Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: David S. Goyer
Cinematography: Wally Pfister
I’m always nervous when a comic book is launched as a blockbuster. I cringe at the potential of it to being nothing more than somewhat impressive visual effects, cheesy dialogue, insincere characters and a hollow storyline. I’m thinking of Superman Returns, the original Spiderman series and the string of horrible Marvel films such as Thor, The Hulk and Iron Man (Iron Man was the only one vaguely worth watching). So when Batman Begins came out in 2005 I wasn’t interested. It was only in more recent years after discovering the genius of Christopher Nolan (Memento and Inception) that I decided to go back and give Batman Begins a go.
The story of Bruce Wayne is handled tastefully, interspersed along the contemporary narrative as Bruce finds himself in a Tibetan type monastery with the League of Shadows. To be honest, the League of Shadows was a little unbelievable. Thankfully Liam Neeson didn’t completely ruin the film for me (as he does in every one of his other films), but the idea of a group of ‘ninja assassins’ just sounds too immature to be believable. The idea that the League of Shadows wants to eliminate the city of Gotham through dispersing water vapor laced with toxins reminded me that I was watching a comic book film. I would have preferred a more realistic scenario (albeit not another nuclear armageddon story please). Having said this, the motif of fear added to the entire story, starting with a young Bruce and culminating as the weapon for destroying Gotham. It seems that Nolan was doing something more than just blowing millions on creating a blockbuster but there was a clear message to be told. I appreciate that.
The performances and characters are central to the success of the Batman franchies. Christian Bale is a stellar performer of the damaged yet resolute Bruce Wayne. He’s appropriately arrogant when he needs to be which turned me away from him, but he was then tough as nails as Batman. This is also an ode of praise to Nolan’s directing. Michael Caine seems to have been made for the role of supportive and witty Alfred and Morgan Freeman did an excellent job as Fox to Batman as Q was to James Bond. I particularly enjoyed Cillian Murphy’s character, The Scarecrow. He was dark and edgy and Nolan’s treatment of him as a villain was truly engaging and harrowing.
The direction and handling of the Batman character was superb by Nolan. Batman was made to be a plausibile character. Granted he was funded by billions, but at the heart of who he was, he was sincere and believable. In addition the great handling of the characters and plot, the overall filmmaking was class. Hans Zimmer brought the film to life with the soundtrack and the cinematography of Wally Pfister was breathtaking at moments. The writing and dialogue had the right balance of witty yet realistic. Alred in particular had some great lines that brought his character to life.
Something tells me that Batman Begins will be the weakest in the trilogy, much like Bourne Identity. It serves the purpose of setting the scene and establishing the characters but failed to have the Oscar winning magic that The Dark Knight had with the Joker. Despite all this, Batman begins was a highly enjoyable film and one that handled the story and characters in a sincere and intentional manner which came through strongly.
Plot/Plot Development: 7/10
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality Value: 76%