Barnes & Noble - Ed HulseA sizable number of critics and fans alike have called Batman Begins the greatest comic-book movie ever made, a claim that would be difficult to dispute even if we wanted to. The film has been made without any trace of condescension or campiness by Christopher Nolan, a talented director whose previous thrillers, Insomnia and Memento, both bear the noirish hallmarks he brings to Batman's origin. The story begins with multi-millionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) drifting around the Orient and winding up in the mountain fortress of Ra's Al Ghul, the enigmatic head of a vigilante fighting force devoted to exterminating evil without regard for the niceties of due process. Wayne trains with these warriors but spurns their offer of membership, instead returning to his hometown, Gotham City, to wage his own secret war against the criminals that have overrun it. And to do that he decides to become...well, you know. It's great to see such a film brought to the screen with a serious tone and respect for the underlying property; a respect Nolan underscores by casting A-list actors in the supporting roles. Oscar winner Michael Caine does fine work as Wayne's butler, Alfred, whose wry sense of humor isn't overlooked by the screenwriters. Liam Neeson plays Henri Ducard, the front man for Ra's Al Ghul and Wayne's primary instructor. Morgan Freeman appears as Lucius Fox, a Wayne family confidant who helps the grimly determined scion adopt his new identity by secretly furnishing state-of-the-art gadgetry. The earnest performances of these superlative actors -- along with those of supporting players Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, Gary Oldman, and Rutger Hauer -- lends Batman Begins credibility usually absent from comic-book adaptations. This Batman is truly a frightening figure, an eerie apparition of the night that swoops from the sky and takes human form to pummel his prey. Destructive but non-lethal, he cuts a wide swath through Gotham's underworld while maintaining the pose of irresponsible playboy Bruce Wayne. Here, finally, is a Batman movie that gets it right. Those who grew up with the character as depicted in the '60s TV show might find Bale's incarnation a trifle too revisionist, but it's actually a whole lot closer to the Dark Knight created for the comics by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939. And we approve heartily.
New York TimesIt's amazing what an excellent cast, a solid screenplay and a regard for the source material can do for a comic book movie. Manohla Dargis
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
This is the Batman movie I've been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for, because I didn't realize that more emphasis on story and character and less emphasis on high-tech action was just what was needed. The movie works dramatically in addition to being an entertainment.
- Release Date:
- Warner Home Video
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