ReviewWriter: Nurliana Kamaruddin
Writer Ratings:Overall: Cast:
NAWatch this if you liked:
NA "Why do we continue to fall?" "So we can learn to pick ourselves up again."
Fans of Michael Keaton and Tim Burton's Batman will not like what I have to say, but I'm saying it anyway. This is the best Batman movie yet and Christian Bale has permanently sealed his spot as my favourite Batman. There is not contest. Christian Nolan has brought the Dark Knight to life in full glory of what the comic has intended. The obsession. The darkness. The fear. This movie is all about the fear.
Like the title suggests, this movie explores the origin of Batman, taking you back to his childhood, his training with the League Of Shadows and finally his decision to don the cape and cowl. The movie explores the reason to his choice of representing himself as a bat and why he chose the theatrics in his quest to fight crime. All of it was dissected and explained. Nolan didn't leave any loose threads - all the way to how he, Batman/Bruce Wayne, acquired his nifty weapons.
After Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas"-like Batman and Joel Schumacher's ridiculously over-the-top interpretation of the comic, Nolan's version is like a blessed relief. "Batman Begins" sees Gotham City brought to life in its filth and crime-infested streets. This Gotham is gritty, depressing, dangerous, and REAL, something that all the other Batman movies missed by a mile, especially the last two instalments of it.
Christian Bale is just beautiful to watch, not only as playboy millionaire Bruce Wayne, but as Batman too. Bale is sinfully suave and charming as Bruce Wayne and he is also intense and dramatic as Batman. The change from the angry young boy who wanted merely vengeance to the man who has come to terms with what must be done is splendid. Bale filled every nuance of the character to perfection. Katie Holmes did what she needed to do though I do believe she looked a little too young for the role.
Apart from all the indisputably talented cast line-up with the likes of Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine - there is one more name that should not be left out, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Crane/The Scarecrow. Apparently Murphy auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Though he did not get the role, the director was so impressed by him that he was offered the role of Dr. Crane instead. Though I wish his role was a bit more fleshed out, Murphy has amazing screen presence and he brought an interesting blend of haughty and nutcase to his Dr. Crane. I enjoyed watching him.
For those who say Nolan can't direct an action movie, it's time to change your minds. "Batman Begins" is fast-paced, explosive and grip-your-chair exciting. The car chase with the Batmobile jumping over rooftops is first class and the final train crash scene is nothing short of spectacular, not to mention that the Batmobile this time around is wicked awesome. Fights are also well choreographed and though there are too many quick edits and close shots, this is not a kung fu movie we're talking about. Compared to all previous Batman movies, this movie walks away with the cake when it comes to the fight scenes.
At the end of the day what made this Bat work so well was the whole idea of why Bruce Wayne chose to be Batman in the first place, to represent fear in the hearts of those who prey on others' fear. Nolan's and Bale's Batman had none of the previous movies' flashiness, none of the previous movies' cheesiness. The one-liners in this movie were not corny and most importantly, Batman has a purpose, a purpose that was never properly captured in any of the previous movies.
Truth be told, I'm fresh out of superlatives to describe this film. Sure people will argue that Nolan has taken the whole 'comic book feel' out of the movie, but I will argue this - to make a hero, you must give him a purpose. You must make him believable. You must make him heart rendering-ly human as well. "Batman Begins" does all that and more. Sure, they might have demystified Batman, but in doing so, they will make him more the urban mythological icon figure than he already is. Cinema Online, 23 September 2008