How does one man change the world?
It’s a question that haunts Bruce Wayne like the specter of his parents, gunned down before his eyes in the streets of Gotham on a night that changed his life forever.

(2005) Film Review

This page was created on June 1, 2005
This page was last updated on November 21, 2005

Overview
Photos
About this Film
Spiritual Connections


Review by Elisabeth Leitch
Review by Kevin Miller
Review by Maurice Broaddus
Review by Mike Furches
Review by Johann YO Synder
Review by Mark Stokes


Dial up modems will take a few moments

CREDITS

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Characters by Bob Kane
Story by David S. Goyer
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer

42.jpg (218 K)Cast (in credits order)
Christian Bale .... Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine .... Alfred Pennyworth
Liam Neeson .... Henri Ducard
Morgan Freeman .... Lucius Fox
Gary Oldman .... Lt. James Gordon
Ken Watanabe .... Ra's Al Ghul
Katie Holmes .... Rachel Dawes
Cillian Murphy .... Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow
Tom Wilkinson .... Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hauer .... Richard Earle
Sara Stewart .... Martha Wayne
Richard Brake .... Joe Chill
Gus Lewis .... Young Bruce Wayne
Emma Lockhart .... Young Rachel Dawes
Linus Roache .... Dr. Thomas Wayne
Colin McFarlane .... Commissioner Gillian Loeb
Barry Dowden .... Det. Flass
Larry Holden .... Dist. Atty. Carlton Finch
Lucy Russell .... Susan

Produced by
Larry J. Franco .... producer
Benjamin Melniker .... executive producer
Charles Roven .... producer
Emma Thomas .... producer
Cheryl A. Tkach .... associate producer
Michael E. Uslan .... executive producer

Original Music by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer
Additional music by Ramin Djawadi and Mel Wesson
Non-Original Music by Muslimgauze

Cinematography by Wally Pfister
Film Editing by Lee Smith



MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements.
Runtime: 140 min

For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

TRAILERS AND CLIPS
Teaser:
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Trailer:
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Final Trailer:
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International Trailer:
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IMAX Trailer:
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Super Bowl TV Spot:
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TV Spot 1:
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International TV Spot:
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Smallville Preview Footage:
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CD

BATMAN BEGINS
Hans Zimmer, James Howard Newton

CD Info

BOOK

Batman Begins : The Official Movie Guide
by Editors of DC Comics
Book Info

The Art of Batman Begins
by Mark Cotta Vaz
Book Info

Batman Begins (Novel)
by DENNIS O'NEIL
Book Info

Batman Begins: The Visual Guide
by Scott Beatty
Book Info

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SYNOPSIS
Click to enlargeHow does one man change the world?

It’s a question that haunts Bruce Wayne (CHRISTIAN BALE) like the specter of his parents, gunned down before his eyes in the streets of Gotham on a night that changed his life forever.

Tormented by guilt and anger, battling the demons that feed his desire for revenge and his need to honor his parents’ altruistic legacy, the disillusioned industrial heir vanishes from Gotham and secretly travels the world, seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.

In his quest to educate himself in the ways of the criminal mind, Bruce is mentored by a mysterious man called Ducard (LIAM NEESON) in the mastery of the physical and mental disciplines that will empower him to fight the evil he has vowed to destroy. He soon finds himself the target of recruiting efforts by the League of Shadows, a powerful, subversive vigilante group headed by enigmatic leader Ra’s al Ghul (KEN WATANABE).

Bruce returns to Gotham to find the city devoured by rampant crime and corruption. Wayne Enterprises, his family’s former bastion of philanthropic business ideals, now rests in the hands of CEO Richard Earle (RUTGER HAUER), a man more concerned with taking the company public than serving the public good.

Meanwhile, Bruce’s close childhood friend Rachel Dawes (KATIE HOLMES), now an Assistant District Attorney, can’t secure a conviction of the city’s most notorious criminals because the justice system has been so deeply polluted by scum like crime boss Carmine Falcone (TOM WILKINSON). It doesn’t help that prominent Gotham psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane (CILLIAN MURPHY) bolsters insanity defenses for Falcone’s thugs in exchange for nefarious favors that serve his own devious agenda.

With the help of his trusted butler Alfred (MICHAEL CAINE), detective Jim Gordon (GARY OLDMAN) -- one of the few good cops on the Gotham police force -- and Lucius Fox (MORGAN FREEMAN), his ally at the Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences division, Bruce Wayne unleashes his awe-inspiring alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses strength, intellect and an array of high tech weaponry to fight the sinister forces that threaten to destroy the city.

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42.jpg (218 K)vvvIf there were a formula for action hero movies, most would go something like this—Bad guy does bad stuff, hurts people, kills people, cheats people, and generally attempts to amass some sort of power, control, and/or large sums of money. Good guy tries to stop bad guy, save people, and stop bad from overcoming good. There would probably be a damsel in distress. Superheroes would indefinitely struggle with identity issues. Throw it all together with some choreographed fight scenes, near death scenes, and heroic rescues, and you’d have yourself an action hero movie.

Batman Begins, however, is surprisingly different. It goes beyond fight scenes and formulas. It even goes beyond simple good versus evil.

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Review by
KEVIN MILLER

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25.jpg (188 K)Batman Begins is the first truly great superhero film. While most superhero films tend to emphasize spectacle over story, Batman Begins is more like a character study masquerading as an action movie. Like Bruce Wayne, this film only resorts to superheroics when all other avenues are exhausted. And when writer/director Christopher Nolan does employ such tactics, he mirrors Batman by treating them as necessary evils rather than big set pieces. During most fight or chase scenes, for example, the camera is so close to the action that all we really observe is the suggestion of action rather than the action itself. This is yet another reflection of Batman’s philosophy: Results are what matter, not how pretty you look as you achieve them. That’s not to say this film—or Batman—does no appreciate the value of theatrics. Exactly the opposite. But both Batman and Nolan realize that if you’re going to create a spectacle—a myth, even—you had better be able to back it up with rock-solid substance. So before the climactic, “all hope is lost if the hero doesn’t succeed” chase sequence, Nolan spends most of the movie creating just that: substance.

24.jpg (169 K)Beginning with Bruce Wayne’s training in the Himalayas at the hands of the mysterious Ducard, Nolan feeds us a steady stream of questions regarding justice, fear, identity, anger, guilt, and vengeance. While Wayne doesn’t necessarily embrace everything Ducard has to say on these topics, Ducard’s tutelage is crucial in shaping the type of man Wayne will become. Ducard helps him refine his vision, overcome his fears, and find a constructive channel for his rage....

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ALSO: Check out Kevin's article:
I think I can finally forgive Tim Burton...

 

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Review by
MAURICE BROADDUS

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22.jpg (126 K)What does it take to create a legend? Batman Begins tells the tale of one man’s battle against corruption, of a man who feels the need to dress up as a bat in order to do it. The thing about the movie is how plausible it makes this entire venture seem, or at least how it treats the venture as if it is plausible. The movie is grounded, if that makes sense, in the reality of Bruce Wayne’s humanness (the bat suit doesn’t make an appearance for almost a full hour). We know (and I use the word “we” to refer to those of the comic book intelligentsia familiar with the origins of Batman) that it is the tragic loss of his parents at the hand of a street criminal, and his subsequent thirst for Justice, that drives him into his new life. But the exact path that this journey entails hasn’t been depicted until now. This movie, with the hopes of reinvigorating the Batman movie franchise, chooses to explore the tortured psyche of a man who would don some sophisticated latex and fight crime, examining the issues that shaped the man into the hero he is destined to become.

42.jpg (218 K)Christopher Nolan (Insomnia, and writer/director of the brilliant Memento) returns the Dark Knight mythos to center stage. Christian Bale (Equilibrium, American Psycho) is wonderful as Bruce Wayne (capturing his playboy spirit and tortured angst better than, say, Val Kilmer who was my favorite Bruce Wayne) and captivating as Batman (who, odd as it may sound, had been done best by Michael Keaton). The star power of this movie doesn’t stop there: Michael Caine (the faithful manservant, Alfred), Rutger Hauer (Earle), Ken Wantabe (Ra’s Al Ghul), Morgan Freeman (scientific genius, Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Lieutenant James Gordon), and Liam Neeson (Henri Ducard) all give rousing turns chewing up scenery. The camera work gets a little too close to the action, at times obscuring the fight scenes and at other times conveying the speed of the action....

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Review by
MIKE FURCHES

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Okay let me make a couple of things clear, I am a comic book fan and have been for years. While Batman may not be at the top of my list, he is among my top three comic book heroes of all time right there with Captain America and Spiderman. I have said it before and will say it again, comic books are as much for adults as they are kids and in some ways even more so for adults. Batman is a perfect example of that and thankfully, the new movie Batman Begins does justice to the character of Batman created by Bob Kane.

64.jpg (250 K)The person Bruce Wayne has a life filled with tragedy, heartache, and horror. He has gone through life blaming himself for the tragedies of his childhood. He is a character that many can relate to. The truth is, that unfortunately many have experienced tragedy and end up blaming themselves for those tragedies. While on the surface the concept of fear is approached, the story of Batman is about so much more than that. It is about each individual learning to deal with the tragedies of their youth, and discovering hope within their own lives and then doing something with that fear and hope for the humanity we can serve. Fear is just an obstacle that gets in the way. It is not the underlying theme or problem though and that is the mistake many make. While fear is in each persons life, just as in the life of Batman, it has to be attacked and conquered. For Bruce Wayne, overcoming fear would be a wonderful drama but it would not be a complete story. What to do once one has overcome fear, is the challenge and struggle that each of us must face. That in essence becomes the story of Batman. There must be a purpose in addressing fear. That is the struggle that Bruce Wayne faces and is what the story of Batman is all about.

44.jpg (177 K)One of the associations that many have to fear is darkness, it is a technique used by filmmakers and is a technique that is similar to the recent review I did of High Tension. Not just as a lighting effect, but as a story line. Don’t expect to leave this movie feeling great. The techniques are not comedy, brightness and wonderful events. The events include tragedy, despair, difficulty, death, and destruction. Notice the usage of darkness in this movie. There is not much hope or happiness. Corruption and greed run Gotham and we need to realize that Gotham don’t just represent New York City as many have implied, Gotham represents the world we live in. We are all residents of Gotham. The earth is seen as a place that is dark, greedy, and influenced by evil people, often times the evil that they do overpowering the good that others do. Just turn on the news and you will see an example of this. Kane in his original story line addressed all of the current problems of the time. Just as the time needed a hero in the inception of Batman, it still needs one, it needs one who will help society overcome fear, and return evil with good...

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Click to go to Yo's BlogREVIEW BY JOHANN "Yo" SNYDER

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03.jpg (201 K)  12.jpg (28 K)  18.jpg (33 K)  14.jpg (26 K)  09.jpg (32 K)

Note: This review is spoiler free

Batman Begins isn’t a great comic book movie…

… it’s a great movie. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like a comic book movie. Instead, it feels like an epic, dramatic, action film that just so happens to have a hero that dresses up like a bat. Yes the hype is true; this is the Batman film that fans have been waiting for This is one of the best (if not the best) comic films to ever grace the big screen, but I can’t emphasize enough that this film transcends the label of comic book movie. It’s quite simply one of the most enjoyable films so far this year.

22.jpg (126 K)For those of you who have been in the batcave for too long, Batman Begins is a new start for the franchise, something that was desperately needed after the travesty of Batman and Robin. Director Christopher Nolan has re-imagined Batman for the big screen, and he has done a masterful job. Although, to say that he’s re-imagined anything perhaps isn’t fair because Batman Begins is actually much more faithful to the character of the comic books than any of the previous films; except for the animated versions that is. In fact, one of the great strengths of this film is that you actually get to know and understand Bruce Wayne, adeptly played by Christian Bale. As the film unfolds, you learn why Bruce is so angry, why he is driven to fight crime and injustice, why he would even consider wearing the costume of a giant bat, why he uses so many gadgets and where he got them from, how he learned to fight, and why he uses fear as a weapon. All of this helps you to get to know and identify with the character, which lends much more emotional weight to everything that follows.

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MARK EZRA STOKES

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Batman & Smiths explore dark secrets

For years now, summer movies have been mindless action flicks aimed at bored high-school students with extra time on their hands and plenty of cash to spend. Though Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Batman Begins fall into this action-packed tradition, they seem to have raised the bar of what can now be expected.

Click to enlargeOn the surface, Mr. & Mrs. Smith looks like a dark glorification of domestic violence, attacking the institution of marriage and making light of serious relational problems. The story involves bored couple John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith. Though the Smiths began their marriage as passionate lovers, the magic has somehow disappeared, and they’re not quite sure where they went wrong. In the meantime, they both discover that the other is a secret agent for a rival agency, requiring each of them to kill the other spouse. Pretty disturbing, huh? However, through a series of action-packed events, the Smiths are actually able to open up emotionally and communicate honestly.

Communication and honesty are two themes that continue to pop up throughout the film. After growing bored with physical intimacy, the Smiths are eventually forced into deeper forms of intimacy—that which can only come through genuine dialogue between two committed partners. The violence and countless brushes with death may seem unbelievable (though excellently choreographed), but the natural progression of a struggling-though-getting-better relationship makes the film worthwhile.

What keeps Mr. & Mrs. Smith unique to the genre is its comedic timing. The film could’ve easily focused on the couple’s cold-blooded hatred for one another, the tortures they inflict to express that hatred and the justification of those tortures. Instead, the Smiths have the snappy banter of Abbott & Costello and the physical comedy of The Three Stooges. Their conversations are both clever and universal, bringing light to some of the most common relational problems and offering some surprisingly solid advice. This valuable lesson on creating functional relationships can also be applied to our relationship with God and the importance of prayer.

Like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins deals with double identities, though it takes this motif into more psychological depths. (The only thing more surprising than a secret agent movie with originality is a Batman movie that capitalizes on psychology rather than spectacle.)

Batman Begins follows the journey of Bruce Wayne from fragile rich kid to Gotham City’s vigilante hero. As a child, Bruce becomes consumed with his anger after a mugger murders his parents. Though understandably apathetic and baggage-laden, Bruce encounters several mentors and milestone events that shape his destiny. Through sage advice from martial arts mentor Ducard (Jedi master Liam Neeson), compassionate father-figure/butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and childhood sweetheart Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), Bruce confronts the fears that have left him dead inside—fears that have prepared him for an inevitable resurrection.

28.jpg (218 K)Unlike its campy predecessors, Batman Begins returns to the comic book idea of a human superhero with no superpowers—one who must daily confront and overcome his weaknesses. Bruce’s two most prevalent weaknesses are his paralyzing fear of bats and the guilt he feels for his parents’ death. Additionally, though, the film looks at his conscious effort to leave his lofty position of wealth and live among the common people—from thieves to prisoners, fighters to the homeless. After spending time with the underbelly of society, Bruce overcomes temptation (to join Ducard’s League of Shadows and police the world with an iron fist), returns to his father’s wealth, and fights with a new resurrection body (as Batman) to redeem the depraved and already-condemned Gotham City.

In addition to the psychological depth, this Batman film is different from previous incarnations in its look. Batman Begins pays careful attention to making Batman mysterious and frightening. The hero himself is gruff-voiced, angry and intense. Instead of utilizing a bright neon color scheme, the film is full of black. From dark alley to dank cave to everything Batman owns: it’s all black. Where the previous films sought to dazzle the eye, this one seeks to downplay fight scenes, flashy costumes or elaborate lairs. What results is a focus on the story and the story alone. Were it not for an incredibly talented ensemble cast and a meticulously planned screenplay, this could’ve been a disaster.

Batman Begins, like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, explores relationships. While Smiths hones in on romance, Batman looks at familial relationships, awareness of the downtrodden and self-exploration. It challenges us to identify those fears that hold us back, and to conquer them so that we may live full lives. Though some may have more baggage than others, Batman Begins follows Bruce’s healing so realistically that we leave thinking, “If he can get over his past, so can I.”

These two films show us that, when entering the theater with a Biblical mindset, we can find truth in some of the most unlikely sources. From Mr. & Mrs. Smith, we learn that relationships are hard work, but that honest communication can really go a long way (John 14:13). From Batman Begins, we learn that emotional baggage can really seem overwhelming at times, but that with the right focus, we can overcome our fears (2 Timothy 1:7) and turn our attention toward helping others who hurt.

Both Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Batman Begins are rated PG-13. Batman Begins seems geared toward the young teen to middle-aged adult range. It includes intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements. Though relatively clean, its darkness could possibly frighten children. Married or seriously dating couples will get more out of Mr. & Mrs. Smith than the average viewer. It has several of the typical elements of a James Bond film: sequences of violence, intense action, sexual content and brief strong language. Husbands not so keen on chick flicks would enjoy the action, and wives tired of mindless action will like the romance. Whichever you choose, you’re bound to walk away with a valuable life lesson.

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