Remember Batman And Robin? You do? Damn, well, let us forget that ever existed and focus on the in my opinion the most perfect introduction to Batman yet.
Back in 2004, when I first discovered that there would be another Batman movie and this time a reboot, I was curious but also excited. Why? Well, for many reasons. First being that it is Batman and second that the film was attached by some of the best actors working today. Actors such as Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson. I been a big fan of these actors, but I wasn’t really a huge fan of Christian Bale’s at the time. I only saw one of his films and that was American Psycho. I just knew back then that he loved to kill people using an axe while listening to Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis And The News. But today, he will always be Batman to me.
The film is a reboot and a origin story. It conforms to both as it forgets that previous Batman movies ever existed and we get to see how he becomes from Bruce Wayne to Batman. That was never told on film and apparently not even in the comics. Christopher Nolan just came off from doing Insomnia and pitched the idea of doing a dark twist on the character. This was due to the fact that previous Batman movies were in terms a bit camp and comical. Whereas Batman Begins is a true dark and gritty take on the character. Nolan has explained that he is a dark character and telling it like that on film serves its true justice.
The film starts with him being a little boy being afraid of bats and then later see his parents being murdered. And then it leads to him becoming the Batman. The one thing that Christopher Nolan borrows from his previous film is that it starts off as disrupted narrative. Meaning that it goes from the past and then on to the present many times. It works brilliantly as it fits as many important information as possible.
I for one was a huge fan of the film ever since I first saw this film back in 2005. It made me realise that Batman is classed as a superhero who doesn’t have any super powers whatsoever. This film conforms to that brilliantly as we see him through pain and fear.
The film’s main theme is fear. The term fear is written all over this movie. There is a quote by Liam Neeson who says “To conquer fear, you must become it”. I find that quote truly brilliant as it explains it all. We see him afraid of bats at the opening scene and then he overcomes his fear and becomes the Batman. So, by conquering the fear of bats, he became a bat himself and conquered his fear by becoming the Batman.
It has terrific performances which is no surprise for a Christopher Nolan film, as his films always include strong performances by terrific actors. In my opinion, Christian Bale is just perfect as Bruce Wayne and Batman. He has the physique of Batman and the true emotional depth as Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine as Alfred the butler is also terrific. He adds some comic relief to the movie and makes his performance really stand out.
Liam Neeson is as always menacing and great as the villain Ra’s Al Ghul. The one thing I admire him as a villain is the fact that he has a purpose for his existence. He wants Gotham to be burnt down, because the city is seriously corrupt. I never expected that for a Batman movie, I would have expected the cliche just do it for no reason. But his character has deep amounts of character development that it makes hs villain more human. And for that I truly respect on how Nolan approached to the character of Ra’s Al Ghul.
Gary Oldman is fantastic as James Gordon. He is so believable, that he has fear in him despite being a Gotham Policeman. He gives us the idea that Gotham is corrupt and that he is the only that isn’t corrupt. He does it so well, by adding human elements to his character like helping Bruce Wayne as a kid by supporting him.
Morgan Freeman is also great as Lucius Fox. He is the man who helps Bruce Wayne with the Batman suit and equipment. He also adds comic relief which is no surprise from Morgan Freeman. His presence makes the film so great by adding human elements. We discover earlier in the film that he helped Bruce Wayne’s father to built the train. You’ll understand when you see the film.
The film is filled with a lot of British talent such as Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy and Tom Wilkinson. And it does have American and other talents such as Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Rutger Hauer and Linus Roache as Thomas Wayne.
This film made me realise how important soundtrack can be to a film. The soundtrack is by two legendary composers (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard). The soundtrack again as previous Nolan film is very ambient and very gritty. It gives this beautiful ambience towards the film and helps form the escapism. The score is so breathtaking that it honestly takes you out of the real world and you are immersed in the city of Gotham. It is also has this bittersweet vibe to it as the character of Bruce Wayne suffers from many tragedies. One being of course is witnessing the death if his parents and also being afraid of bats.
The way the city of Gotham is represented is very natural. It is not comical at all. It feels like a real city in the real world filled with crime and corruption. You could class it as a metaphor that it could be hell which is filled with its victims. Or like another quote said by Thomas Wayne “Who do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”. This could be a metaphor that Bruce Wayne is keep on going down as a person and needs to be picked back up so he becomes Batman.
Overall, Batman Begins is the perfect example of a true origin superhero film. It has the perfect combination of character development, theme of fear, terrific performances and breathtaking direction by Christopher Nolan.