Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight is forced to return from his imposed exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman.
When his parents were killed, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne relocates to Asia when he is mentored by Henri Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul in how to fight evil. When learning about the plan to wipe out evil in Gotham City by Ducard, Bruce prevents this plan from getting any further and heads back to his home. Back in his original surroundings, Bruce adopts the image of a bat to strike fear into the criminals and the corrupt as the icon known as 'Batman'. But it doesn't stay quiet for long. Written by
I've just come back from a preview screening of Batman Begins. I went in with low expectations, despite the excellence of Christopher Nolan's previous efforts. Talk about having your expectations confounded! This film grips like wet rope from the start. I won't give away any of the story; suffice to say it mixes and matches its sources freely, tossing in a dash of Frank Miller, a bit of Alan Moore and a pinch of Bob Kane to great effect.
What's impressive is that despite the weight of the franchise, Nolan has managed to work so many of his trademarks into a mainstream movie. The story does not progress in linear fashion for the first half, and there are some truly spectacular hallucination scenes. Parents thinking of taking their young kids along, think twice. When we left, a terrified 8-year-old boy was being comforted by his parents. Some of what's up there on screen really is the stuff of nightmares.
Of the cast of Brits chosen to bring this American tale to the masses, Christian Bale convinces in his dual role, while Michael Caine as Alfred comes up with the humour just when the film is in danger of taking itself too seriously. Gary Oldman and Tom Wilkinson provide able support, as does Morgan Freeman.
Most refreshing of all is the way that Nolan and co have come up with a way of bringing comics to the screen that does justice to the often adult source material in a way that, say, Daredevil, tried and failed to do (although the director's cut is better). If the Dark Knight doesn't return after this, there's no justice.
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