24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A whole new beginning,
By A Customer
This review is from: Batman Begins (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)
Only when you've entirely removed the concept that this is continuing on from the Burton (good)/ Schumacher (bad) series, then you will trully appreciate Batman Begins in it's own merit.
As the title suggests, it states the origins of the dark knight.
Here we have a young, bitter Bruce Wayne (Bale) overwhelmed by his impotent rage (from the death of his parents- but you knew that already), brawling in some unnamed prison in China being rescued and educated into a sort of ninja vigilante by a man named Henri Ducard (Neeson). From there on out we have a steady progression into the masked spook we all know and love. Along the way he battles the mob and the Scarecrow (Murphy).
The Chicago settings are utilised to the best of their abilities in creating a dark, grimy, overpopulated city (much.. like Chicago) and the music, though somewhat old-hat, is impeccable in acheiving what we expect, the kind of music you can comfortably ignore when watching a film like this.
The cast too is top notch. Bale is by far the most angry of the Batmen, and certainly maintains the intensity you would expect from a methodical viglante dressed like an animal. Keaton may have got across a dark, more worn out mean spirit of the later Wayne but Bale manages to be every bit as fierce as a young angry man could be. Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are strong supporting cast, the latter playing against the usual stereotype of nutcase and instead playing earnest and honest Commisioner Gordon. But it's Cillian Murphy who really stands out as the first non-jokey/camp Batman villian. Murphy is superb in his measured malice, a corrupt psychiatrist whose meddling in crime is made more sinister by his hidden pleasure to psychologically torture people. Even his mask is given a reason for existence rather than the usual resigned 'well he's just mad is all' approach. He wears a sort of potato sack mask over his face to scare mental patients in his experiments. By the end he is less like the ridiculous comic character and more a mix between BF Skinner and Harold Shipman.
Of course this movie is not without it's faults. The weak love story between Bale and the ever annoying Katie Holmes only takes away from the action and is only there to make sure no one thinks ol' Wayne is gay. Secondly the Scarecrow isn't given nearly enough screen time, which in comparasion to the Joker and the Penguin's billing in the first two Batmen seems a little lacking. Third, in it's promise to be darker and edgier it still is 12 rating. This isn't nearly as violent as it could've been or even as edgy as it should've been (by comparasion to Batman Forever or Batman And Robin, though, it's the equivalent to Silence Of The Lambs or Clockwork Orange). And Lastly though they claim to be going for all it's ingeniuety it falls into the stock 'train derailed' climax, like Spiderman2 only less.
Still, it's a solid interpretation that stands alone as intriguing as it is entertaining. Fans of the comics will be more in tune with this gritty vision and the average joe can be pleased with the limited amount of CGI action.