6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Dark Knight Rising, 16 June 2005
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
I've been wondering how director Christopher Nolan would handle a huge
budget on a Hollywood film designed as a revisionist franchise launcher
of a previously lucrative and iconic brand name. It had disaster
written all over it. I'm overjoyed to announce, the young director has
stuck to his auteur guns and delivered not another ho-hum comic book
extravaganza, but a deep, dark, psychologically complex thriller. Nolan
and his very capable team of writers hired by Warner Bros. have taken
the simplistic and tired story from comic book land (your archetypal
crime-fighting costume wearing hero) and through luxurious exposition
and compelling character development, deliver a taut and suspenseful
drama for mature adult audiences to savor.
In the lead role of Bruce Wayne, Christian Bale finally delivers on the promise of his compelling indie roles and has taken his cult status to mainstream audiences with a confident swagger that has "great actor/huge star" written all over it. Bravo to the studio execs in their risky casting. He works this role on every level, and the audience is rewarded at every turn under the skilled director's hand of Nolan. The rest of the supporting cast is fantastic. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy, and an unrecognizable Gary Oldman as Gordon (what a great piece of stunt casting) are all perfect. The only complaint is the otherwise lovely Katie Holmes, who is as distracting on screen with her lack of acting chops as she has been off screen with her shenanigans as the new Mrs. Tom Cruise.
The only other distraction is some of the choppy editing in a few of the actions scenes. Early on, they are so darkly lit and badly edited that it's hard to tell what is happening. This is all forgiven though with the white knuckle Batmobile chase sequence and the edge-of-your seat careening train car finale. As far as I'm concerned, I don't care if Nolan didn't focus on making the action scenes more perfect. He's clearly a man more interested in setting a mood to highlight character development and ratchet up the drama. He's quickly developing into a master of psychologically driven suspense. He just might be able to inject life into some other stale genres in the future.
When all is said and done, the greatest achievement of "Batman Begins" is that it makes you forget the weird dystopia of Tim Burton's iconic original from 1989, and totally wipes from your memory the abhorrent Joel Schumacher directed sequels that sank the series in the late 1990's. Thanks to Nolan, the writers, and Bale, this film stands tall on its own, and should weather the test of time as inevitable sequels will come to pass.
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