Co-written by the team of David S. Goyer (a veteran comic book writer) and director Christopher Nolan (Memento), Batman Begins is a welcome return to the grim and gritty version of the Dark Knight, owing a great debt to the graphic novels that preceded it. It doesn't have the razzle dazzle, or the mass appeal, of Spider-Man 2 (though the Batmobile is cool), and retelling the origin means it starts slowly, like most "first" superhero movies. But it's certainly the best Bat-film since Burton's original, and one of the best superhero movies of its time. Bale cuts a good figure as Batman, intense and dangerous but with some of the lightheartedness Michael Keaton brought to the character. Michael Caine provides much of the film's humor as the family butler, Alfred, and as the love interest, Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) is surprisingly believable in her first adult role. Also featuring Gary Oldman as the young police officer Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman as a Q-like gadgets expert, and Cillian Murphy as the vile Jonathan Crane. --David Horiuchi, Amazon.com
Christopher Nolan creates a whole new film from the comic sources, especially Frank Miller's seminal 'Batman: Year One'. He remains faithful to the character's history whilst developing engaging characters rather than creating a movie around set-pieces. That said, the set-pieces that feature are spectacular, and, like the rest of the movie, grounded in the realism (as much as is possible in a comic-book world). Gotham truly feels like a sprawling, seething city with an impressive monorail system and inner island. The characters play major parts in Bruce Wayne's life and the development of Bruce/Batman as a character is excellent. The movie turns out even better than one could have imagined upon learning that Nolan was going to direct a realistic Batman movie with Christian Bale as the protagonist. It is emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, and supremely enjoyable, something lacking in many films today, let alone comic-book based movies.
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