Friday, June 17, 2005

.:Film Review: Batman Begins:.


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Batman Begins
Batman lets the light come shining in… who knows where the road will lead us now…

If I’m going to be as quick about my review as humanly possible, I’d just say this movie was leaps and bounds better than “Batman And Robin’.

But that wouldn’t saying a lot.

“Batman Begins” follows Bruce Wayne prior to becoming Batman, as he traveled the world in hopes of finding a way to fulfill his vow to his murdered parents. He ends up training in the arts of ninjitsu under Ra’s Al Ghul, the leader of the League Of Shadows. In the end, he realizes that he cannot cross the line of murder, and turns down the chance to lead the League in destroying Gotham City, and his actions result in the apparent death of Ra’s, while he saves the life of his master, the man who trained him all this time.

He then returns to Gotham city and it turns out that his company is going public. He makes some last-minute adjustments to this, but also develops a bond with Lucius Fox, a scientific genius in his company, whom he begins to turn to for equipment as he starts himself on the quest to become Batman.

Meanwhile, his childhood friend Rachel is now the assistant District Attorney, and her fearless demeanor is getting her into trouble with Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, who is being backed by one of the top mobsters in Gotham City. Little do any of them know that Crane has been secretly performing illegal experiments on his inmates in the loony bin. He has developed a fear toxin that can drive people insane.

For the longest time, the water supply of Gotham was slowly being contaminated by Crane with the fear toxin. However, its potency is only realized in inhaled form, and as such the water supply of Gotham would need to be vaporized first before the toxin could cause its trouble. Ra’s Al Ghul, apparently still alive, masterminds a device that would execute this dastardly deed, and it’s up to Batman and Sergeant Gordon, one of the few good cops left in the GCPD, to stop this plan.

And that’s where my storytelling ends, and where my sheer admiration for the movie’s brilliance begins.

First of all, there were admittedly liberties taken with the script in contrast to its continuity. For one, the killer of Bruce’s parents in this film is different from the killer in the first “Batman”. Secondly, the Joker in this film was already the Joker. The whole episode where he was still Jack Napier before Batman accidentally knocked him into chemicals is completely bypassed.

In spite of that, this movie is chock full of amazing action, brilliant scriptwriting, and well-placed comedy. I especially liked the scene where Bruce and his mentor were trying to fight each other in the middle of ninjas who wore the same uniform as they both did. It was a pretty impressive “fight” scene, as it really gave you a good insight into how Bruce Wayne’s resourcefulness can take him places. Michael Caine as Alfred was pretty good, although I wouldn’t have minded seeing the old Alfred from the past four Batman films. I was hoping the Scarecrow had more of a costume, but he only had a mask. Ra’s Al Ghul as a villan was positively brilliant, though. No Talia and no Lazarus Pit, but it didn’t matter. The character was portrayed very well in making him a manipulative megalomaniac.

Regardless, this movie is definitely worth watching. I personally enjoyed seeing Christian Bale as Batman, as I felt that he did justice to the role arguably second only to Michael Keaton (Although Bale was obviously a better Bruce Wayne.). As you can tell, I tried being light on the spoilers with this one, but I’m sure you’re going to enjoy the movie. It was definitely a throwback to the Tim Burton vision of Batman, and I can’t help but think that Scarecrow looked like Johnny Depp…

I loved this film, and it goes really well as a stand-alone movie, due to its lack of continuity. I just wish they didn’t fudge Batman’s code of ethics with the line “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.”

Other than that, this movie is something you just have to watch if you’re remotely interested in Batman.

“Fun” Evaluation: A+
“Critical” Evaluation: A+

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