I recently had the pleasure of viewing Christopher
Nolan's latest, dark, creation titled Batman
Begins. Entering the theatre I do admit that I have grown
accustomed to seeing the Marvel logo flip on the screen before comic book
adaptations. You know, the one that looks like pages are flipping through
a comic book and the name 'MARVEL' slowly appears amidst the drawings.
Well, this comic adaptation did not start like this. Instead, I found myself
watching what looked to be tons of spotlights that slowly clustered and
swung to form the logo for DC Comics. Immediately after seeing this logo
I was impressed with how cool, and dark, it was; leaving me with this question--
was this logo any indication on how cool or dark Batman Begins
was going to be?
Batman Begins- The Plot
Yes! Batman Begins is a return to the
dark film noir experienced in the original Batman starring Michael
Keaton. However, Batman Begins pushes the darkness a step further
with its new star Christian Bale. Unlike the original Batman, Batman
Begins takes us all the way to the beginning of Bruce Wayne, including
a visit in on Bruce during his college days as he still attempts to find
himself among the tragedy of his parents' murder years before.
We now get to see the exact steps that converted Bruce Wayne to the notorious
costumed crime fighter known throughout Gotham as Batman. How did Bruce
Wayne learn to fight? How old was Bruce Wayne when he begun his strategy
against crime? Where the hell did Bruce Wayne get all of those cool toys?
All of these questions, and more, are answered in Batman Begins.
Batman Begins does not follow a single timeline, but rather tells
the story of Bruce Wayne through flashbacks for about the first half of
the movie. Yes, it takes about half of the film for Bruce Wayne [Christian
Bale] to fully evolve into Batman. The first hour plus is all about the
story of Bruce and the steps he took to train and fight crime. After the
first half of the film, the story becomes more parallel and we journey with
Bruce as he attempts to play the billionaire playboy role while trying to
defeat forces such as Jonathan 'The Scarecrow' Crane [Cillian Murphy], Ducard
[Liam Neeson], Ra's Al Ghul [Ken Watanabe], and Carmine Falcone [Tom Wilkinson].
All of whom have some connection to one another.
Bruce Wayne undergoes training from an ancient vigilante group.
Batman Begins- The Movie
Batman Begins is dark, very dark. This
film is probably the most unique comic book adaptation I have ever seen.
When Christian Bale is growing up or playing the role of Bruce Wayne, Batman
Begins runs like a standard well-written drama. However, when Bruce Wayne
puts on the mask, this film turns dark and dirty. In the original Batman
with Michael Keaton, Tim Burton works to show that the number one weapon
employed by Batman is fear. After the original film, no other Batman
movie looked back on this technique in any significant way.
Christopher Nolan, known for films such as Memento, brings the
Batman story back to the darkness and back to where fear is the greatest
weapon of all. In Batman Begins, we encounter Bruce Wayne as an
excellent warrior, even though Batman works to never attack his opponents
directly. Instead, he strikes and disappears, strikes again, and then disappears
again. This tactic was awesome and terrifying!
When Batman is forced to fight groups hand to hand,
the fighting in Batman Begins is reminiscent of a bar fight, with
each blow showing skull crunching force. The fighting is gritty and fits
the look of the overall film perfectly. The only problem is that this gritty-ness
sometimes causes the fight scenes to occur too fast or look slightly disoriented.
However, I want to go back to the fact that Batman Begins is more
about the fear instilled upon villains rather than outright fighting.
Another nice aspect to Batman Begins is that Christopher Nolan
has no problem throwing in other exciting moments such as the best Batmobile
chase in all of the Batman films. Imagine watching the Batmobile jump rooftop
to rooftop as Batman tries to elude police. There were so many cool scenes
in this chase alone that it would take a couple paragraphs to try to name
Batman Begins definitely has the proper fill of action and suspense,
but there is so much more to it than that. The film probably boasts some
of the best written dialogue [mind the one-liners] in any comic book adaptation.
The first half of the film has such good dialogue that I found it hard to
believe I was watching a comic book movie. Batman Begins was written for
adults with the standards laid down for that type of viewership. However,
any age should greatly enjoy this film.
Batman Begins also boasts an impressive cast that includes Christian
Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe,
Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Sara Stewart,
and Richard Brake. All of the cast play their part perfectly, and I hope
that I can see a return from each one of these actors for the sequel.
If you are a fan of movie music-- the soundtrack for Batman Begins,
composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, was a nice mix with its,
at times, over dramatic themes to accompany the progress of the dark knight.
Final Judgment: Batman Begins represents the successful return of
Batman as the caped crusader. If this Batman were to ever run into the
Batman's of the last two films, he would probably kick their fruity asses
till they couldn't tell which way was up. Christian Bale has impressed
me in just about every film he has done, with Batman Begins being
no different. Now that the franchise has been saved, bring on the sequel.