454 of 510 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman flies high in excellent BEGINS
Since his first dramatic appearance in Detective Comics in 1939, Batman has grown to become a pop-culture icon. From movie serials in the 40's, to a classic campy TV show in the 60's, to a solid animated series in the 90's, fans have thrilled to the super heroics of this unique character. However, as a film franchise, he has brought results that were somewhat less than...
Published on June 16, 2005 by Hazen B Markoe
161 of 187 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Batman is back! **Updated review to BluRay edition**
After years of not having a Batman film and mostly due to the franchise hitting bottom thanks to Joel Schumacher's disastrous "Batman forever" and "Batman and Robin", Christopher Nolan present us his version of the character with an impressive all star cast anda story brilliantly written by David S. Goyer.
There were high expectations for...
Published on December 5, 2005 by R.Suarez
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454 of 510 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman flies high in excellent BEGINS,
Most fans already know the story of how wealthy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) loses his parents when they are slain during an attempted robbery, but the movie also tells how he chose the bat as his symbol, as well as the steps needed to become the avenger of the night that he turns into. Disillusioned and frustrated by Gotham City's corrupt judicial system, the young Wayne goes abroad to study the criminal mind. Later, while locked in an Asian prison, Wayne is recruited by the enigmatic Ducard (Liam Neeson), who offers him a path in which to focus his anger and hone his skills. Wayne eventually joins his new mentor as a recruit in the mysterious League of Shadows, headed by the sinister Ra's Al Ghul (Ken Wantanabe). Eventually, Wayne realizes that he cannot follow the League's extreme methods of dispensing justice and returns to Gotham to forge his own way. It soon turns out that Wayne's return is just in time as Gotham falls prey to a fear epidemic engineered by the twisted Dr. Jonathan Crane AKA "the Scarecrow" (Cillian Murphy) and a familiar figure from Wayne's past.
From the top on down, this film is blessed with a solid cast that adds wonderfully to Nolan's vision. As the title hero, Christian Bale blows all other Batman portrayers out of the water with his intense and scary take of the role. This is a Batman that you not only fear, but can relate to as well. In fact, he turns in the definitive performance. Michael Caine adds warmth and humor as Wayne's trusty butler, Alfred. Liam Neeson does a great variation of his usual mentor roles as Ducard, a man with his own surprising secret. As an assistant DA and Wayne's childhood friend, Katie Holmes does a nice job with what is basically a thankless role. Cillian Murphy makes for a perfectly creepy Scarecrow, while Morgan Freeman is solid as usual as the man who provides Batman's wondrous car and gadgets. Gary Oldman is wonderfully cast against type as Jim Gordon, one of Gotham's few honest cops. The scene in which he drives the tank-like Batmobile is a sheer delight.
The screenplay by Nolan and David Goyer (who wrote the BLADE films) is awash with characterization and motivation...something that you don't see in many comic book films as a rule. In fact, you get so engrossed by the proceedings that you almost forget that you are watching a "superhero" film in the first place. The special effects are used to enhance the story and not overpower it, while the set design pictures a Gotham that is a unique cross of Chicago, New York and Hong Kong. If there is a flaw, it lies in some of the fight sequences. Done in close-ups and quick cuts, they can get frustrating for those who want to see more of Batman's fighting style. However, this is very minor since the story never ceases to grasp your attention.
In the end, Nolan and his superb cast and crew succeed in achieving what was once thought impossible: the resurrection of a film franchise that, if not dead, was at least on life support. As a result, Batman is once again flying high and BATMAN BEGINS is a film that I wholeheartedly recommend.
526 of 614 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flesh and Machinery,
And this is a crucial and important step that Nolan puts off until Bruce walks the earth in search of his own personal nirvana... in a sort of Christ-like journey to understand himself and his place in the world after his parents are brutally murdered. It is also from this quest that he acquires the knowledge and skills necessary for him to become a warrior, ready and able to combat the ills and rid his town Gotham of all evil-doers.
Nolan's "Batman Begins" is a more macho, masculine film than were the previous movies, which is not to take anything away from Tim Burton's elegiac, gothic and visionary takes on this story. But Burton's world is/was/ and will always be the world of the dreamer: his Batman is more sinned against than sinning. His Batman needs love and understanding while Nolan's wants and needs justice and revenge more than anything else: even the sultry Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes proves to be of little interest to Batman save a chaste kiss at the end of the movie. It's interesting to note that in the previous Batman films we had big beautiful bombshells like Kim Bassinger and Nicole Kidman as the so-called love interests while here, in Nolan's vision we have a more scrubbed clean, working class (Rachel is an assistant D.A.) heroine: a woman who is as interested in righting wrongs as is Batman and not merely someone meant as an adornment to the suave debonair Batman of Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Michael Keaton. It's an important and telling shift from woman as a plush toy to one who is, not only beautiful but also smart and dedicated to a cause other than self-promotion and self-satisfaction.
Christian Bale's Batman is real..i.e. a genuine, fleshed-out, beautifully written movie character: he is conflicted, he makes mistakes, he trusts the wrong people at times and he pays for his mistakes. It is a remarkable casting coup to have Bale in this role particularly since of late he has been playing a spate of radicals...i.e. in "The Machinist," in which he transforms himself into a skeleton...literally. As Bruce Wayne/Batman, Bale dons the mask, assumes the persona, not out of a lust for power but out of a fervent belief that good will always triumph over evil: several times in this film he is brought to task for his trust in the basic goodness of people and one of his mentors ( Liam Neeson as Ducard) even goes so far as to ridicule Bruce as sentimental and weak for it. Though Ducard is his mentor and sensei, this relationship proves to be fraught with ambiguity as the movie progresses to the climax.
What is a Batman film without its villains? But this film is devoid of the cartoon craziness of the Riddler or the Joker. Here we have Cillian Murphy (so good in "28 Days Later") as a scary-as-hell The Scarecrow, alias psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane, who spews his psychedelic paranoia and psychosis on an unsuspecting Gotham. His "stuff" is more thrilling and frightening than anything that the aforementioned villains could ever muster.
"Batman Begins" is not only a physically gorgeous film, it is also an emotionally and ideologically complicated one. It wears its heart on its sleeve, yes...but it also has the brains and a profoundly strong back and pumped up physicality to back it up.
161 of 187 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Batman is back! **Updated review to BluRay edition**,
This review is from: Batman Begins (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)After years of not having a Batman film and mostly due to the franchise hitting bottom thanks to Joel Schumacher's disastrous "Batman forever" and "Batman and Robin", Christopher Nolan present us his version of the character with an impressive all star cast anda story brilliantly written by David S. Goyer.
There were high expectations for this film before its release as if would it be as good as Burton's films, the truth is, there are no points to compare, Nolan and Burton visions are quite different from each other, but both respect the origins and essence of who the character is.
Goyer took some liberties in the storytelling that could be considered as unforgivable by many fans (Bruce's parents are originally killed after seeing "Mark of Zorro" at the movie theater, a fact that marks Bruce's mind with the idea of a masked vigilante) but also hints at stuff that the previous versions let pass unnoticed, the main focus of this film are the origins of Batman and his training to become what he ultimately is. Even though the detective part of Bruce's training is not even mentioned, the twist in which Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) is the one who trained him in the ninja arts and theatricality just makes their conflict more delightful and interesting. Cameos and appearances of characters from the comic book are also well used, justified and important to the story (Carmine Falcone and killer Zsaz)
The story uses the two villains exactly as they would act in the comic book, Ra's Al Ghul with his constant desire to set thing right his way and Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) working and experimenting with the thing he enjoys the most: fear. Even though the Scarecrow is totally the opposite of the comic book (in the comic Jonathan Crane is an old and ugly doctor who was fired from Gotham University for experimenting on the students with his gas of fear), the character presented keeps the essence and motives that the original character has, unlike the Riddler, Mr Freeze, Two Face or Poison Ivy in Schumacher's awful versions.
A new Gotham city is presented, much more like a NY city style, a new Batmobile (not as fancy as the previous ones but quite impressive) and a whole set of characters we expect to see in future releases, James Gordon (Gary Oldman who amazingly looks exactly as Jim in the comic), Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Jonathan Crane, Carmine Falcone and Ra's Al Ghul.
Masterfully executed by the whole cast and brilliantly directed by Nolan, there are many of us looking forward for a sequel to this film.
Disc one contains Mtv's "Tankman Begins", a spoof we could have lived without but without any doubt a collector's piece for all Mtv fans.
Disc two contains a set of documentaries related to all aspects of production and shooting of the film, from the early beginnings in Nolan's washing room until the shooting of some of the most difficult sequences of the film. The disc 2 is organized in a comic book-like format which makes it a little difficult to follow as many things are like hidden, but if you go until the end of the short and pointless story, you will find a list with all documentaries available. One of the documentaries called "Genesis of the bat" presents comic book artist related to Batman talking about the character and film, from Dennis O'Neil to Jim Lee. I am sure this will be a piece fans of the comic book will enjoy. All extras are worthy of watching and I strongly recommend the 2 disc set, it is a 5 o 6 dollar difference that will compensate with all the facts and items found in the bonus materials.
I had already written a review for this film when the two-disc special edition was released on DVD, so I will not get into any details about how great the movie is.
The treatment they gave to this release is incredible, image looks great and colors are stunning, the high definition definitely makes a difference and 'Batman Begins' looks better than ever (simply check out the ice sequence between Bruce and Ducard)
I have seen threads with questions as to what exactly does the limited edition set contains versus the regular single disc, so here are what I think are the most important ones:
The disc included here is the same disc they released separately:
* All the extras from the 2-disc DVD are included, the documentaries and the awful 'Tankman Begins'
* The prologue to 'The Dark Knight' in high definition (are we in for a treat when released on Bluray!) This is basically the bank robbery scene that opens the sequel.
The USB with 18 the stills from 'The Dark Knight' included in the DVD version of the gift set IS NOT INCLUDED in the Bluray gift set; don't know what the reason is but it would have made sense to include it in both versions.
The postcards included are selections from the art created to promote 'Batman Begins', in my opinion some of the images look simple and overall they are not that great.
The two comic books included are a joke! One is a comic book adaptation of the same 6 minutes prologue included in this edition (the bank robbery), the other one is the script with pictures of the same 6 minute prologue! I am a collector and big fan of Batman and even I find this ridiculous and overpriced.
The $7.50 coupon to see 'The Dark Knight' in theaters.
Bottom-line, I would give 3 stars to the BluRay release, not to the movie itself (which is great and looks superb in HD) but to the release. I am having buyer's remorse, don't be fooled by what the product description says, it may sound interesting but had I known the extras would be as they are, I would have gone for the cheaper single disc edition.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily, without a doubt, THE best Batman Movie ever.,
Then I saw the trailer for Batman Begins, and it was amazing. I have seen the movie 3 times so far, not to mention once in IMAX, and am going to see it again. It was just awesome. At first, i didn't like the different look of batman or the batmobile, but you grow to like it, and now i absolutely love it. The acting was great, and Liam Neeson was a great actor for Ra's. I liked the new,tougher, almost criminal, Bale as Batman. He was a great actor as well.
As the other review mentioned, the music for a movie can destroy it, or make it incredible. The old batman movies had freakin circus music and Prince, what the heck. Hans Zimmer is amazing with this movie. Already creating incredible soundtracks for Gladiator and King Arthur, for example, he was perfect for Batman. The music makes the exciting action scenes 20 times better. I honestly got chills when i watched this movie, it was so good. For example, the final scene of the train, the music made the scene so much more action packed. And the "scary" parts, or more disturbing parts with the toxin being inhaled by batman and other people, made THOSE scenes perfect as well.
The new batmobile is simply amazing. When i first saw it, before i saw the movie, i was like "o no, not a dang tank!" But i later loved it, more than the old crappy ones with the flimsy "wings" on it. It is just more tough and has better gadgets, like the spike strips, or more spike balls, for that matter.
Batman's outfit is much better in these movies. It doesn't look like crappy rubber or stuff like that, cuz its not. And the guy who said earlier that he can barely move his head, well, he moves it plenty. Compared to the old movies, he looks like he isn't even wearing the cowl. In the old ones, there wasn't any head movement at all, he had to move his whole body. Then there is his cape. This is the best cape ever made. Batman doesn't have to hold sticks out to make it look like his cape is up. He can actually glide on it. Its just so much better.
Anyways, that finishes my review. This movie was the best movie i've seen in a long time. It makes me happy to know that it wasn't really associated with the old ones, and it isn't part of that franchise. I wouldn't want to be known for those pitiful attempts. I can't wait till the deluxe edition comes out. I also can't wait till the next movie comes out, with the Joker and all.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Father's "Batman"...,
Absolute paradise for Batman fans---and still a damn enjoyable movie for people that would say, "Bat-who?"
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman has never been so good.,
Now think about the last few years, in particular the "Spider-Man" movies. They proved, finally, that hollywood can invest a ton of money, get a great ensemble cast and (cherish the thought) be faithful to the source material. The result? Two great movies (spidey).
Now comes "Batman Begins", and thank you very much it follows the story more than very well. It is dark, gritty, emotional and everything a Batman movie SHOULD be. But before we get Batman, we get Bruce Wayne and the movie is 100x better for it. We can't empathize with Wayne unless we see his journey, his struggles and his mistakes. And this film shows us all of that.
When the moment comes that Batman finally makes his appearance in the dark shadows of a Gotham dock, you almost have forgotten your watching a Batman film. The first hour or so focusing on Wayne and all the supporting characters (all amazingly well acted) is a great film in and of itself, and then we get an hour or so of Batman on top of it!
The film moves along well, and is just a great great flick. Fans of the comic walk away having seen there favorite caped crusader finally told right and told well (not to take away from Burton's two films, but they aren't even on the same level as this). And newcomers get an amazing story.
The Deluxe Edition DVD is definetly the way to go, as the single disc version has nothing, not even a trailer. This version, aside from a nifty comic book featuring three Bat-tales that inspired the script of the movie, has about a dozen featurettes ranging from 7-15 minutes on the script, the costume, the batmobile, stunts, etc. Also a great comic book interactive menu sits on the 2nd disc, which is really fun.
The sound and Picture quality are top notch, and this DVD is very Highly recommended!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out-freaking-standing!!!,
This review is from: Batman Begins (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition) (DVD)I've been avoiding much of Holleywood's latest productions due to so many predictable stories, politically-driven plots, and mediocre acting so I did not catch this one in theatres. I probably would not even have rented it if my son had not begged me to do so. I am sooooo glad now that I've seen it. I'm blown away... this is not only the best Batman movie out there but one of the top five best action/adventure movies I've ever seen!! I bought a copy through Amazon before even finishing the DVD.
Batman has always been one of my favorite superheros but one that has rarely been well captured on screen. He's basically a regular, more-or-less everyday guy who works out a lot and has some cool gadgets; sort of brooding James Bond in a mask and cape. This movie starts out by showing how he learned and perfected his martial arts skills. It really captures the soul of the Dark Knight. Christian Bale is a perfect choice to play this character. I can't say enough positive things about this approach, it's exactly how I have always pictured the character.
The pacing nears perfection, the action is gripping and extremely well choreographed, the acting is top rate, the writing is fantastic, and the cinematography is outstanding. Rarely is a known story done so originally and well. I love the depth of the characters, the splashes of humor, and the low-key but everpresent moral undertones. It's neither preachy nor over the top. And, despite the fact that we all have a pretty good idea of the plot it is surprisingly original. Oh, and it's got Liam Neesan with a sword too; what more could you want ;-)
I am also very impressed with how they show Gotham being very much like any large US city today yet demonstrate in a realistic and believable manner how a masked superhero and fantastic villians can fit in that context. I really hope this cast/crew/director hook-up again for a sequal as the calling card at the end perhaps suggests.
Fantastic; heartily recommended!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthless Collectibles,
This review is from: Batman Begins (Limited Edition Gift Set) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)The movie is excellent, the High-Def transfer is great, and while the extras aren't new, getting to watch them in a picture-and-picture commentary mode is very nice, presentation-wise.
However, the collectibles are lame promotional items for the new movie "The Dark Knight". The packaging says a "16-page comic book prologue" is included, but this is simply a poor adaptation of the first six minutes of new "The Dark Knight" movie.
But, the packaging also says there is a "32-page booklet", but this, again, is another adaptation of the SAME six minutes of the new movie, only with excerpts from the screenplay, side-by-side with photos.
And the only NEW feature (as compared to the SD DVD release) on the Disc itself is the SAME SIX MINUTES OF THE DARK KNIGHT from the comic and the booklet, admittedly in gorgeous 1080p and full 16x9 aspect ratio.
A 32-page booklet would have been better used to show stills from the behind-the-scenes of the FIRST Batman movie, or showing promotional posters, or re-printing the original marketing info, like I've seen on many other DVDs. And a comic book is useless if it is an adaptation of the movie, since the movie will always be a better experience. Better to reprint comics that inspired the movies, like the ones that were re-printed for the SD DVD edition of "Batman Begins".
Also, you get a movie pass for the new Batman film, but it is only worth $7.50! That's not even half the cost of a non-matinee ticket! And I bought the special edition thinking the cost of the movie ticket would reduce the added cost of the Limited Edition versus the standard Blu-Ray, but with these paltry collectibles, it was not worth the extra money.
My honest opinion is that you should buy the other Blu-Ray edition, with just the movie, and save your money.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good!,
This review is from: Batman Begins (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition) (DVD)Hey, guess what? This is a real good film. Actually, the first half of this production is an excellent movie and the second half is still pretty darned-good.
As the title implies "Batman Begins" is an origin story. This is usually my favorite part of Superhero epics -- how about you? The filmmakers took some interesting risks in casting a lesser-known, though strong actor -- Christian Bale. Bale fits the role and the costume well. He's brooding, strong, vulnerable, yet decisive -- and perhaps even more than all of that -- as about as real/believable as Batman gets.
Another surprise is director Christopher Nolan of the highly acclaimed Memento. For those who haven't seen this unique, yet brain-straining feature; suffice to say that Nolan is great with thought and suspense -- but action? What an exciting risk to employ. Personally, I think these risks pay off in spades. This is a film that cares a great deal for what is going on inside the Bat-Man's head; the action is more of an accent.
The fight scenes are shot close in; Nolan seems to have made a conscious decision not to compete with other more "martial arts" hand-to-hand action flicks. His action scenes are dark, the sounds and movement jeer a chill or more accurately -- fear.
Building a solid motif around fear, this strong screenplay unfolds masterfully until the two-thirds mark, at which point some of the pacing slips just a bit, and further complications blur its initial beauty. I enjoyed the idea of the masked foe introduced at that point, but his actual execution on film smacked of the phony supervillians I didn't like in earlier Batmans. That said, the film's other foes are well-acted, enjoyable, respectably intimidating.
A good film -- you'll get your money's worth.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie Bat-fans have been waiting for.,
After four previous attempts, two of them bordering on catastrophic, Hollywood has finally gotten it right. This is not your big brother's Batman.
Director Christopher Nolan has stripped away all the flash from the previous two movies, making Gotham City appear to be more like an enormous amusement park, and made it the gritty, murky urban sprawl that Batman fans have come to embrace as the home of Bruce Wayne. We also get much more of a feel as to why Wayne is so tortured and driven to do what he does for the city. The character of Bruce Wayne is the focus of this movie, whereas the villains have been the focus of the previous movies. We learn why Wayne is so tortured, and how deep his psyche is scarred. Story holes are plugged that were left gaping in previous efforts. In time, I believe that Christian Bale will replace Michael Keaton as the general consensus favorite in the role of the Guardian of Gotham, as he truly puts the Dark in Dark Knight.
Perhaps the best part of this edition of the Batman series is the long overdue establishment of the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon, a police sergeant in this early stage of the legend. In previous movies, the character of Gordon was all but made irrelevant, and in some cases, a buffoon. Gordon is not only a tough cop, but is the only member of the police force that Batman will allow to get close to him. That element is presented flawlessly here.
The acting is better than your average comic book flick. Christian Bale captures perfectly the brood of Batman, as well as the careless, playboy persona of Bruce Wayne. Katie Holmes does a good job in shedding her "Dawson's Creek" image, and handles the character of Rachael Dawes well. Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and the rest of the support cast turn in worthy performances in their respective roles. The plot is thicker than previous efforts, and the villains' role in said plot is far from insulting to the intelligence of even a casual Bat-fan.
While this movie has plenty of bangs for the buck, it does not feel like a gratuitous effort. Each special effect has a meaning, and if this movie's intent was to wipe the slate clean, and offer an apology for the previous four Batman movies, then mission accomplished. This is a comic book movie that does not present itself as a comic book movie. Each character and story element is believable, and I sincerely hope that the key elements from this project will be back for a sequel in a few years. If you're a fan of the comic, you will thoroughly enjoy this effort. If you aren't a fan of the comic, you just might be after viewing Batman Begins.
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Batman Begins (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition) by Christopher Nolan (DVD - 2005)