Movie review: Batman Begins
Oh my god, what a good movie this this. It could have been a banana skin for Warner Bros., but director Christopher Nolan has produced a fresh take on an old subject and done it extraordinarily well.
"How does one man change the world?"
It's a question that haunts Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). The death of his parents, murdered on a Gotham street outside the Opera house has filled him with guilt and anger. Disillusioned with life and seeking the means to fight injustice, he travels the world to educate himself in the ways of the criminal. Basically, he becomes one and end up in a Chinese prison cell where he is visited one day by the mysterious Ducard (Liam Neeson).
Ducard informs Bruce he is to released the next day and if he wants to fulfill his potential, he is to climb a mountain with a blue flower growing on ins lower slopes. Thus, Bruce is trained and mentored by Ducard to become a member of the League of Shadows, a powerful, subversive vigilante group.
Bruce returns to a Gotham city rampant with crime and corruption. Wayne Enterprises, his fathers business, is now run by CEO Richard Earle (Rutger Hauer). With bruce gone for seven years and presumed dead, Earle is taking the company public and trusted Butler Alfred (Michael Caine) has inherited Bruce's incredible wealth.
During his absent years, Rachel Dawes (Katie Homes), a close childhood friend, has become an Assistant District Attorney. She finds the justice system so corrupt that se cannot convict the city's most notorious criminal, the most notorious of which is the crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson).
Bruce Wayne is helped in his quest for justice by Alfred, detective Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and scientist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Bruce unleashes his alter-ego and becomes a masked crusader using lots of "fabulous toys" and high tech weaponry to take down the sinister forces that are attempting to destroy Gotham City.
Thats the promo-blurb out of the way, what did I think? This really is great. Primarily filmed in the UK with bits in Ireland, Iceland and Chicago, this is yet another American backed film, shot in the UK with British/Irish and Welsh actors aplently. Of course, they are mainly playing Americans and doing it very well.
Refreshingly, Gary Oldman is playing a good guy and Tom wilkinson is playing a bad guy. Cristian Bale is perfectly cast for the Bruce Wayne/Batman role and it was a real kick to see Rutger Hauer back in the big screen in a major film. At least with Rutger, his performance didn't once make me think of Blade Runner.
This was not the case with Liam Neeson. Liam reprises Qi Gon from The Phantom Menace. Frankly, he does it much better, but I did keep expecting to use the phrase "...my young padowan...". There was such a strong thread of a certain something that I won't go into, but you will know what I'm talking about when you see this great movie, I realised that instead of being called Batman Begins, it could be called Star Wars Begins. You could watch part of this movie and think "Look, they are the beginning of the Sith and he's the first Jedi....". Perhaps I've been watching too much Star Wars recently.
Katie Homes puts in a decent performance and Morgan Freeman is a good as ever. Michael Caine was brilliant a the butler Alfred. His accent turns from butler British to London, East End Cockney by the end of the film. He has a few classic lines and I'm sure that when the sequel is made and believe me, there has to be one, he will star prominently.
Batman Returns will be a massive hit, by rights it should be bigger than Lord of the Sith. Excitingly, there will be an Imax releases and you can bet that I will be booking my seat at the London Imax.
Verdict: Best film of the year 10/10.
If you like the sound of Batman Begins, we suggest you will like Sin City.