Movie Review: “Batman Begins” (2005)

Now that I’m on summer vacation, I have plenty of time in my hands. Recently, I went out to see the new Batman movie, and I think it is a pretty good film. Even though I don’t have a film class to make me write movie reviews any more, I still chose to write one for this film, to practice my writing skills. Here’s my review of Batman Begins.

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After years of absence from the big screen, Batman is finally back. Batman Begins (2005), directed by Chris Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader, goes back to the beginning of the Batman series and tells the story of how a young Bruce Wayne became Batman. It’s clear that one of the main goals of this film is to revitalize the Batman movie franchise after several lackluster attempts, notably the disappointing Batman and Robin (1997). After watching this film, I believe that Batman Begins has what it takes to accomplish its goal to bring back the series.

Batman Begins, as the title indicates, is a prequel to all the other Batman movies. The film opens in a Chinese prison compound, where Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) takes on many of his fellow inmates in a huge brawl. Bruce, who is still deeply disturbed by his parents’ deaths, has been wandering around the world for years trying to understand the mind of criminals by becoming one of them. While in prison, Bruce is “discovered” by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), who takes Bruce under his wing and teaches him ninja-style martial arts and how to conquer his fears. Henri is a member of The Shadow League, a secret group that has tried to purge evil for centuries. When Bruce learns that The Shadow League’s new plan is to destroy Gotham City in order to cleanse the corruption there, he must return to his hometown and save the city from destruction, while at the same time deliver his own brand of justice upon the local criminals.

The thing that stands out most in Batman Begins is the style of this film. As many people have pointed out, Batman Begins is much darker than all the other Batman movies. It is no longer campy or cartoonish like most comic book-based film and is one of the most “realistic” superhero movies ever. A “realistic superhero movie” may be an oxymoron, but the fact that this movie is somewhat more believable means that the general audience will enjoy and understand it a bit more. Through techniques such as dim lighting, sound effects and action sequences, the film creates a dark and brooding and most importantly, fearful atmosphere. The “fear” is one of the central themes of this movie, because Bruce Wayne uses his fear to turn himself into the symbol Batman in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. Therefore, establishing the correct atmosphere for this film goes a long way in making this film better and distinguishing it from all the other generic superhero movies out there.

Batman Begins also feature some superb performances from its cast and a high quality screenplay. Christian Bale is great as the young Bruce Wayne, who doesn’t show much emotion but always carries the look of a person who is suppressing painful memories due to a tragedy in his life. His anger and thirst for vengeance doesn’t really show through his face but those internal emotions are well established by the storytelling. Liam Neeson also delivers with his portrayal of Henri Ducard, a suave gentleman of a villain who is great as a foil to Bruce Wayne in the fact that while they both have the same ideals, Henri and Bruce choose different methods in order to make these ideals come true. Michael Caine is the best Alfred in the Batman movies, since Alfred has a much larger role in this installment and Caine has the correct expressions for an old butler who is both an assistant and a paternal figure to his young master. All of this is accompanied by a screenplay that has the right pacing and dialogue, which make this movie a very enjoyable experience.

There are some minor problems with Batman Begins, such as some abrupt transitions into and out of flashbacks in the beginning of the film that may be a little confusing and the fact there is a bunch of ninjas hiding in China doesn’t sound very plausible, but these problems are not enough the ruin the movie. Having seen all of the other Batman movies, I have to say that this is my favourite among the series of five films. Batman Begins is an summer blockbuster movie the everyone can enjoy, although it may be a bit too dark and scary for very young children. If Batman Begins is an indication of things to come for the Batman movie franchise, then fans have nothing to worry about, as Batman is back with a vengeance.

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