Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: Movie #56

Batman Begins (2005)

Plot: Years after his parents were killed in front of him, Gotham City Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) disappears for seven years to train, learning how to stop crime at it’s core.  When he returns to Gotham, he becomes Batman, determined to take down Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), the city’s crime lord.  While doing so, he uncovers a plot much deeper that may destroy Gotham forever.

Henri Ducard: Are you ready to begin?

Hell yes.  Batman Begins was a game changer.  We’ve had some great superhero movies in the past, but director Christopher Nolan opened the floodgates for just how great these films can be.  The acting is off the charts.  Michael Caine.  Liam Neeson.  Morgan Freeman.  Gary Oldman.  Cillian Murphy.  Tom Wilkinson.  All of them give A+ performances.  And Christian Bale could not have been more perfect casting.  He is Batman.  When he plays both roles, I really believe he’s two different people.  Nolan and David Goyer, who both wrote the script, truly understand what Batman means.  This is really apparent in the scenes when Carmine calls out Bruce at his restaurant and when Bruce monologues to Alfred on the plane.  I like that we get to know Thomas Wayne a little bit, and he’s not just some random father figure who is shot down in three seconds of screen time.  What some people love most about Batman Begins is the realism factor.  You actually believe this is possible.  As much as I love the original Tim Burton 1989 Batman, this is simply a superior film.  Jim Gordon is actually a character.  Batman’s first meeting with him is inspiring.

Gordon: You’re just one man.
Batman: Now we’re two.

Awesome!  There are so many great individual scenes just like this one.  The first Batman/Scarecrow confrontation is perfect.  Batman’s first appearance, where no one knows where he is, could not be more perfect.  I love the subtlety.  Carmine is sitting in his car, completely freaked out, waiting for Batman.  If you watch, you’ll see the slightest shake of the car, barely noticeable, and then seconds later, Batman smashes through the roof and pulls him out and says, “I’m Batman.”  What a great throwback to the 1989 film.  I actually like the first half a little better when Bruce is training with Ducard, which I guess is a minor criticism, but the pacing of the film is still flawless.  They fit a lot of stuff into one movie, but when you have Christopher Nolan at the helm, that’s pretty much expected.  The thing I love most about this film is that it gave me two legit surprise plot points.  I’ve never been more taken off guard when watching a movie.  I remember going into this film back in 2005.  One month earlier, I was all about the last Star Wars, and I didn’t even give this film much thought.  I still, like most people, had Batman & Robin on the brain.  I went into this with a ‘whatever’ attitude.  When the credits came on, I had only one thought:  Batman’s back.

Rating: 9 out of 10 (OMG)    

Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):

Best Performance: Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard/Ra’s Al Ghul
-This was a really hard pick between Christian Bale and Liam Neeson.  But there’s just something about Neeson that elevates this movie to greatness.  Every time he speaks, he’s always fascinating.  His best delivery for me is “But is Ra’s al Ghul immortal?  Are his methods supernatural?”  For Batman fans, the implications of that one line are chilling.

Worst Performance: Katie Holmes as Rachael Dawes
-She gets more crap then she deserves.  She’s okay here.  Unfortunately she has to act with all these heavyweights, and she’s just completely lost.  There are moments though.  When she’s in the car with Bruce, driving him to Carmine’s restaurant after the hearing is easily her best scene.  Rachael definitely has the worst dialogue in the film, which doesn’t help.  The real problem though is that she just looks too young.

Best Line: “I’ll be standings where I belong.  Between you and the people of Gotham.” –Bruce Wayne to Ra’s al Ghul
-I had like 25 choices, but this one just seems to exemplify Batman the best.

Worst Line: “That’s right, you better run.” –Rachael
-A terrible line and a terrible delivery.  This is pretty much why Katie Holmes wins Worst Performance.

Best Fight:
-The final Batman/Ra’s al Ghul fight on the train is pretty solid.  The highlights are Batman breaking his sword in half with the arm guards, and the “You never learned to mind your surroundings” line, which was an ongoing theme between Bruce and Ra’s al Ghul throughout the movie.

WTF Moment:
-The Batmobile, or tumbler rather.  Now I don’t hate it, but it’s a little much.  The Tim Burton version is a lot better, but as crazy as it sounds, the tumbler makes more sense in Nolan’s Batman world because it’s more realistic than theBurtonversion which is pretty much a James Bond car.  But still…it’s just way too massive.

Best Scene:
-When Ra’s al Ghul reveals himself at Bruce’s party.  Not for one second did I believe Liam Neeson was Ra’s al Ghul.  This whole scene between Bruce and Ra’s al Ghul is just filled with awesome dialogue as Ra’s al Ghul explains his plan, and the music really kicks up at the end.  I love it.

Worst Scene:
-The car chase between the cops and Batman on the highway.  Here’s why.  I don’t have any problems with the actual action of the scene, but the dialogue gets way too jokey, and this movie is better than that.  Here’s some of the dialogue:

Gordon (on seeing the tumbler): I got to get me one of those.
Random Cop: It’s a black…tank.
Random Cop: He’s flying on rooftops!
Random Cop: At least tell me what it looks like…(sees tumbler) never mind.

I just think we could have done without these lame lines and poor delivery.

Funniest Moment:
-There was actually quite a few to choose from, but when Bruce abruptly leaves the party and tells Alfred, “Tell them that joke you know,” gets me every time.

Bad Ass Moment:
-The Joker card.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: THE FINAL RANKINGS « The Green Light

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