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BATMAN BEGINS

Movie Review by David Blackwell

Starring Christian Bale, Liam Nesson, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Rutger Hauer

Written by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Running Time: 137 minutes

BATMAN BEGINS is the best film of the BATMAN series. It outperforms every Batman movie that came before it and wipes every one of them on the floor. BATMAN BEGINS is the best comic book movie so far. It is an engaging character drama with action to boot. It puts on a very realistic take and throws Batman into the gritty world of Gotham.

The film starts with Bruce Wayne being in a Chinese prison. He is offered a purpose by Henri Ducard (Liam Nesson) to train with the League of Shadows led by the infamous Ra's Al Ghul (my favorite villain from the Batman comics- sadly Talia (his daughter) isn't in the film). After his years of being away, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham and devotes his life to being Batman. He starts putting it together with the help of his trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), and a Wayne Enterprises inventor Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman). His first adventures as Batman has him gaining an ally in detective Sargeant James Gordon. Batman discovers a deeper plan when he busts a Gotham crime lord.

Christopher Nolan creates another masterpiece. The script is tight and effective. The actors make this a very believable movie. The movie's central themes are justice and fear. Batman and Scarecrow both use fear. Bruce Wayne and Ra's Al Ghul both have their own takes on justice (Ra's is more extreme than Bruce/Batman). Rachel Dawes is the anchor who made Bruce seek out the meaning behind what is justice and what isn't. Ra's just helped clarify that at a critical point when he had Bruce released from prison. BATMAN BEGINS is about Bruce becoming the person he needed to become, Batman. It also introduces us to the partnership of Jim Gordon (the future Police Commissioner of Gotham) and Batman. You even see Bruce take on disguises as he does his work to bring the criminals to justice. A good start on the Batman legend. Nolan effictively shows the death of Bruce's parents better than any other director of the BATMAN films. That scene packs a shocking impact. The first half of the movie is better than any BATMAN movie as BATMN BEGINS provides an engagin character study of a man who will become a legend. You are shown how Bruce acquires the technology he will use as Batman.

I'm thrilled that Ra's Al Ghul is ina Batman movie.   I have read several Batman stories with him in it (I own the Son of The Demon graphic novel and the Tales of The Demon trade).  The more I think of it, I miss the writers not including Talia.  Think of the sexual tension between her and Bruce, and Talia being stuck between two men she loves: Bruce/Batman and her father.  Imagine BATMAN BEGINS taking on another layer with Talia's inclusion.   Rachel and Talia wouldn't get along because both are in love with the same guy.

This gritty Batman movie has a the best score for a Batman movie ever. The Batmobile is hell on wheels as it is literally an unstoppable military prototype vehicle. This take on Batman's primary vehicle makes the previous Batmobiles seem like used Pintos in comparison! Finally that brings me to the city of Gotham. Parts of the city look like an art deco metropolis while the slums are really down and dirty (with hope being destroyed by crime and fear).

BATMAN BEGINS is one of the best movies of this year and will be a tough act to live up to during the summer months. I can't wait for the sequel. Please make it soon. I really do want to see what else can be done with this reboot of the BATMAN film series.

this movie review is (c)6-22-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia