Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Rated: M 15+ moderate violence, moderate themes
Running Time: 134 Minutes
Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins' explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.
He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.
Based upon Batman characters created by Bob Crane and published by DC Comics, 'Batman Begins' is a fresh and inventive take on the many previously made movies of the same character, some of which were dubious and left many wanting. Rest assured because director Christopher Nolan has delivered a decent and deserving movie that will satisfy previously disgruntled fans of Batman, giving this film a noir approach without overdoing the dramatics and releases the need to compare this movie with any of the previous Batman movies.
'Batman Begins' reveals the origin of the caped crusader's reason and rationale for his actions. As a young child, Bruce Wayne fell down a disused well and was swarmed by teeming bats from a nearby cave (which later becomes the infamous "batcave"), hence the connection to bats which evolved from this fall and which eventually lead to the tragic death of his parents that he witnessed.
Upon growing up, Bruce ventures to the East to "find" himself, is taught by a mysterious man, Ducard (Liam Neeson) and then returns home where he vows revenge on the criminal and corrupt presence in the city of Gotham. He is assisted in his quest by the ever-loyal butler, Alfred (Michael Caine) and using the knowledge of Wayne Enterprise's Applied Sciences, gizmo's and gadgets wiz, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and receiving law and order help from one of the few good cops, detective Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), seen long before he ever became Commsioner Gordon. Throw in the resident baddie, Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy wearing the most uber-funky glasses), Gotham City's crime lord, Carmine Falcone (a badly miscast Tom Wilkinson) and the required love-interest Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and the scene is set for a ripper of a tale involving a mind-altering drug that is set to be released into the atmosphere of Gotham City.
The cast of 'Batman Begins' are excellent possibly with the exception of Tom Wilkinson's role as Falcone - Tom is usually good but here he seems out of his depth with not enough anger and nastiness for a crime boss. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman get all the good, fun witty lines and are do them justice making both of them irresistible, Cillian Murphy (who missed out on the lead role as Batman) is a suitably twisted nasty doctor, Liam Neeson is ok as the mystifying Ducard and Katie Holmes surely has the cutest dimples to win over even the hardest heart.
The set-up of 'Batman Begins' is at times, too slow, bordering on tedious but it does make appreciation of when Bale gets to don the cape and do some serious crime fighting all the more worthwhile, even if some of the physical fight scenes are edited so that it's near impossible to work out just what is happening. Clearly left wide open for a follow-up sequel, this Batman has wings worth seeing.
Rating : ***½