I have to admit, I used to hate Batman with a passion. Spiderman has always been my favourite superhero and I guess I always thought Batman looked pretty darn evil since he’s always dressed in black and has a creepy voice. Then, I was dragged along to see The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema and everything changed. I wasn’t just a new Batman fan, I was frickin’ Batman obsessed. I now own several Batman t-shirts, Batman underwear and lots of other Batman memorabilia.
Batman Begins, unsurprisingly, is the first film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, now known as The Dark Knight trilogy. The story begins with a young Bruce Wayne who witnesses his parents deaths’ at the hands of a desperate beggar, out to steal his father’s wallet. After this tragedy, Bruce has never been the same. Many years later, Joe Chill, the man who murdered his parents, is granted parole in exchange for testifying against Gotham’s most feared criminal: Falcone.
Bruce goes to the trial with the intention of finished Joe Chill off himself; however, one of Falcone’s men gets there first. Still full of angry thoughts and determined to find out more about the criminal underworld, Bruce goes travelling. He gets into a bit of trouble on his travels and ends up in a prison in Bhutan but he is soon rescued by Henri, a member of the League of Shadows lead by Ra’s al Ghul, who offers to train him to overcome his fears and become as stealthy as a ninja. After completing his training, Bruce finds out that the true intention of Ra’s al Ghul is to destroy Gotham City, so he leaves the League of Shadows and returns to Gotham to help fight crime and protect the city. Thus, Batman is born.
Batman Begins is almost 10 years old now, it was released in 2005, and when watching most films from that time period now, you can tell that they’re slightly dated from either the different fashions, slightly dodgy CGI or lesser quality graphics, but this wasn’t the case at all with Batman Begins. I firmly believe that this film is, and will forever be, timeless.
I was really impressed by the action sequences, the high speed chases, the quality of the costumes – everything. All of these things get better as technology progresses but this film must’ve been way ahead of it’s time when it was released because all of those things still managed to impress me nearly 10 years on. Gotham City is, of course, fake and so is the Bat Cave, but from watching this film you wouldn’t know it. There actually aren’t too many CGI effects in this film as the director, Nolan, preferred ‘traditional stunt work’. How everything looked so darn real is beyond me. There wasn’t a single moment in this film when I thought to myself that something was unrealistic because I believed that what I was watching was reality (yes, it was that good).
The plot had me gripped the entire way through the film. I was watching this on my TV at home and I kept trying to multitask and complete a crossword or play a game on my iPhone but after mere seconds of distraction my eyes were glued right back on the screen. This film is almost two and half hours long, but it held my attention for pretty much every second. The plot is fast paced with the story developing all the time. This is an amazing start to a trilogy because it gets right into the action without sacrificing any of the much needed background explanation, thereby setting a concrete foundation for the subsequent two films and making this a very interesting film in its own right. One thing that bothered me about the plot was that I felt it was quite similar to that of The Dark Knight Rises in some ways (yes, I watched the last film before the first film), though I guess that would be classified as a fault of the latter and not Batman Begins.
The cast is absolutely brilliant with a vast array of talented actors. Christian Bale is a phenomenal actor with the ability to play a wide range of different personas. Bale can do happy, sad, angry, vengeful, surprised, determined, scary, playboy – you name it, he can do it. I honestly cannot think of anyone better for the role of Batman than Christian Bale as he gives a superb performance both Batman and Bruce Wayne. I never doubted Batman for a second, despite the fact that he’s dressed up as a bat, has a raspy voice and a drives a Batmobile.
Batman is a character that borders on the ridiculous but with Bale’s solid performance there’s no doubt that Batman means serious sh*t. Alongside Bale, there’s Gary Oldman, Liam Neesom, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson and Morgan Freeman. You just can’t go wrong with this cast. If any one of the above people had been replaced with someone else, this film just wouldn’t have been the same. Each and every one of these actors has such a unique presence on screen and together they are simply fantastic.
Something to note is that this film was genuinely rather frightening at some points so I probably wouldn’t recommend that anyone under the age of about 12 years old watch it. Despite the fact the fact that Batman Begins is a very serious story, there are still elements of humour dotted throughout which are much needed considering how dark this tale is. It’s by no means a funny film but there’s just the right amount of darkness and humour to stop you from slipping into a dark pit of despair whilst watching.
In addition, the soundtrack is brilliant. The soundtrack is something that I only ever pick up on in the very best of films and I have to say that the score for Batman Begins really did the film justice. The action, the drama, the darkness, is all supported by this fantastic array of sounds and without the soundtrack I definitely wouldn’t have found as dramatic or entertaining. It’s amazing how much a soundtrack can add to a film but hats off to Hans Zimmer, the composer, for this dark, musical masterpiece.
All in all, Batman Begins is a fantastic film with a gripping plot, a vast array of talented actors, great action sequences, lots of mystery and intrigue and a good soundtrack. I would highly recommend this film and the rest of the series as each and every film in the The Dark Knight trilogy is a masterpiece.