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Batman Begins More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Let's get serious...the real Batman has arrived!...

10/10
Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
21 June 2005

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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24 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Simply The Best Comic Book Adaptation Ever

10/10
Author: Alex Ranarivelo from California
14 July 2005

Being a fan of Nolan's previous work, I went into this with high expectations, and yet somehow, my expectations were surpassed. My congratulations to the entire cast and crew for making such a phenomenal film.

It all begins with the story. Nolan and Goyer didn't just adapt from the comic book, they re- imagined and re-invented Batman and his world while staying true to it. I might even say what they did was in some ways better than the comic book. Things in the comic book that would probably seem preposterous in a live action film are brought to life in an intelligent way, like the reason for the costume, and the reason for the villains and their costumes. I won't go too much into the story, because I think it's best for people to go into this film knowing as little as possible.

Christian Bale IS Bruce Wayne, and IS Batman. It will be hard to ever see someone else play the role. The look on his face when Joe Chill walks out of the courtroom... That demonic voice he gives Batman... The way he tries to hide his pain when he's told that "the apple has fallen far from the tree"... an incredible performance. The rest of the cast is fantastic too, with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman dishing out some great humor.

And the film looks great. Gotham actually looks like a real city (with nods to Blade Runner), the lighting is nice and contrasty, and Batman is believable as a flesh and blood character. Even the flying scenes are handled nicely. It's hard to talk about this film without giving things away. If you haven't seen it, please see do. You won't be disappointed. I'd like to thank Warner Brothers for letting an intelligent and talented filmmaker make this film without much interference. Please make more like this one.

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37 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Starts well with intelligence and invention but then descends

7/10
Author: Paynebyname from London, England
21 June 2005

It had some original stuff that displayed intelligence and thought with regards to his suit, car and weaponry. It did try to dwell on Bruce a lot more and convey some of his darkness but I found towards the end it became very Hollywood-ised. Sometimes filmmakers try to over complicate things and this was a good example.

I don't know why they can't have a simple bad guy with a simple plan, why do they have to be so elaborate a plot leaving a growing feeling of inevitability that by the end there will be some big explosions, building destruction, lots of flashing lights and Batman will prevail.

The inability of seeing the fighting was immensely frustrating. I don't think I saw him actually land a single punch. It seems a fight scene would be imminent and the makers would speed up the camera, ramp up the bass on the sound, scatter the scene with crunching thuds and smacks but then forget to actually choreograph a fight. Maybe believing that if we heard the thuds and saw some activity on the screen that the audience would imagine the rest and think 'wow, what a scene'. I'd much rather have two or three clearly thrown punches or kicks than 1-2 minutes of whirling cape, bangs and crashes and people falling to the ground.

It's a shame that they re-launch the franchise in a blaze of 'this is going to be darker and different' which it certainly starts off doing before descending a little bit into Hollywood banality. Why not have the courage to really shake things up, have the bravery to maybe end it badly (taking T3's lead) or just not conform to the normal formula.

Showed promise, had some clever stuff and made more of an effort than some in the franchise but still nothing to rival Batman:Mask of the Phantasm as the best batman ever made in my opinion.

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Character development in a Comic Book/Plot movie? What a GREAT IDEA!

10/10
Author: abstrak003 from San Diego
9 June 2005

Saw a free screening on Tuesday. I must say, I had my expectations low for this one, as the previous Batman franchises was just cartoony, over the top, and flat out mind dumbing. Why do studios continually think that spending money on 'bankable stars' and special effects will make a ton of money on box office receipts? Granted "Batman Begins" has a pretty sizable budget, but they made the right decision with casting actors that can act and hiring a director that shares the same vision of the comic book. You will not see any caricatures of the comic book, but rather be immersed in how Bruce Wayne has that internal conflict of morality as he becomes Batman. Christopher Nolan takes his time developing Bruce Wayne's character in the image that Bob Kane had with his own flair to it. Anyone familiar with Nolan, Christian Bale, and Cillian Murphy's work will not be disappointed with this movie. Make no mistake about it, it is a dark movie, which is what makes it so great. Nolan uses CG effects very sparingly (thank God!).

I rarely give movies a 10 out of 10, as I am pretty brutal with ratings, but Nolan resurrects a failed franchise. Personally, this is what Batman should have been all along - The Dark Knight! Anyone who is a Batman, Nolan, Bale, Murphy fan will not be disappointed. I only wish I took that money I spent on "Star Wars: ... Sith" went to "Batman".

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22 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding Batman 'Prequel'

10/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
28 June 2006

This latest Batman film disappointed a lot of people....but not me. I appreciated it because they didn't overdo the violence, didn''t have a stupid romance angle to muddy up the real story, and fount it an interesting history of how Batman became Batman.

The first hour of this "prequel" dealt with his origins. If you're a fan of the comic book stories and the other Batman films, this part in the film should not bore you. It was like a documentary to me, about a topic I was interested in. In fact, on the second viewing I enjoyed this even more.

Christian Bale did a fine job as the latest Batman. It's too bad there have been so many actors playing this role, ruining the continuity of this latest series. I hope Bale continues with a few more efforts with this character.

It was nice to see Michael Caine in the role of "Alfred." He was excellent and the stabilizing force of the story. Katie Holmes did not have anywhere near as big a role, or romantic one, as I expected, and that was fine with me. I just enjoyed looking at her face, leaving it go at that. Gary Oldman was also interesting as a low-key young detective Gordon who would go on to become Commissioner Gordon in all the other episodes (but, once again, played by another actor.)

The film ends with what would be the beginning of the first Batman, featuring "The Joker."

After having seen all the Batman films several times, I now think is the best of them all....perhaps an unpopular choice, but that's my opinion. Don't let the naysayers keep you from watching this movie. You might be missing the best of the Batmans!

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22 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Dark, Brooding and Stunning.

9/10
Author: theantigaz from Sheffield, UK
17 June 2005

Batman Begins, the much hyped, much publicised 'reboot' of the Batman franchise is finally here and boy what a treat it is! I was a big fan of Tim Burton's take on Batman, his portrayal of the dark knight as a brooding and reluctant bringer of justice, I always felt fit perfectly with the imagery of the comic books and gave a great feel to the whole Batman mythology. The following outings of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, were less than splendid though. Over-blown campy nonsense with two-dimensional characters being upstaged by a campy over the top rouges-gallery of villains.

So here is the re-boot. The beginning. Batman begins breaks from the convention of other comic book films. The first act of the film is told through flashbacks and does not follow a linear editing style. It gives a fantastic insight into Bruce Wayne's feelings towards his origins and his motivation for becoming the Dark Knight. It traces his path from young boy, to troubled young man; unable to vent the anger he feels for injustice he has suffered at the hand of the criminal element.

Bruce Wayne attempts to confront his demons head on, but soon realises he is just one man in a corrupt and frightening world. The film takes us on the journey Bruce endures in trying to find what it is he needs to do to come to terms with his past and to guide his future. He travels the world and seeks out a means to better himself both mentally and physically. He trains with masters of martial arts, to learn the fighting skills and mental strength he will require to bring justice back to Gotham. This all provides the very convincing back-story of the transition from Bruce Wayne to Batman.

Without giving too much of the plot away, Bruce travels back to Gotham and begins his quest for justice. It shows how he equips himself and the conflict he has within when dealing with the criminals of the city. It also shows what other Batman films have failed to show. The trouble of living a double life when you are a billionaire playboy. Bruce has to find balance between his public image as Batman and his public image as a rich, businessman and socialite.

The film climaxes with an awesome final act, showcasing immense fight scenes, brilliant use of the new Batmobile, gorgeous sets and intense acting. The final scenes set the film up perfectly for any sequels and all the while maintains the sense of realism and down to earthiness that Nolan promised.

Batman Begins is well written, well-shot and combines amazing special effects, set design and acting to form a perfect final package. This is without a shadow of a doubt, the best comic-book movie I have ever seen. Christian Bale puts in a sterling performance as Bruce Wayne, often reminiscent of his role as a businessman in American Psycho. He is also very convincing of a man driven to fight injustice, a man with a troubled past and a man seeking what he must do to come to terms with it. He is also entirely convincing as the all-action hero Batman, disposing of criminals with his expert martial arts training enthusiasm for justice.

The supporting cast is perfect. Michael Caine is an inspired choice for Alfred. There is good chemistry between him and Bale and you are left convinced that they have a quasi-father/son relationship and that Alfred genuinely cares for his young master. Gary Oldman plays a brilliant Sgt Gordon, the last honest copy, torn between misguided loyalty to the force and an honest will to protect the innocent. Cillian Murphy plays a reserved, but entirely psychotic proto-super villain and Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson, as always provide strong character roles. Holmes was a fine leading lady, but I couldn't help feeling she didn't really have enough to do in this film, however only a minor criticism.

Batman Begins is a dark film, centred on strong themes of fear, over coming demons of your past and the fight for justice in a corrupt world. Unlike many comic book films, this film is not in anyway aimed at children. It is not strictly adult in nature, but follows intelligent character development, adult conflict and complex portrayals of the characters. Most comic book films introduce your hero as good because he wants to save the world and the villain bad because he wants to take over the world. Then the action begins. This is not the case with Batman Begins, it gives insight into each character's motivation and reasons for their actions, it does not expect the audience to blindly accept anything on face value.

Well done to Goyer and Nolan for producing such an awesome movie. When I left the cinema, everyone in the audience was grinning at the end of the film, knowing they had just seen the beginning of something rather special. Bring on the sequels!

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The Bat is Back

10/10
Author: misterembryo from United States
16 June 2005

Over the years the Gotham City that was once a dark place lined with evil and corruption, in desperate need of a hero, deteriorated into a circus tent of Hollywood displays with over-dramatic architecture and special effects... Where criminals dance around in blacklight sensitive face paint and so-called villains compete for best comedic performance. Behind all the bright lights and all-star celebrity casting, we lost grasp of what the saga is really about: Batman.

Batman Begins opens with Bruce Wayne's discovery as a little boy of an underground cave where he is traumatized by an attack of massive waves of thousands of hideous bats. From this incident came an instilled fear that will forever torment Bruce Wayne. After the death of his parents, a deep hatred towards crime grows more and more until Bruce decides to vanish from Gotham City. He learns the skills of an ancient vigilante ninja organization, developing not only the skills of martial arts but most importantly the mastery of fear- skills that will ultimately be the best weapons in facing the evils that will reach Gotham City and to avenge the death of his beloved parents.

Batman Begins restores the integrity of the Batman saga and goes into an even deeper conflict... his constant struggle with fear and his deep hatred towards everything evil. What the other Batman movies lightly touched on, Batman Begins tells vividly. Why a billionaire would devote his life to fighting evil. Where he gets all his nifty convenient gadgets. Why Bruce Wayne can take on 30 armed guys all on his own and without a gun. And finally why he dresses up as a bat... after all "A guy who dresses up as a bat... clearly has issues." And Batman does and should have issues, especially after witnessing first hand the death of his loving parents, deaths that he feels partly responsible for. The other movies didn't emphasize enough the true anger Bruce Wayne has towards those that commit to a life of evil, but in this movie, Batman, effectively played by Christian Bale, is clearly depicted as a man anxious to release his anger and frustration to avenge the death of his parents.

Evil is definitely present in this movie. Where the villains in previous Batman movies seem like decent people to hang out with, or in Poison Ivy's case make out with, the enemies in this movie know there is a job to be done and that there is no time to be funny- not to belittle Jack Nicholson's role of the Joker, who has a right to be funny. The depiction of the Scarecrow was amazing, possessing an evil presence unlike any other Batman villain.

As much as I loved Tim Burton's work, and Michael Keaton's portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman, I'd have to say that the direction of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale as Batman put together the best Batman movie ever made. Besides Christian Bale, the casting was impressive. Alfred, played by Michael Caine and Fox, played by Morgan Freeman, are both characters you'll be glad to have alongside Bruce Wayne.

It really is refreshing to see Batman and to finally learn after decades who he really is. A Batman who is angry and troubled and there to kick some ass not just for show but with a passion. Now the legend can live on with dignity and generations from now on can see the true man behind the bat... not just some heartthrob in tight pants.

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20 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

tears...

10/10
Author: dark_knight_strikesback from Philippines
16 June 2005

yup, this film made me cry. it really did. being a hardcore batman fan, i assume i know every little secret, history, background about the dark knight. i've waited 13 grueling years (discounting batman forever and batman & robin for reasons far too obvious) to see a decent BATMAN film. Not only is Batman Begins decent, it has got to be one of THE BEST FILM EVER! i watched the film on its last screening together with my friends in Alabang. after the movie, the entire theater was deserted and i just sat there, still trying to catch my breath. It is that damn good.

Christian Bale plays the perfect Batman/Bruce Wayne. Charming, handsome, and "rich," as Wayne. Terrifying, maniacal, sadistic, and blacker than black as Batman. "It's not who i am underneath, but what i do that defines me." Michael Caine as Alfred, humorous, he is the rock of the Batman family. Almost always, the exchange between Bale and Caine where Christian tells him "You still haven't given up on me, have you?" Caine answers "Nevah." Morgan Freeman as Luscious Fox. Quite different from the character in the real Batman mythology (which for me is the comic books), but important nonetheless. He's told in the film as the one who supplies Bruce with all of his "spilunking" stuff. :) Morgan plays it brilliantly, from his face in the Tumbler while Bruce is driving, to his deadpan humor near the ending of the film. "Didn't you get the memo?" That got one of the biggest laughs in the theater.

Liam Neeson, Liam Neeson. Awesome! As Henri Ducard and the real Ra's Al Ghul, he was cold, beyond reason. Cold, bad-ass in a great way. Esp. the scenes where he and Bruce were in their ninja suits playing a game of "hide-and-seek" with all those ninjas. Some of the best lines came from Neeson's Ducard character. "Are you ready to begin? Katie Holmes. She's actually the "weakest" link as far as all reviewers or critics are concerned, but for a fan, well, she actually is. Not weak, but pretty much, the film could have gone without her. Having her die at the end of the movie would have made an even better way to start the Begins sequel given Batman's occasional experiences with deaths that he feels responsible for. (i.e. the drowned girl in the VENOM series, Jason Todd) But she does put some nice boy meets girl syndrome during the early years of Bruce. (Oh, speaking of history, Bruce Wayne did NOT finish college nor did he finish in Princeton) And, imho, the end scenes where she and Bruce kissed was ABSOLUTELY YUCKY! i dunno, but for me, it was totally unnecessary but seeing as how the protagonist and the girl should kiss even once in a movie scheme held up, well, there ya go. "You better run!" Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow actually should have gotten more screen time. He was really scary even in his "doctor" mode. the first time we get to see the mask during his talk with Falcone, awesome. We really got to see the extent of how this lean, geeky fellow could actually become one of Batman's worst enemies. Ken Watanabe, very limited screen time. Doggone good nonetheless.

and who could forget...

Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon. "I have to get me one of those." Damn right. "I think you're trying to help." Can't wait for the next Batman sequel just for the fact that i'd love to see more of Jim Gordon's interaction with the Batman.

Overall, this movie gets a perfect 10 out of 5 stars :) This movie has it all. Great plot, dialogue, action, and an array of Oscar caliber actors, definitely, Batman renaissance has begun. Batman Begins.

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21 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Captures the tone perfectly. A+

9/10
Author: jeffcart74 (jeffcart74@yahoo.com) from United States
16 June 2005

Last night, I went to check out Batman Begins, and I only have one word for the tone of this film: perfect.

Absolutey nailed. Blasted out the park. A grand slam.

The folks responsible for this adaptation of the Dark Knight simply "got it." 100%.

Batman is a persona that was created to inspire fear into the hearts of criminals. A creature of the night that hunts from the shadows, strikes without warning, and vanishes into the darkness like a nightmare. The character is never meant to be seen by the general public, he is merely meant to exist in their whispers, an urban myth that is talked about in hushed tones throughout Gotham City.

Batman does not have a "Bat Credit Card", and he doesn't attend charity auctions or débutante balls. He doesn't drive around the city streets in the Batmobile in broad daylight, waving to cheering citizens. He doesn't have a "Bat Phone" that connects him to the commissioner. He doesn't wear a costume with rubber nipples or operate vehicles with spinning neon turbine engines and open cockpits. He doesn't crack jokes like, "It's the car, right? Chicks dig the car." All of these things are wrong, wrong, WRONG...and this movie understands that. It understands that and washes all of these injustices away until they are nothing more than a faded bad memory. Screenwriter David Goyer and director Christopher Nolan have given us a film that treats the character with respect; a loud, thrilling masterpiece that doesn't insult your intelligence or bombard you with inappropriate campy antics.

Christian Bale gives us a Batman that will scare the living crap out of you. His voice is a gravelly, menacing sound, and when he yells at some poor schmuck to get some information, it's downright terrifying. He swoops out of darkened alleys, hitting fast and furious. He's brutal, cold, and calculating. In short, he's everything that anybody who ever put that cape and cowl on is not. Perfection.

The villains are also amazing, but a huge part of their contributions to the overall brilliance of the film is their failure to dominate it. The previous Batman movies were plagued by these cackling idiots in ludicrous costumes who pushed Batman to the back burner. In Batman Begins, we finally get to spend some time with the hero, learning who he really is behind the mask.

Not to imply that the villains are poorly fleshed out or inconsequential to the story - quite the opposite in fact. Cillian Murphy is a very effective Scarecrow, turning in a subdued, but intensely creepy performance as a warped psychiatrist who uses fear gas on his victims, unleashing horrifying hallucinations. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) is a shadowy Tibetian criminal warlord named Ra's Al Ghul, who watches over young Bruce Wayne's training with Ducard, played by Liam Neeson. But things are not what they appear with this situation, and a shocking twist comes into play towards the climax. The rest of the cast is solid, especially Gary Oldman, who finally gives us a competent, intelligent James Gordon. Essentially, the movie is about fear. Confronting it, learning from it, using it, and conquering it. It's a dark, serious film that leaves little room for humor, but some sneaks through in the form of some witty exchanges between loyal butler Alfred (a brilliant Michael Caine), and Bruce Wayne.

This movie is awesome and a complete triumph for DC, Warner Brothers, Nolan, and everyone else involved.. Run, don't walk, to the theater. Amazing.

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63 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

What's Left When the Magic and Fun is Gone

1/10
Author: Raashanui from United States
19 August 2006

This new take on Batman just doesn't seem to work quite right. Nolan tries to basically get Shakespearean with the character and completely ignore the first four films. In some ways that works but in other ways it veers off into a Batman universe that makes no sense and becomes basically a movie that seems like he's attempting to have Batman seem more realistic to being like a person in our real universe. This is where Nolan fails. The magic and fun of Batman evaporates quickly. A man dressing up as a bat and fighting crime has a humorous element to it that Nolan completely ignores with this incarnation and everyone in this universe acts really dumb about it and their reactions to it make little sense especially Gordon's character. A lot of what Gordon does lacks logical sense and he never seems to really question the mental state of the person he first sees dressed as a bat. He's portrayed like some idiot willing to eventually put complete trust in someone he knows practically nothing about running around in a bat suit. His reasons for being so trusting are never clear. Does he know something everyone else doesn't? Bale's performance was pretty average but not as compelling as Keaton or Kilmer. He also tries to have a Batman voice that sounds ridiculous. The only reason for this film's critical success is that it struck a cord with the comic book fan die hards. It certainly didn't do that impressive box office numbers. Now with news that Nolan is going to present The Joker in a sequel, I see a potential disaster waiting to happen.

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