I’ve been thinking of re-watching the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy for a while now, and with all of the excitement surrounding the Batman vs Superman film coming up next year, now is as good a time as any.
I feel like Batman Begins often gets overlooked. Obviously The Dark Knight is the best film of the three, and The Dark Knight Rises, being the most recent, is discussed at length and freshest in our minds, but Batman Begins itself is a cinematic achievement in itself, one that does a fantastic job at bringing Gotham’s hero to the screen the way he should be – shrouded in darkness and fighting the criminal underworld in an awesome outfit.
For starters, I think Batman Begins is the film that best portrays Gotham City, particularly The Narrows. While the corruption and greed of Gotham’s wealthy is very much at work in the other two films, it’s this one that shows it to be the shithole that it really is, and much more in line with the Gotham City in the comics. It’s dirty in every sense of the word.
Another great decision was making Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul the big bads of the film. Batman has some of the most well known villains in all of pop culture, thanks to repeated film and TV adaptations, so bringing something new to the table is always a challenge. Starting off with the League of Shadows was a good opportunity to do some training montages in order to get to the point where we know Bruce is capable of being a badass so we can get on with the plot.
Scarecrow, being one of the less campy and less well known Batman villains, was a good choice for Batman’s first outing, and let’s be honest, when is Cillian Murphy not incredible? He’s just on the right side of scary without being over the top, and the concept of the panic-inducing fear toxin threatening to make the city tear itself apart is awesome. And I want to talk about his cameos in the next two films but I’ll wait.
Batman himself is excellent, stupid voice aside. The costume is better than any live action adaptation previously, and his gadgets are pretty rad. I think they handled Bruce’s broodiness towards his duty to the city pretty well. Batman has always been super melodramatic, but it doesn’t feel out of place in this film. Instead, you find yourself absolutely believing that this symbol can do things no single man can.
Things that were not cool –
- Ra’s Al Ghul being a white dude. I love Liam Neeson, but no.
- Katie Holmes. Never been a fan, and she just seemed pretty forgettable in the film. Maggie Gyllenhaal does a way better job of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight.
Best moment –
I know it will seem pretty lame to you guys, but the last sequence of the film where Gordon tells Batman there’s a new criminal stirring up trouble, and he leaves a calling card, and Batman flips the card over and OH MY GOD IT’S A JOKER CARD AW YEAHHH. Great moment.
Coming soon – a post on The Dark Knight! Stay tuned.