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Batman Begins (2005)

Given my fondness for superhero, or comic book hero big-screen adaptations, it hardly seemed fair that I’d not yet seen a single version chronicling the escapades of the great Batman. Though several years old, the first in the trilogy from Christopher Nolan is actually very impressive.

The memory of his parents being murdered when he was a child has been etched in Bruce Wayne’s mind for years now. Following college and the assassination of the man who killed them, Bruce (Christian Bale) disappears. He left his father’s company – his legacy, his home and faithful butler, Alfred (Michael Caine) behind to attempt living with the criminal and experience the mind of the criminal up close and personal. It has led him to an Asian prison that he chose to be thrown into. Mysteriously he finds a benefactor – or rather Ducard (Liam Neeson) finds Bruce rotting in the prison and “arranges” to have him released issuing him a challenge. Once he reaches Ducard’s army of elite soldiers, Bruce is trained in skilled hand-to-hand combat but refuses his final challenge leading to a dismantling of his partnership with Ducard.

Returning to Gotham City, he lives up to his supposed image of a billionaire playboy and reunites with his childhood friend, Rachel (Katie Holmes). It doesn’t take him long to realize that Gotham is a fading city – in order to save it, Bruce creates an alter-ego in a bat-like figure that strikes fear into the criminal. It’s only when his past rears its ugly head that Bruce realizes what he’s fighting to protect is worth preserving.

At the roll of the credits, I liked this movie – a lot. Knowing what’s coming next makes me like it less. Had the trilogy not wondered into such dark and depressing territory – and I don’t have to “see” it to recognize the upsetting twists it encounters, I’d be much more enthusiastic about it. As it stands now, this may be the only movie I watch of this trilogy in a while. (Fortunately, for this happy-ending kinda’ girl, my cousin has assured me that the ending of ‘Rises’ is a good one, and not a mirage!) Separating my feelings of things that are to come and focusing exclusively on ‘Begins,’ I can easily say that I loved this superhero, but I do have bones to pick with the movie, and that is the purpose of this review.  

Blowing me away were the great special effects and storyline. I loved how Batman came to be. It was fabulous to encounter such a selfless character and realize that his desire to protect was born out of something he himself feared. It brings the hero down to a more “basic,” human level and it’s a common thread that is much easier to accept than a human man being able to fly or sustain being on fire. (Of course, being a billionaire “play boy” doesn’t hurt Bruce’s quest for a better city either - or his attractiveness. *wink*)

Christian Bale plays this role with finesse and style – and I loved him as well in this as I did the besotted character of Laurie from Little Women. Here, he’s a larger presence and as a result, this character is easily more heroic. His characterization was phenomenal from a purely cinematic perspective though I digress about the shriveling leading ladies these stoic men are given! Seriously, with exception to one or two (with the whiney, spoiled MJ being the worst), superhero’s are rarely paired with a woman who deserves them. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Rachel but she goes all self-righteous on Bruce on one too many occasions.

At its best, this is a film I’d like to watch again. It’s imagined brilliantly and doesn’t seem to ever forget that its hero has a past, even one he chose to make for himself although it clocks in longer than I expected but once the first fifteen minutes pass, its pace never does lag. The script is phenomenal and as previously mentioned the cast wonderful – Bale is surrounded by a supporting cast who are some of the best in the industry including Neeson and Caine as well as an extremely creepy (co) villain in Cillian Murphy’s character. Though this is perhaps one of the darkest movies of its kind, it’s also got an edge by molding its story into one of the most realistic plus I liked how well the cast melded and the chemistry everyone had – from the fabulous camaraderie between Bruce and Alfred to the dilemma of his moral obligation that involves Ducard, there isn’t a flaw I can find in the character relations between a hero and the people who have one of two objectives: To help him create a world of good… or seek to destroy him.  

(Parental concerns: Some of the violence could be thought bordering on “graphic” but in reality, the emotional impact is greater since one villain prefers the use of physiological games to torment his victims; a toxic potion is released that causes people to hallucinate and see threats were there is none. There may be a profanity or two. Bruce arrives to a part with two scantily clad women on his arm. The film rates PG13.)
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  1. Man, I love this movie. I love everything about it -- and for me, it's the best of the trilogy. I think THIS Rachel was the best -- I HATED her in the second movie (mostly because of how the actress approached it). But... yeah, it's great. The entire franchise is great.

    1. I did also, Charity. It was such a good story. Rachel wasn't a "bad" character at all (plus I like Katie) but it drives me nuts how self-righteous the leading women get on their heroic counterparts. It just struck me in this film how often that theme crops up.

      In all likelihood, I'll see the other two movies in the series. :)

  2. I watched this movie a few months back and enjoyed.I think Christian Bale played Batman weel,despite the weird vioce.

    1. As did I, Ella. It's really quite good.

      After seeing Christian Bale in Little Women, it was strange to see him in such a different part but he was wonderful - and the deep voice was a part of his Batman persona. Guess, it made him more mysterious. :D

  3. It's not a top favorite of mine, but I did enjoy it. There's a review somewhere on my blog...should be first under the Batman tag, if I remember right. I didn't like the second movie, though...too freaky for me. Haven't seen the third yet! I hear it's a wonderful visual treat, graphics and all. Someday! :)

    All in all? Captain America SO wins. And Thor. ;)

    1. I really liked it also, Charity. Right now, I think for comic book heroes, I like Batman and Captain America. The visual effects are cool though not all that "big" in comparison to Thor or CA. Basically, the squeals coming this summer are exciting!

      Thank you for making me aware of your review. :)

  4. I still haven't seen this movie, must get round to it :)

    1. Yes, indeed, you should, Heidi - it's cool. :)

      Thanks so much for dropping by - visit again anytime.

  5. I haven't seen these movies yet, but am hoping to soon! :)

    1. Enjoy, Jessi.

      Thank you for visiting - come back anytime. :)

  6. I remember LOVING this movie back when it first came out (I mean, Christian Bale? What's not to like??). But I watched it again earlier this year and came away dissatisfied...mostly though, because him and the gal didn't actually get together and have a happy ending. :) But it's still a good one. :)

    1. Spoilers:

      If you didn't like the first for the reason that the heroine and hero don't end up together, Kellie, then DON'T be too eager to check out the sequels. I've done a lot of spoiler reading, and was disappointed by what comes about. My big thing about Rachel and Bruce not ending up together was that she refuses him because he's doing good - or because he wasn't the "same" anymore, and yet, previously she'd chewed him out for acting like an idle playboy! For me, she wasn't all that deserving of him but I liked her because he loved her.

      Having said that, I'm a firm believer in happy endings. And, yes, I loved Bale in this role! He owned it. :D

  7. I've always loved all of the Batman movies! And as always you have the greatest reviews! :)
    xo TJ

    1. This one I really liked, TJ! The other two... I'm skeptical about. Nevertheless, I'll see them at some point or I for certain will the final movie. Anne Hathaway starring with Christian Bale is all I need ;D

      Thank you - as always - for reading! I really appreciate your comments and in that, support. I hope things are going well with you. :)

  8. Yay, Batman Begins! My family loves to watch this one! You HAVE to see the next two films--they're SO good. Heath Ledger gave such a fantastic performance as the Joker in the second movie. The last one is so, SO super epic. I could go on all day about how good it is over-all. Haha! I have to say, the way it sounds, I think you'll like the 3rd one a lot. My mom isn't really a huge batman fan, but we sat her down to watch it and she actually really enjoyed it.
    Anyway, love these movies and I enjoyed your review! The cast for this film, and the last two, is THE BEST. Amazing. :)

    1. Because I am an Anne Hathaway fan, I want t see the last one but the middle movie never did appeal to me. It sounds so dark and depressing. Needless to say, I will at least see DKR if not TDK. Probably both. At some point. :)

      My mother doesn't like Batman either but I found myself with the house to myself one night so I finally watched this one! Loved the cast and the story; it's certainly one I'll watch again, Maria. :)

  9. I can understand about TDK; it's just not for everybody!
    Oh yes, Anne Hathaway plays such a fun character in the last one! She does an amazing job. I'm a huge fan of her, too! :)

    1. In all likelihood, I'll see the other two. Anne is a wonderful talent so I'm sure she'll go far. Ever since 'Princess Diaries,' I've followed that career. :) It'll be fun to see her as a kick-butt heroine in DKR, Maria - plus she's pair with Bale. ;D


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