his performance. He is reckless and confused as Bruce Wayne but assured and fearless as Batman. He effortlessly does this that one is tempted to take it for granted.
It is not only Bale who gives an excellent performance as he is supported by a wonderful cast. Michael Cain as Alfred is pitch-perfect as one does not doubt for a second that he is Bruce Wayne's guardian, who will do what is necessary to protect him. Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Jim Gordon is also perfect. He absorbs the character and is the fearless and courageous police detective who becomes Batman's chief ally in cleaning up Gotham City. Liam Neeson as Ducard is top-notch and gives the character much weight as he provides Bruce Wayne with the tutelage he needs during a crucial time in Bruce's life. One should not forget Morgan Freeman who, like Michael Caine, is naturally magnificent as well as Cillian Murphy, who plays Doctor Jonathan Crane and gives a memorable performance.
The only weak acting found in this otherwise perfect film is Katie Holmes. She seems to be out of place and one never gets the sense that she fits into Bruce Wayne's world as a love interest or even as a lawyer. Had she not been in this film, it would have been a better picture.
Composed by greats Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, the soundtrack found in Batman Begins is simply majestic and haunting. During the childhood scenes, it provides the tenderness and softness that is needed. However, during the fight scenes, it is pulsating and builds up the tension greatly. Their decision to rely mostly on orchestra and electronic music was the right one. Combined, both types of music give the film that much more realism and a sense of urgency.
With Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan did what had long seemed unattainable. He created a Batman film that is modern, realistic, and plausible. It is his vision and style that the film owes much of its greatness to. He is the one who bravely decided to go where no other Batman director had gone before and it paid off in dividends. Batman Begins, to me at least, is the greatest comic book origin story brought to film to date. One I seriously doubt another origin film will ever best. A true masterpiece.
- Christian Bale (as Bruce Wayne/Batman)
- Gary Oldman (as Jim Gordon)
- Michael Caine (as Alfred)
- Morgan Freeman (as Lucius Fox)
- Liam Neeson (as Ducard)
- Cillian Murphy (as Dr. Jonathan Crane)
2 hours and 20 minutes
Action / Adventure / Drama / Superhero