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This review is from: BATMAN BEGINS (2 DVD) Deluxe Edition with 72 page comic (DVD)
Christopher Nolan sows the seeds of Batman & watches it grow in a reboot that set the standard of all reboots we've seen in recent years.
We're introduced to Bruce Wayne as a young boy who for reasons that soon become obvious is terrified of bats. After witnessing his parents coldly murdered in a back alley, we see a disillusioned Bruce travelling the world, getting caught up in the world of criminality, until a mysterious mentor guides him to a mountain lair where he will be trained to fight by the 'League of Shadows', a secret ninja organisation hell-bent on destroying criminals & the cities who sire them. Thankfully, Bruce is not quite so genocidal in his ways in refusing the latter & returns to Gotham to fight crime, where he learns Wayne Enterprises is now a global conglomerate, with a particular department in military technology, including body armour, a terrain vehicle & several gadgets in tow.
Hence, Batman's origins are explained in full, the anguish, the pain, the fighting skills, the suit, the batmobile & the grapple gun. It takes about an hour for Batman to finally appear but this back story is an enthralling watch & builds up to one of the movie's most rewarding moments where Christopher Nolan got it right where so many TV & movie directors have got it wrong - finally the criminals are afraid of Batman, terrified in fact as they know something is there but they don't know what (What is more terrifying than that?) But Batman's enemies are inventive intelligent characters and it's not long before Bruce's past catches up with him.
Visually, this film is a stunning watch, Gotham city disturbingly portrayed as a city of darkness, decadence & decay with a criminal underworld controlling everything. The batsuit looks terrific, no longer with a big yellow bat symbol across its chest (or nipples either for that matter) while the batmobile is one of the most memorable vehicles in movie history & its chase scene is a cracker. Bale portrays a tortured Wayne with conviction with an excellent supporting cast in Michael Caine as Alfred with a subtle humour, Tom Wilkinson as a Crime Boss, Cillian Murphy as the cool yet demonic Scarecrow, Liam Neeson as Bruce's mentor (is there any role Neeson can't play?), Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon & Morgan Freeman as the gadget-letting Lucius Fox and Katie Holmes.....well, we'll forgive her this time.
This is a superb telling of the origins of the Batman character, full of brooding tension, a very apt musical score and an exciting finale. That reboots of the James Bond, Predator & Star Trek franchises followed in the aftermath of this film is a testament to how effective it is as an origin story.
The special features disc is also worth a watch (particularly as the DVD menu is controlled by navigating a virtual comic!) and contains plenty of interviews with cast & crew (Nolan's vision in creating this movie is of particular interest) and intriguing documentaries on the suit & batmobile amongst others. The packaging for this particular version could be considered to be for the die-hard fans only, but it has an undeniably cool holographic cover where Batman emerges from a colony of bats and also includes a 72 page comic book with some classic Batman stories including a re-print of the first ever Batman strip from 1939.
Considering the franchise was buried by Joel Schumacher's 'Batman & Robin' debacle, this shines as a truly excellent movie, with memorable packaging and well worth the inflated price over the single 1 disc edition.
Welcome back Batman.