Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Batman Begins (2005)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action, Drama, Crime
Runtime: 140 minutes
Sequel: The Dark Knight (2008)

There is nothing like a good superhero action movie!  And as a Marvel girl, I would normally satisfy my superhero fascinations with Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.  DC Comics and Batman?  Not really my cup of tea.  Well, that’s what I thought until the Esteemed Film Critic loaned me his copy of Batman Begins and suggested I check it out.  Would it betray my Marvel sympathies to say that I absolutely loved it?  Batman Begins is a wonderful introduction into the world of Bruce Wayne, the dark avenger who cleans up the street by turning criminals’ fear against them.

After witnessing the death of his parents and seeing their killer released from prison, Bruce Wayne (Bale) travels to Asia and falls in with the lowest of the low in an attempt to figure out what it takes to drive a man to crime.  While there, he becomes the pupil of Henri Ducard (Neeson) and Ra’s Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe), members of a dark organization bent on wiping out evil and corruption by any means necessary; and their next target is Gotham.  As his image of his mentors is shattered, Bruce finds himself in direct conflict with those who once trained him.  While trying to overcome his own demons, Bruce Wayne takes on the identity of the Batman, and sets out to turn the fear that criminals inflict on others back on themselves; fighting fear with fear.  Meanwhile, in Gotham, a new villain is on the rise: the Scarecrow, who uses a panic-inducing neurotoxin and a burlap scarecrow mask to strike terror into the hearts of his victims.  Will Batman be able to stop him?

As I said before, I’m normally not a DC Comics fan.  More often than not, I find the plots and characters to be too dark for my tastes.  While it is true that Batman Begins is a very dark film, I would have to say that I had no real qualms about it.  In fact, I enjoyed it tremendously.  Christian Bale brought so many dimensions to the role!  Bruce Wayne was a wonderful character; dark, troubled, and although rich, influential, handsome, and strong, also so very, very human. 

Not going to lie: I was surprised to hear Batman speak.  I had been expecting the guttural, almost animalistic grunting that has come to be associated with Christian Bale’s interpretation of the character from The Dark Knight.  Not to say that I was disappointed, of course, just surprised.

A couple other things caught my attention.  First, I was thrilled with the cast!  Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman are three actors I have loved in every movie I’ve seen them in; and while I’ve not seen enough of their movies to say that they are my favorite actors, I’ve always loved them.  So, of course, having all three in one movie was awesome!  Gary Oldman surprised me the most, though.  My usual image of him is the innocent and adorable Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  Seeing Oldman as an American Officer Gordon was a surprise to be sure!  But, I believe this just goes to show his versatility as an actor.

This is a film I would recommend very strongly, but only if you were interested in the action/drama/superhero genres.  If you are opposed to violence and intense action scenes, than this is not the film for you.  However, if you enjoy a good superhero film or are a Batman fan, then you must check this out!  This has most definitely propelled me to look more into the Batman series, although, not going to lie: at heart, I’ll always be a Spider-Man fan-girl :P

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