Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne who has purposefully got himself thrown into prison and entered a life of crime to train and learn how to get back at evil and strike fear into their hearts. While in prison he is approached by Henri Ducard (Liam Nesson) speaking on the behalf of Ra’s al Ghul (Ken Watanabe), who leads an organization called the League of Shadows who wishes to, rid the world of the scum of the earth. The league trains
Upon returning to Gotham,
To say a lot is going on in this film, is a bit of an understatement, and I haven’t even got into the twists and turns of the story yet. But the film at heart is an origin story, and a pretty damn good one at that and it spends the fist half of the movie building and creating who Batman is, before he really solidifies into what he is ideally trying to be and begins really getting into the meat of the Falcone mess.
The film itself is paced extremely well for an origin story, having to introduce all these characters and trying to get to know them; it does a pretty damn good job. The action in the film is solid and thrilling, but the fights themselves are too tightly shot and you can’t even tell what is going on. Another problem with the film is that there is no definitive antagonist for Batman. There are a couple of adversaries, but no true villain to define what is truly bad in this film. But in the end, this is a minor qualm, and again we are establishing Batman in this film first and foremost.
The acting is top notch across the board, with Katie Holmes being the only real weakness in the cast. She isn’t terrible, but she isn’t really that good either. Bale gives us the best Bruce Wayne yet and his Batman is just a hair below Michael Keaton’s. Wilkinson eats up the scenery as Falcone and is a joy to watch in the limited screen time he gets. Unfortunately, Gary Oldman’s Gordon doesn’t get as much screen time as I would have liked in this film, but there is always the sequel, and Oldman does a great job with what he has. Morgan Freeman is incredibly likable as Lucius Fox with his sly humor and wisdom and advice. Michael Caine makes Alfred more than a butler and gives
I have already touched on the direction a bit, but Nolan does a great job on his first film on a grand scale and you can see how he has grown in his follow up The Prestige. It will be really great to see how he further grows in The Dark Knight. The score is also very good, yet extremely subtle, with it never really being prominently but complementing the film very well. The effects work is also top notch and even though they did much of it practically the CGI blends in perfectly.
In the end, Batman Begins is one of the better comic book films in recent years. While there are few that still sit above it, Nolan has laid the grounds for an excellent follow up with The Dark Knight and it will be great to see what he can do with a defined villain, The Joker, and not having to worry about the back story of the Wayne and Batman.