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on November 21, 2011
First of all, forget your memories of Burton's films of Batman because this is much, much different. Christopher Nolan takes a much darker approach to Batman and tends to swerve farther away from a comic book type feel for the movie. Where Burton often used bright colors and dramatic close ups of caricatures of the infamous DC universe, Nolan takes a more subdued view of the characters and focuses on their psyches instead of their looks and over personalities.

Batman Begins, quite literally, spends its time showing the audience just how Bruce Wayne developed his alter-ego and then put that other side of him into effect so that he might make Gotham City a better place. After his father died the city fell into the hands of greedy, biased, and lucrative men who allowed all of the hard work Bruce's father put into the city to fall to the wayside. Constantly filled with anger and hate for the iconic thug that killed his parents and the city's inability to hold itself up, Bruce flees. He searches for something to help him and he finds it in the idea, in the concept, in the teachings of Ra's al Ghul. However, unable to completely follow the definition of "justice" presented to him, Bruce returns to Gotham City with specialty training under his belt and a new definition of what he needs to be. What follows is a heart-stopping, action-packed thrill ride that speaks to any fan of the Batman tradition.

The main villain here is Scarecrow. Just like Ra's al Ghul, he is not a well-known villain, but he definitely was part and parcel of the comics and deserves his place in the spotlight. More importantly, however, the villain in this movie is based on fear. Fear can control, can infiltrate hate, can skew logic, and can make people weak with the inability to act. Bruce suffered from fear for most of his life which turned into hate and loathing. The people of Gotham City live in fear and distress, unable to lift themselves out of the mire because of that fear. Ra's al Ghul and Scarecrow both use fear to further their means while Batman, Bruce, also taps into the fear well to be used for the better. It is the process of overcoming the psychosis of fear that makes this film so fascinating. It, like the comic books, is something we can relate to and allows us to empathize with the characters. Through this the true story of finding one's identity and fighting fear arises.

A great film for the layman and for the comic book connoisseur alike.
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on June 11, 2013
I'm not a huge Batman fan, but this is a really good take on a superhero movie. The whole series is pretty awesome and this is a good start to it. The only part that didn't feel quite right was the Scarecrow character. The terror just didn't translate. I know the guy was meant to be portrayed as an insane counselor, but he didn't feel that scary, even with the help of his "treatments". Maybe if they would have shown more dastardly deeds or if he was physically more imposing. He just felt kinda wimpy as a super villain goes.

Other than that the film was great. Great pacing, great back story, great character evolution and of course awesome gadgets.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 19, 2008
In 2005's "Batman Begins", Director Christopher Nolan revives a franchise gone stale by reimagining Batman's origins. An outstanding cast brings to life a solid, action-filled, but intriguingly introspective script, aided by a whole new family of gadgets and some excellent special effects.

Christian Bale is Bruce Wayne, orphaned by the murder of his wealthy parents and raised by the family's faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine in a genius piece of casting). Driven as a young man to seek revenge on the criminal underworld, his first attempt fails miserably. Bruce exiles himself to a lonely odessey that brings him to a prison somewhere in the Himalayas and to the attention of the mysterious Ducard (Liam Neeson), who offers him a destination. Bruce Wayne journeys to an isolated monastery, where a group known as the League of Shadows trains him in martial arts, cures him of a childhood fear, and provides him with purpose.

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City, to create his crime-fighting personna and to meet honest cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and genius inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Bruce Wayne's cover life as a rich and idle playboy brings him back into contact with life-long love Rachel Dawes (a surprisingly effective Katie Holmes), who upbraids Bruce for his apparent lack of purpose in life.

The newly minted Batman confronts Gotham's criminal underworld, discovering a mysterious plot involving a psychiatrist with a dangerous secret and a deadly connection to Bruce Wayne's past. Unraveling the plot places at risk everything that Batman and Bruce Wayne hold dear. The movie's climactic action sequence is a breathless and original thrill ride.

The movie succeeds in part because the maturing Bruce Wayne gets as much if not more screen time than his caped alter ego. The action sequences are dark, violent, and realistic, and the new Batman takes his share of lumps. The family of gadgets includes an all-terrain batmobile, the usual Batman tool belt, and a thrilling way to fly. Bruce Wayne's relationship with Rachel Dawes is handled with an admirable restraint that recognizes the reality of his competing responsibilities.

"Batman Begins" is very highly recommended as an outstanding and nuanced reimagining of the Batman story, told with crisp dialogue and plenty of thrilling action.
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on August 26, 2005
One would have thought that Batman and Robin would have been the end of the Batman film series but Batman Begins pumps new life into the franchise. Gone from the new Batman are all of the gimmicks that turned the original series into a parody of the original film directed by Tim Burton. Christian Bale makes an excellent Bruce Wayne, a figure who is truly haunted and searching for a meaning to life, taking the road less traveled into becoming what he hates until found by the mysterious Ducard. Mr. Bale is excellent in the exploring the depths of Bruce Wayne as he goes from being a vengeful college student, to being a petty criminal, searching to find himself as Ducard's pupil and finally determined to rid Gotham of crime rejecting the violence of the League of Shadows.

The film is beautifully cast, down to the smaller roles. Michael Caine does a wonderful job as Alfred, providing a great deal of the film's humor and the necessary reassuring figure for Bruce Wayne. Before him Michael Gough was the quintessential Alfred but Mr. Caine has made the part his own. Katie Holmes does well as Wayne's love interest in a part that has little of the sexuality of the prior films but stands as a disapproving figure to Bruce Wayne's playboy image. Gary Oldman was an inspired choice as Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman is wonderful as the Wayne Enterprises head of Applied Science and Liam Neeson makes a tough minded mentor and later an effective adversary. Cillian Murphy is very suave as Jonathan Crane transforming himself into the "Scarecrow" with a help from the mind altering drug that will shortly be used on Gotham. I also liked seeing Rutgar Hauer (Blade Runner) in a mainstream movie; most of his film roles seeming to be released only to video.

The film portrays Gotham as a gritty, crime-ridden city with criminals without gimmicks. The effects are limited to just telling the story, avoiding sensational extremes. Most important, Batman Begins brings back the feel of the comic books, telling a great story.
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on June 15, 2005
Oh good lord, it's about time a good Batman movie came out. I think it's safe to that 99.9 percent of the population was disappointed and offended by the proverbial turd that was "Batman & Robin" (released in 1997, it was the last time the Caped Crusader had graced the silver screen). Thankfully, "Batman Begins," making good on it's name, has no connections to the other four films Warner Bros. put out (you know, other than the fact that they are "Batman" movies). This new film is an attempt at jump-starting and revitalizing a franchise that really needs it. What better time to bring the Bat back? Comic-book movies are enormously successful these days (unless you consider "Elektra") and fans have been screaming for years for a new film to be made. One that makes up for the bad time we all had in 1997. One that makes us all appreciate Batman again, and doesn't make us feel ashamed to be fans.

Director Christopher Nolan ("Insomnia," "Memento") steps up to the plate, leading an outstanding cast which includes Christian Bale as the big-earred superhero in question, and recent tabloid queen Katie Holmes as his childhood friend/love interest. Nolan knows style. If you've ever seen one of his films, you know why he was the obvious choice for this project. True, he's not very well-versed in action flicks, but his dark vision is perfect for Batman. Needless to say, he succeeds in making this the best Batman movie to date. Yep, I said it. Even better than Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns." I love those films to death (heck, even "Batman Forever" was pretty decent), they are an important part of my childhood, but Nolan's Batman goes places Burton never bothered. Here, we are treated to the true origins of Bruce Wayne, the man, and how he came to be Batman. We get connected to him, and we feel for him, which is something I never quite felt in the other flicks. Half the movie is spent building up this enormous, complex character. True, it can wear down on you a bit if you're just in it for some heavy action scenes, or if you have a short attention span and just wanna watch an action figure commercial, but "Batman Begins" is better than that. Did I mention how good Christian Bale (who you may remember chasing a hooker with a chainsaw, wearing nothing but sneakers in "American Psycho") is as Batman? He's great. Cillian Murphy ("28 Days Later") as The Scarecrow? Brilliant. I really can't picture anyone else in that role. Michael Caine definitely delivers as Alfred, as does Morgan Freeman as Lucuis Fox (but they're always great). Heck, even Katie Holmes manages to break free from her teenage fame, turning in a performance that is only topped by her topless performance in Sam Raimi's "The Gift."

Everything about this movie is just incredible. I thought we were treated when "Star Wars" went out with a fight last month, and now Batman finally gets his respect with "Batman Begins." How perfect. If you're a bat-fan, you'd be hard pressed not to like this movie. It is very well made and very respectful to the source material. Yeah, it's a little long, but so was "Batman & Robin," and I know you watched that at least once. So why not give this one a chance? It's actually worth the time you invest in it.
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on April 24, 2014
I liked the first half of the movie and thought that it told a fresh story about Batman that hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but I felt the "action" part of the movie involving Gotham was a bit of a whirlwind. Maybe more of the story should have focused on the second act, so that it didn't feel so rushed. Overall a good movie, and a must watch if you want to fully appreciate what is going on in Dark Knight. Pro-tip: Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhaal play the same character. I thought it was very confusing until I realized Maggie was replacing Katie in Dark Knight.
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VINE VOICEon June 17, 2005
While I'm definitely a fan of Tim Burton's interpretation and a decided enemy of Schumacher's deconstruction into campy gaudiness, I must say that Batman Begins delves into a construction that I'm 100% on board with.

Tim Burton delved very much into duality and splitting his character in half. Christopher Nolan cleverly directs and interprets Batman as one whole person...one WHOLE HUMAN BEING.

That's right, folks. Let's not forget this - he's a human being; seeing Batman as actually someone who is traumatized and vulnerable not only works well, but is chillingly believable.

Push aside any of the far-fetched ideas and try to imagine crafting a story about a human being taking on villainy, and you'll see how this film is clever and emotional at the same time. I especially love seeing how Batman himself gets developed along with the gadgetry.

True, the love interest is extremely muted, but it certainly acts as an excellent foil for Bruce's personality to be reflected upon and it's certainly NOT what this film is about.

Don't complain about "slow starts." This is plot and character development at its finest in a Hollywood atmosphere that has almost forgotten both.

Many kudos to Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale for finally rescuing Batman!!!! My hat's off to you both.

PS - the new Batmobile rocks!!
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on March 3, 2012
I've seen Dark Knight a bunch of times and own it on blu-ray, but had never gotten around to seeing Batman Begins. My wife had seen it, but I had introduced her to Dark Knight. She claimed Dark Knight was way better than Batman Begins. She saw Batman Begins when it first came out. Well after watching Dark Knight one weekend, we decided to watch Batman Begins. We came to the conclusion that if you watch Dark Knight first, and then Batman Begins, Batman Begins comes out looking a whole lot better than if you watch the movies in order of release. They should have produced Dark Knight first and then Batman Begins, as Batman Begins feels like a much better "answer the questions from Dark Knight" movie than a standalone story. So if you haven't seen either, buy both on blu-ray (awesome visuals), watch Dark Knight first, and then Batman Begins.
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on February 24, 2006
Quite possibly the movie of the year.

I went into this thinking, "They've DONE the whole Batman thing. Why put us through it AGAIN?! The first Burton/Keaton Batman was da bomb. "Returns" was decent, "Forever" was entertaining but sadly lacking. Seriously, with a cast like Drew Barrymore, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman, Val Kilmer, and Kevin Grevioux (Raze of Underworld fame), how could Schumacher screw that up? Well, he found a way, and with the release of "Batman & Robin," it became painfully obvious that the end of Batman was more than just "in sight," it was here.

I grieved the death of what could have been a terriffic franchise, and I moved on.

Then along comes Goyer. He wrote "Blade: Trinity," and while I am NO fan of that movie, we'll blame the studio's cut and Parker Posey's horrible acting...for now. I will give him the benefit of the doubt because he has also written some great screenplays and stories. Blade, Blade 2, and Dark City are all his, but his writing abilities seem to be more hit-and-miss than substantially consistent talent.

Christopher Nolan directs and kicks in his two cents' worth in the screenplay department... I'm not impressed with his body of work. I liked Insomnia, but let's face it: Nothing I'd seen so far said to me that Batman Begins would even be watchable, much less entertaining.

To be honest, I didn't even WANT to like this movie for several reasons...

* Michael Keaton did so well with Batman

* Schumacher was so total in his obliteration of the franchise, I could not see any reason to beat the dead horse

* A fan of the "Dark Knight" I was tired of being disappointed at the cinema by the direction in which the franchise had gone

I must say that I'm very glad I saw this in the theater (on the "big screen"). Just think; I almost missed witnessing a true rebirth of this franchise!

The casting was work of art in itself. Some unlikely choices really REALLY pay off. Two character actors were cast against type, but it seems to have been a brilliant choice!

The effects were dynamic, and the sets and backgrounds were more than realistic. The stunts seemed to be more wire work than CGI (thankfully), lending a more believable and realistic feel to this endeavor. And gone (again, thankfully) are the hiddeous nipples from the Bat-Suit! (Curses Joel Schumacher for ever adding them in !!)

The thing which most impressed me about this film was the story. It was fantastic! I've read reviews by the "professional" reviewers, and one in particular claimed that the movie got lost in the beginning to find itself again only at the end. I'm learning NOT to listen to the "professional" reviewers and to judge for myself.

I have to say that by going through the changes in the beginning, you fully understand the motivations and abilities demonstrated by the Dark Knight. Because quite frankly, this isn't just Batman anymore. If the new franchise follows this first installment, it will literally BE the Dark Knight vein of the comic book series! THIS is the Batman I grew up with, not the campy, weak-@ss byotch who cracks off one-liners while feebly dealing justice to ineptly stupid criminal miscreants. Adam West was "A" Batman. Michael Keaton was "THE" Batman. Bale is the Dark Knight; it's a totally different animal.

The nemeses in this one are Ra's Al Ghul and the Scarecrow, with a promise of meeting the Dark Knight's "Joker" in the next installment!

This movie exhibits perfect direction from start to finish, never loses itself, never loses the audience, and with great relish fights its way through to a superb and satisfying ending.

I can't WAIT for the next one!

It gets a 9.5/10 and yes, that's a big leap from the rating I gave Burton's Batman cuz let's face it: Bale isn't a better Batman, but the movie itself is LIGHTYEARS better!
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on December 8, 2015
I can't help enjoying the dark realism in this latest take on the Batman saga. With an all-star cast and really excellent effects, it's a satisfying beginning to the new franchise.
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