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Batman Begins Movie Poster

Batman Begins

Genre: Action/Crime/Fantasy/Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson
Released by: Warner Brothers Entertainment

In Short: Christopher Nolan's prequel, "Batman Begins," tells the story of young Bruce Wayne's transformation into the legendary Batman, but other than violence and visuals, the movie has little to boast.

Batman's Lengthy Beginning
An Avalanche of Images but Little More
by Sophie Gayot

There have been several Batman movies, but for the first time we learn why and how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) becomes Batman, and where he gets all his gadgets and the famous Batmobile. Young Bruce concentrates his anger over the double murder of his parents into the intense physical and mental training by the mysterious League of Shadows in China. His mentor Ducard (Liam Neeson) declares him ready after Bruce finally accepts to decapitate a criminal with a sword. (Is there some “Kill Bill” floating in the air here?) This first part of the movie is partially shot in Iceland where the scenery is striking at some points.

Bruce returns to Gotham after seven years, during which he had been declared dead by his faithful butler (Michael Caine) to save his interests in his father’s company. We all know the rest of the story. He finds a city devoured by rampant crime and corruption organized by the not credible Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). The movie gets its rhythm from an avalanche of images, some very violent, and the score, played at full volume to fill up the emptiness of the screen.

Fortunately, the photography is well done, including Gotham City, which looks so real you wonder in what unknown megalopolis they shot the movie. We regret that we couldn’t see the fights better and Batman in detail fighting and killing the hordes of opponents that are attacking him, but we enjoyed the Batmobile car chase and the special effects. The actors are not really performing during the 134 minutes of the film. They are just there in front of us, giving us flat text—thankfully Bruce is very attractive. Very few jokes are punctuating the script. They make you laugh only to release the stress induced by the violence. When Bruce is being told that he has a nice car, his answer is: “You should see my other car.” And two "girlfriends" that we had not seen before pop out of the car, one blonde, one brunette; a cliché?

We certainly don’t recommend that you take your children to view the masked crusader in his latest quest for justice, helped by his childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).

(Updated 01/21/08 NJ)

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