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:: Batman Begins

We'd seen over the past twenty-five years how Batman may have been mistreated on the big screen. The creator of the charatcer envisaged Batman as a dark and complex person. The 1960s TV series and subsequent movies made him into a silly, campy, totally good guy. The movies, in particular, seemed to focus on the villain/s and Batman looked a tired brand.

However, Batman Begins is more hardcore and realistic in telling the story of how one might have interpreted the Batman character. Director Christopher Nolan tells the original story as it should always have been told. He has therefore re-energised the Batman name and tradition, resulting in this film being clearly the best Batman movie that I've seen.

The audience is taken into the dark side of the life of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). As a young boy, Bruce had seen his parents gunned down in front of him. He then wandered the world in a somewhat reckless manner. He is rescued from a prison by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) who wnats to train Bruce to be a member of his League of Shadows, a criminal organisation. The training makes Bruce a tougher man but he abandons Ducard to return to Gotham City and fight the crime wave there.

With the help of his trusted butler Alfred (Michael Caine), an inventor Lucius (Morgan Freeman), and a “good” cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Bruce aims to bring his justice to the city by transforming himself as Batman. One of the first tasks is to rid the city of dangerous crime figure Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). And so these actions continue until a reminder of his past threatens to take hold and terrorise Gotham City.

The great aspect of the movie is that we learn what prompts Bruce Wayne to choose his image, how the Batcave and Batmobile are developed, and generally providing us with a greater understanding of what motivates Batman.

Accordingly, Christian Bale comes up trumps as the most effective Batman we've seen. He is more than a face and a mask. There is a fantastic supporting cast with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman playing excellent roles. Gary Oldman is a good guy for a change, while Katie Holmes does her best despite not really “clicking” with Bale as the love interest. There is a real sense of personality and humanity amongst all the characters.

The action scenes are mostly exciting and Nolan knows exactly when to raise the bar with interesting special effects and good camera angles.

Batman Begins is a welcome re-invention that will surely lead to another Batman film. Thankfully, it has quickly erased the memory of the previous few films in one quick swoop. The film exceeds expectations and should be admired by long-time Batman fans who have waited for a filmmaker to get the true picture of this hero.