If you see one movie this summer, make it Batman Begins. I realize this is high praise considering all the movies that I haven’t seen, but I so thoroughly enjoyed Batman Begins that I think it merits the recommendation.
Christian Bale is the best choice for Batman/Bruce Wayne yet, and I quickly got past the slightly annoying “batman-voice”. You’ll see what I mean. Surprisingly, however, you don’t actually see Batman in full iconic garb until at least an hour into the movie, by my estimation. Maybe more.
This is an origin story, and it is well told. I’m not a big enough fan of the comic to know how true to the “real” origin story it is, but it was certainly entertaining. Christian Bale’s strongest moments are as the driven and brooding soul who, realizing that vengeance upon his parent’s murderer is not an option, will settle for those like him.
Veterans Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, as Alfred and Lucius Fox, respectively, really add a lot in terms of comic relief. While this film was gritty, it was nowhere near as dark as the Burton Batman films. The action was frenetic and it was difficult to tell what was happening, which fits with the style of this Batman. He strikes, fades back into the shadows, and strikes again – constantly keeping the bad guys confused and fearful. It appears that they tried to keep the batsuit off camera as much as possible, which wasn’t a bad thing. It’s hard to make the suit believable, but they did as good a job as one could expect, and then kept it off screen as much as possible in a film that is about Batman. Don’t get me wrong, you see plenty of Batman in the suit – but not as much as I thought you would, and not as much as in previous films.
Fear is a major theme – and it is addressed well. While I was a little fearful that having multiple villains would hurt this film as it hurt previous batman films, it wasn’t an issue. The Scarecrow was well executed, and the scenes that made use of his hallucinogenic gas were a joy to watch.
I realize that watching a fellow run around dressed like a flying rodent doesn’t appeal to everybody – but this is a quality film, top to bottom. See it if you have the opportunity, and I’ll be glad to take the blame if you don’t enjoy it.