Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Junior
After the death of his parents in a robbery and a foiled attempt to kill their murderer, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) leaves the country to search for something else entirely. While his hometown of Gotham City is slowly falling apart and swallowed by crime, Bruce ends up first in a prison, then with the League of Shadows, a mysterious organisation that wants to fight corruption, where he is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). But when Bruce finds out about the actual goals of the League, he decides that he’d rather come home to Gotham and fight crime on his own terms – as the Batman.
Batman Begins is a wonderful start to the trilogy, and a film that is not only still enjoyable when you’ve seen the 10th time (or so), but also one that stands the test of time very well.
Batman Begins is not perfect. Though it never gets boring it does suffer from Setupitis: it takes its time establishing Bruce Wayne and how he came to be Batman, which is, of course, essential so that the other movies works, but it also means that the pace is sometimes a little slow.
The other thing that doesn’t work quite so well is that Christopher Nolan, as awesome as he otherwise is, really can’t manage to string together a coherent batfight. As soon as there’s Batman in attack mode, the cuts get too fast, the image gets too dark and you don’t really know what’s happening anymore.
Apart from the missteps in the action scenes, Christopher Nolan really does know how to put a film together. Of course I remembered my favorite scenes, but some scenes I didn’t remember quite as well – and I was hit again by the strength of them. For example, I never paid much attention before to the scene where Bruce confronts Falcone, but holy shit, it is good.
Apart from the generally wonderful cast (with the exception of Katie Holmes who doesn’t get much to work with in the first place, but even if she had, I don’t think she would have managed to be more than forgettable), I had already forgotten how funny it is (especially whenever Morgan Freeman or Michael Caine enter the scene), how much Ken Watanabe hams it up and I had almost forgotten how freaking sexy Christian Bale is. Oh, and Gary Oldman. Even if the story had been boring, just watching that cast in action would be entertainment enough.
Summarising: Brilliant on its own, but even more so as the first act of the trilogy.