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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.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
8 years after Joel Schumacer and company tarnished the Batman name with
the childish mess that was "Batman and Robin", Christopher Nolan
finally brought Bruce Wayne to life with Batman Begins.
Batman Begins tells the story of Bruce Wayne's emergence from tragically scarred child to a symbol of heroism and darkness in a wonderfully realized Gotham City. After training with Ra's al Ghul, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham in perfect mental and physical shape. What Nolan and screenwriter David Goyer do perfectly here, is inject Bruce Wayne with an emotion never before seen in a Batman movie. You can feel the pain and grief Wayne is experiencing and you can see why he decides to become a living symbol of good.
The first full origin story for Batman on film, Batman Begins gets everything absolutely right. The film is very much told from Bruce's point of view, as opposed to earlier Batman movies that focused more heavily on developing villains than developing the hero himself. With this approach you can clearly understand the emotions and motivations of the man behind the mask. The origin is also utterly believable. You can see why Bruce Wayne dresses like a bat, why he needs a cape, how he gets a super-car and super-gadgets, and why he hides in a cave. Still, Begins doesn't get too carried away with realism, retaining a comic book flair that its successor would forget.
While it does take a bit for Bruce Wayne to fully become the bat, it is worth it. There are a few jaw-dropping action scenes including a brilliant batmobile chase scene and a thrilling climax on Gotham's elevated trains. The atmosphere and feeling of Gotham City is nearly perfect. It has a bit of the Gothic look of Tim Burton's Batman universe blended beautifully with a more contemporary cityscape. The city feels like what a comic book world would be like if it actually existed. Batman himself is a dark, brooding, wonderfully realized character in his own right and he shares the screen with an ensemble of great actors, all giving great performances.
Batman Begins never loses a beat. The origin of Batman is engaging, engrossing, and exciting from start to finish. It's great to see how Batman became the legend he is today, and even more fun to see Batman in action. The Scarecrow villain is a little underutilized and it takes a while for Bruce Wayne to truly become Batman, but other than that, Batman Begins is a perfect Batman film.
I have just seen The Dark Knight, and while I wanted to review it as fast as I could, I felt it might make more sense to at least review it's prequel, Batman Begins. It focuses on Bruce Wayne's beginnings. How he became Batman, and why he did so. He reflects a lot about his parents' death from a murderer, and gets sent to jail after having his revenge. In jail, there is a mysterious man that will bring to another mysterious man by the name of Râs-Âl-Ghul, who trains him to become a warrior. And, after harsh choices, Bruce Wayne then becomes Batman. The cast is unbelievable, the special effects are dazzling enough that they don't steal from the story like in previous superhero films. Also unlike previous superhero films they don't hand the movie over to a mega-star actor as an over-the-top villain.
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!
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".
BATMAN BEGINS rejuvenates if totally regenerates a film franchise .
After Tim Burton's idiosyncratic vision of the comic strip , the film
series became very stuck with the Joel Scumacher version . You wouldn't
really blame Warner Bros if they'd ended the franchise there and then
due the law of diminishing returns .Indeed it might have been seen as
something of a risk casting so many big name ( Read expensive ) actors
in one movie . The fact that on its first week of release it only
entered the top ten weekly box office must have frightened the studio
executives , only to have their fears extinguished where the movie
rallied strongly spending two weeks at the top followed by several
weeks in the top ten
Certainly it's a film that reboots everything that's gone before . It tells the early life of Bruce Wayne while never referring to a need for a sidekick in the shape of Robin the boy wonder . Instead we see some one whose life is ripped apart by murder and is later perceived to be let down by the justice system and Bruce Wayne is not someone who will meekly let this go . In effect Bruce Wayne is now written as a comic strip version of an avenging angel along the lines of Travis Bickle /Paul Kerzey / John Eastland and all your other favourite vigilante anti-heroes from cinema
Or at least that's what should have happened . Unfortunately after this motivating incident , which also takes in an involving sequence set in a Chinese gulag the film then starts playing out as a Hollywood Summer blockbuster . In many ways it's like the old blockbusters from yesteryear featuring a host star names and highly regarded not so big name character actors all brought together in one film . The great shame is that most of them are given little to do . It's a film that has a plot written around its set pieces and the characters are just as mechanical . They're not characters like people are in real life , they're generic action hero , generic action hero's sister , loyal butler , stand up police chief who is slightly dumb etc etc by actors who could be have been unknowns . This is a great pity for a film whose reputation suggested to me it was going to be much better than a simple Summer blockbuster/franchise movie
Christopher Nolan is a good director , though the recent hype with INCEPTION with claims that he's " the greatest director of his generation " might leave him with some baggage . What Nolan has always been good at is editing and continues this with BATMAN BEGINS . The way he inter-cuts scenes is what makes them effective . But at the end of the day it's merely a Summer blockbuster with big names , car chases and the occasional explosion
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
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.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where to begin? Unbelievably ill-conceived. That's it. A film that
tries to be everything to all people, and ends up being nothing as a
An important point to establish up front is that, hysterical claims to the contrary aside, the film is *not* an adaptation of the comic character in any more than the most superficial of ways. The filmmakers simply altered the fundamental elements of the character to far too great a degree. The film, then, must be judged on its merits as a film, not as an adaptation.
So how is it as a movie? This one had a lot of potential, and it was hard to watch it fall apart as it went along. Some grumble-inducing moments notwithstanding, it's actually quite good in the early going. It's engaging, well-constructed, and, despite a lot of high-fallutin' monologues about the psychology of fear, never comes across as overly pretentious. The first indication of trouble, however, occurs in this early part of the movie. Bruce Wayne, our future Batman, has been in training with the League of Shadows, a ninja-style group led by Ras al Ghul (Ken Watanabe). Upon his "graduation," Ras explains his master plan. His "explanation" is an utterly incoherent rant about "destroying Gotham," Bruce's home city, for no apparent reason other than that it is "corrupt." As Watanabe rambled, I started giggling. That the film, in standard Hollywood tell-you-what-you're-supposed-to-think-about-what-you're-seeing fashion, presents this as a very somber, serious moment only added to the joke. Bruce, having listened to this, then turns to Ducard (Liam Neeson), the man who'd recruited him into the League, and asks, totally deadpan, if he really believes in all of this, and my giggles turned into outright laughter, shared by others in the theater. It's an embarrassingly idiotic moment that immediately took me out of the mood that had been established.
The film bounces back fairly quickly from this early misstep, though. Back in Gotham, uber-boss Carmine "The Roman" Falcone is very well established; he's a guy who runs everything in a corrupt sewer of a city. A scene wherein he threatens to shoot Bruce in a restaurant full of city officials, convincingly explaining that he could do so and get away with it, is certainly a keeper, and promises much more to come. Why the filmmakers bothered spending so much time and energy setting him up is anyone's guess, though, because nothing much ever does. They could have built a movie, or an entire series of movies upon Bruce's efforts to clean up the town, as they'd established it, but, instead, the mighty Falcone is decimated by the Batman in mere minutes, in ludicrously implausible fashion, none of his power helping him a bit. This is to get him quickly out of the way so the movie can radically switch gears, and the new gear it falls into is near-complete idiocy.
This gear-switching is so jarring because of the two diametrically opposed--and irreconcilible--directions in which the filmmakers tried to take "Begins." The end-product is a cut-and-pasted mess, drawing, almost equally, from great and solidly grounded Batman material, like Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One" (which should have been this movie), and very bad, very dated, and embarrassing comic book stuff from yesteryear featuring motiveless, pretentious, overblown, super-villains with some incredibly idiotic (and laughably inefficient) plot to "destroy" something. When it kicks into this second phase, every minute of the movie seems to be worse than the one before.
The movie essentially disintegrates from the moment Bruce dons the Batman mask. Sitting in the theater, you can almost physically feel the film's IQ drop. Christian Bale, who had done an admirable (if largely unexceptional) Bruce Wayne, never comes close to getting a handle on his characters' alter ego. Indeed, his Batman voice and persona suggest the actor had picked up his direction on how to play the part at the Keanu Reeves School of Acting. When Bruce becomes Batman, all he has to do to rid Gotham of the mighty Falcone is rough up a dozen of his men who are, at that time, in the middle of completing an illegal drug shipment, then attack Falcone and leave him chained and beaten senseless at the scene of the crime. This, we're told, will send Falcone away forever. Uh huh. Then, the filmmakers get to the story they really wanted to tell: Ras al Ghul returns, still looking to "destroy Gotham" for no real reason. His means of doing so is the most ludicrous item in a film filled with ludicrous items, and the final hour of the movie is dedicated to a lot of empty standard-issue Hollywood sound and fury, as the plot plays itself out. Unforgivably, the film's last scene is a straight steal of the great ending of Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One," which only serves to rub salt in the wound the film has created by spoiling the scene for some future filmmaker who may one day want to make a real Batman movie.
I have no tolerance for this sort of thing anymore. If I hadn't been with a friend, I would probably have left long before it was over In the final analysis, "Batman Begins" is inferior, in pretty much every way, to the original Burton flick, and is even less of a Batman movie. For my part, I hope it's going to be ending, rather than beginning, a Batman franchise. I'm rather fond of the character, and have had quite enough of Hollywood dragging him through the mud.
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