Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A welcome origin.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
When you watch a franchise, sometimes it’s a hassle to get through because you know the really good ones are much later on. Yeah, yeah, the Dark Knight Trilogy is a completely different ballpark and franchise, but when you’re talking about Batman in general, the epicness that is his character isn’t really introduced until 2005 with Batman Begins. As many knew by this point, Batman really needed a clean slate after the tradgedies of Joel Schumacher’s reign turned Batman into unremarkable sludge. He not only needed a clean slate, he needed to be justly revamped and reimagined to really clue an audience into who and what this character is – and how he came to be.
That’s precisely what Batman Begins is all about, Batman’s origins, and how he came to be – other than the obvious. Yes, his parents were shot down outside of a theater, which is where the origins pretty much stop with other films. You are basically taught – his parents are dead, so that’s why he’s Batman, but there’s so much more than that. In this film, it takes you step by step. How Bruce truly learned the definition of injustice; how he lived among those in poverty and learned compassion; and how he learned how to protect himself among the League of Shadows. All of that is legendary, and a side of Bruce Wayne/Batman that most people haven’t heard of. After he actually becomes the Batman, he faces off against Scarecrow as he plots to put the city of Gotham into mass panic under the direct supervision of Ra’s Al Ghul.
This, ladies and gentleman, is a Batman movie. Listen up Tim Burton – I said this twice for you – you can’t have a villain that Gotham citizens like. I know you prefer your dark and mysterious characters to be likeable, but that didn’t work for the Joker or Penguin. No, it felt wrong. They needed to make an already depressing city more depressing. Tim Burton didn’t do it. Joel Schumacher just made everyone a stand-up comedian. Christopher Nolan, however, figured out how to make a main villain scary and a force to be reckoned with, even though it was a lesser-known villain like the Scarecrow. It was just presented so, so well, and played by the genius Cillian Murphy.
So the villains in this film were spot on, what else? Batman. Before watching this movie, you wouldn’t have even thought most of his back story was that relevant, but now you can’t imagine his origin without absolutely everything attached. It just gave his character so much depth and explained why he isn’t just a stuck-up trust fund kid. I also don’t think there’s been a better actor that has looked and acted the part for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Christian Bale was just…so perfect. Don’t even get me started on Lucius Fox. A name in the comics, but one you haven’t seen in the previous series…at all…and now I have no idea why not. The dude is pretty awesome and fits so well into the Batman universe.
As for Katie Holmes. I’ve heard a lot of negative things said about her in her portrayal as Rachel Dawes. Honestly, I don’t understand all of the negativity. No, I didn’t think she was perfect, but I don’t have anything bad to say about her either. I think she did a fine job. I also think the same for Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays the same character in The Dark Knight. I like them both honestly, so sue me.
Story-wise, this is a bit different than your typical Batman movie, given, but I actually like the structure. That is, instead of having two bad guys working side-by-side seemingly there just to kill Batman…you have a couple villains that are dealt with kind of like acts. In the first act, you had Falcone, which led to the second act with Scarecrow, and third with Ra’s Al Ghul, etc. It really flowed together nicely and kept things afloat. Beyond that, I have to give it to Hans Zimmer for the absolutely iconic musical score. You won’t forget it anytime soon.
Is everything a bad answer for this? Okay fine, the movie wasn’t 100% perfection, but it was darn near close. It had just the right amount of tones, of character and story development, structure – and starring an unforgettable cast with amazing camerawork and soundtrack.
It’s hard to really say at this point. My mind immediately points to the fact that it’s not as good as The Dark Knight, but that’s not it. Instead, as much as I love the character development, I was left just…wanting more Batman than what I actually got. I guess that’s a negative.
Batman: SWEAR TO ME!