Batman Begins

I did originally publish this on Monday morning, but after thinking about it a bit more, I realised that I wanted to say more about the movie and ultimately write it all up in a better fashion. So this is effectively take two of this review.

Went and watched this this comic book movie on Friday night. To say I was excited about the whole movie before hand is a major understatement. I’ve not felt this giddy since I saw the third installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Having heard such great things about this movie from the critics (review #1, review #2 and review #3) I felt that it couldn’t possibly disappoint me. Not with this specific cast in place (Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson); not with the Christopher Nolan at the director’s helm. It couldn’t possibly disappoint. This paragraph has a happy ending, Batman Begins didn’t disappoint.

I am a Batman fan, what can I say. I like what the character looks like visually, I like the villans he generally has to deal with, but most of all I like the fact that he’s supposed to be a real man, who’s trained himself to do all these things. Until now however we’d not actually ever gotten a proper glimse of his training though. We get things in flashback sequences every once in a while but it’s pretty half assed effort. A while back I remember them saying about a possibility of making a series about the formative years of Bruce Wayne. I remember getting really excited about that prospect. It would easily make for a gripping 40 minutes a week of TV viewing. That idea was scuppered by the powers that be and instead we got Batman Begins, and what an instead it actually is.

The movie is a series of layers. Some are pretty subtle, that the average viewer might not really take in fully. Subtle points that really drive the movie and set it far and above other comic book movies.


This is the first time I’ve actually seen the DC Spin logo in use. It wasn’t the blue and white, it was a grey and black version, and well to be honest it just didn’t look good enough. Not iconic enough. I know I’m making a big deal about this, but it’s true.

The movie doesn’t show the title of the movie, instead it’s a flurry of bats that form the new bat logo. Little touches like that made the movie even more enjoyable for me.

The Story.
I really enjoyed the story. It starts of slow and builds and builds. Not every single aspect is explored or explained for that matter, but at 2 hours 14 minutes, they tried to include as much as they could. The origin story is very well done. It’s very difficult to try and actually get a decent child actor, but the kid who played young Bruce was pretty good in the role. He wasn’t this annoying twat that you wanted to kill, like in Star Wars Episode I for example. Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne was also cast very well, although his mother has always played a secondary role. In all the comic books, it’s ‘my father’ this, ‘my father’ that. In fact he uses a classic line from many comic books ‘this is my father’s house’.

Little points like showing how bad and inexperienced he was in the begining when he saw Jim Gordon for the first time. Actually getting caught as he made his getaway. Classic Batman Year One scene, but again building on the Batman character, rather than just assuming.

I really loved the little twist with Ra’s Al Gul, being exposed as Liam Neeson. Very well put together. Liam made for a good villian. Just the right amount of evil in his tone. They built on the Bruce Wayne personna in such a good way. Adding to the realism of the situation.

Certain aspects of the story didn’t ring true like Ra’s actual training of Bats or Jim driving the Batmobile was a bit much. Someone pointed out that the batmobile scene really ruined it for him, because up until that point he really was beliving in everything. It was dark, edgy and pure class. I’ve got to disagree. That care was exceptionally well designed for what it was meant to be doing. Sure it shouldn’t have been on the roof tops and I felt that he was trashing the city he was meant to protect in order to save one person when in actual fact he could have killed many more in the process. The thing is though he would have had to do that if in fact he was going to drive that tank around the city. He needs to get from one point to the next, and be capable of getting away. This car enables him to do that.

The one area that I really didn’t like all that much however was the whole Rachel subplot. What a load of bollocks. Seriously he should not have friggin told her he was Batman. That’s just seriously dumb. He’s meant to try and keep it to himself except a very few number of people that he really can’t do without (lucius fox, alfred etc)

The Characters.
They made this movie. With such a spectacular cast you’d have thought one would overshadow the other. Fortunately they just moved the story forward and actually supported Bruce Wayne perfectly, making him look better. Batman/Bruce Wayne
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne is brilliant. He plays the billionaire playboy perfectly. The scenes with the european models and buying the hotel were classic. When he kicks everyone out of his party, again very well done.

As Batman he’s got a great voice when he doesn’t say much. When he’s talking a lot it comes off a bit too much, but nevertheless very cool voice. The action sequences did seem a bit too chaotic. I can understand why Nolan decided not to show him punching people, to avoid the campness of it all but still, it would have been good to try and see what he was doing, or how he was using his gear.

The fight scenes where blurry, chaotic when he was in the thick of things. I think this was deliberate, rather than Nolan not knowing what he was doing. Getting away from the campness of it all and concetrating on atmosphere. There’s enough rubbish movies and tv series where two people slug it out, and it looks unrealistic. When it was one on one, Batman was scarey, just like you’d expect him. If you were raised 5 floors upside down and someone is screaming in your face to give him some answers you do it :).

Lucius Fox
The banter between Bruce and Fox when he’s showing him all the gizmos is very funny and extremely well done. Morgan Freeman should have been given a bigger part in this movie, but what little he did play he did exceptionally well. Such a fantastic actor. His character makes sense in the greater context of things. In the comics they make it out that Bruce is a genius of absolutely everything, but it’s not possible for him to do everything by himself, and so his network of old geezers doing stuff for him (Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox, Alfred) is something I’ve never really given much thought to till now. He’s like Batman’s ‘Q’ (from James Bond). Scarecrow.
Did a fantastic job on this character. Made him freaky as anything, just with facial expressions and his icey eyes. Also it did help to have some of the best CGI associated with the character. Final point Scarecrow easily had the best line of the entire movie..’It’s the BAT ….. MAN’, with this exceptionally creepy smile on his face. Incredibly good casting. I also like the fact that his costume was the mask and that’s it. Nothing more. He kept his suit on for the rest of his appearances. I loved the scene with him on the horse, although how he exited the movie was a bit crap, still he’d already done his job. Alfred.
Now this took a little getting used to. It’s just that Cain’s voice sometimes dropped the poshness you would expect. He seems a bit rougher around the edges than you’d expect.

I think it was better for me, since I’d read this interview where Cain gives Alfred a little bit of back history, ex-SAS soilder, who eventually gets a job offer from Wayne and that’s why he’s a bit rough around the edges. Again the banter between Alfred and Wayne was very well done, you appreciate the relationship they have and the admiration they have for each other.

Gotham City
Actually looked like a real place, with a thriving or not so thriving underbelly that needed someone like Batman. I really loved the train running through the city. I wasn’t all that sure about having a massive W on the Wayne building architecturally that is.
Final Thoughts
There are minor quibbles in both the script and direction, but to be fair this is a studio blockbuster. I’m sure that there was a lot of bollocks that was attached to the film due to higher-ups talking utter shit. The fact that I came out enjoying this as much as I have, and still thinking about it is a massive attribute to just what a great job the team did, in getting it done right, and avoiding poking and prodding from people that should seriously stay away.

I’ve currently seen two great comic book movies in a row. I don’t want to jinx myself so I think I’ll miss out on going to see the Fantastic Four, simply because I’ve never been a fan of the comics, and honestly the trailers look weak,…at best. Sure there are some pretty geeky moments for me that I love, but overall I get the feeling that it’s all going to end in tears. To avoid that experience, go watch Batman Begins.


  1. It was a fantastic movie. I agree.

    1 an
  2. I agree with both above. I thought the movie was very well done. Hats off to Chris Nolan and Christian Bale.

    2 David Babylon