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, billionaire 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
Let's get serious...the real Batman has arrived!...
BATMAN BEGINS lives up to what I heard about it being a "darker" version, with much less reliance on flippant one-liners or gags, the result being a more realistic feel for what might have been.
From the very start, there is a nice chemistry between Alfred, the butler (superbly played by Michael Caine) and Bruce Wayne (excellent job by Christian Bale). The humor is of the gentle kind, almost subtle in its implications, and it sets the stage for the more realistic flow of events to follow. There's a pulsating background score by Hans Zimmer and John Newton Howard that races along with the film, punctuating it in just the right places, at just the right moments, to give a vigorous punch to the action scenes. And there are plenty of them.
But the quieter moments are all extremely well played and given depth by real characterizations--not just cartoonish figures. There is depth in all of the performances with the possible exception of Katie Holmes, an actress who speaks in a voice barely above a whisper and fails to project the belief that she is an assistant district attorney. Miss Holmes needs lessons in projecting her voice.
Looming over the landscape is Liam Neeson, a distinguished actor who excels in his carefully concealed villainy. He is a force to be reckoned with and displays all of his versatility here. Equally effective in lesser roles are Morgan Freeman, Rutger Hauer as the Board Chairman that Bruce Wayne ultimately replaces, and Gary Oldman.
The story is forcefully presented with magnificent visuals and eye-popping sets that all have a realistic gleam and are yet stylized enough to give credence to the fact that this is all based on a comic strip character.
I can't praise Christian Bale enough as the man who dons that mask. He has all the strength and wily intelligence behind his serious good looks and makes the perfect embodiment of the action hero he is portraying. Firm of jaw, direct of gaze, he makes an excellent hero.
Praise too for Cillian Murphy, who makes the most of his Scarecrow role behind a mask of creepy blandness, underplaying his role (as most of the others do) so as not to become a caricature, as so often happens in these Batman enterprises. If it's a series of running gags that you expect--as from previous Batmans--you won't find them here. The thrills come one after another, set pieces that are astounding to watch.
Well worth the wait. Christopher Nolan has done an excellent job of handling his subject matter with great skill and flourish.
Warning note: Perhaps a little too intense for children, but adults are certainly going to appreciate the fact that the real Batman has arrived.
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