This is more like it. And good enough to Spotless Mind the lame Batman & Robin from my brain.
What is great about this one is how it focuses on the human story, rather than the fantastic.
By going through the trials and training with young Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins pinpoints whatâ€™s at the heart of the story, and its hero: heâ€™s just a man. Batman is just a regular man, with some training to be sure, but no superpowers of any kind. Heâ€™s just a man on a mission to protect Gotham City.
Christian Bale does a nice job portraying Bruce, his quest for revenge and justice, his discovery of his purpose and how he sets about on his mission. Stronger still is the supporting cast; these guys are always good no matter what they do, and they donâ€™t disappoint here.
- Liam Neeson, a sage guru who finds Bruce languishing away in prison, does a nice job with his role as mentor.
- Michael Caine is great as Alfred, surrogate father to Bruce. He provides love and support, or a kick in the pants when needed.
- Morgan Freeman hooks Bruce up with all those â€œgreat toysâ€ that Batman uses: the costume, the cables and belt, and the car. Heâ€™s a former Wayne executive whoâ€™s been banished to the basement by Rutger Hauer, Wayne Enterprisesâ€™ conniving CEO.
- Gary Oldman is the â€œone good copâ€ left in the city, who befriended Bruce as a boy and now works with Batman to save Gothem.
- Katie Holmes does not have much to do really, so I cannot really comment on her part as Bruceâ€™s childhood friend. Except that she is in no way convincing as a lawyer, much less an assistant District Attorney. She might pull off eager law student. I will say that sheâ€™s not doing that bad a job playing Tomâ€™s fiance.
On the bad guy side of town, Tom Wilkinson is almost under-used as a mob boss crime lord while Cillian Murphy is extra creepy as a corrupt wack-job headshrinker. Dark Places, Moody Lighting, Scary Sounds and Ominous Music all tag team for the part of Fear – the movieâ€™s biggest supporting player – and do an excellent job.
The action in this one is very good, and builds nicely for the finale, with the bad guys unleashing their big evil plan and Batman trying to save the day. Itâ€™s done well and not all in CGI, which is a good thing. The car chase roars through city streets, and it gives the movie a more â€œtactileâ€ edge, that special effects just cannot fully achieve at times.
The closing scene makes me a little nervous, as it was a set-up for a sequel thatâ€™s already been done well enough. Iâ€™d like to see other villains introduced to this wonderful new Batman universe.
Final Snark: A franchise resurrected from the dead and coming up roses.