Batman Begins (2005)


Christopher Nolan successfully reboots the Batman franchise by taking a cue from Bryan Singer (X-Men), who showed the world how much better a comic book movie could be by taking its subject matter seriously. While the approach works for this Batman film, I must admit that I personally prefer my Batman movies to be hyper-stylized and gothic as all get out, which Tim Burton had already done. Fortunately, the franchise lends itself to multiple interpretations.

I’m not crazy about Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne. He’s a little too young and his Batman voice conjures the image of a chain-smoking drag queen. He’s okay, but he’s not as dangerous or interesting as Michael Keaton. Katie Holmes is definitely miscast, and I’m on the fence about Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow, too. Both are fine actors, just not perfect for these parts. My other significant gripe is with the script. It works while we’re in the origin story, but when act three comes around, Batman Begins plods to a predictable and uninspired climax. Somehow, these major misgivings don’t sink the movie, if only because it’s so refreshing to see Batman taken seriously again.

I love Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman in their iconic supporting roles, and I also love the pulse-pounding score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard — a far cry from the themes of Danny Elfman, but exciting in an entirely different way. Like X-Men, Batman Begins primarily succeeds in piquing our interest in a sequel. And in both cases, that sequel would blow the original out of the water…

Oscar Nomination: Best Cinematography

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