This movie got shafted super hard. It’s a good movie! But it just can’t hold a candle to its infinitely more iconic sequel. Even the third movie is more recognized than this one!
We all know the story by now. Young Bruce Wayne watches his parents get killed in an alley, runs away, gets trained by ninjas, and comes back to purge Gotham of its corruption as the Batman. But with the rise of the Scarecrow and his hidden benefactor, the caped crusader’s quest may end in the destruction of his city.
It’s your typical Batman origin story. It hits on all the necessary beats. Dead parents? Check. Love interest? Check. Ninjas? Check. Making costume? Check. Testing gear? Check. Warmup villain before the Joker? Check and double check. This is about the most cliché and basic Batman story that could possibly be written.
Not to say that’s bad. So long as it’s well executed, a story can be as cliché as it likes. And this movie is executed incredibly well!
This is the first movie to try and apply a more realistic, grounded tone and style to Batman. And it works perfectly here! It doesn’t always blend with the comic book campiness; Scarecrow’s dialogue is still a bit silly and Batman’s suit looks kinda chunky. But the more realistic take fits this character really well.
If only DC realized that the same cannot be said for characters like Superman…
The story is bolstered a lot by its incredible cast. Michael Kane is Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon are all pitch-perfect castings for those characters. Although I do feel that Christian Bale is pretty weak as Bruce Wayne. Not terrible, mind you. But he doesn’t play the character all that interestingly when he’s out of the costume.
Visually speaking, this movie still holds up super well! It relies more on practical effects than CGI (although it does have a bit of the ladder, which still looks okay). Combined with dynamic camera angles and excellent editing and you get a super hero film that’s incredibly engaging on a presentational front.
It helps that the music is really good. The main theme is super catchy and dramatic. The main problem with it is that the tracks all sort of blend together. It’s enjoyable, but it does feel very repetitive.
In short, this movie holds up really well. It isn’t as mind-blowing as its sequel, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable movie to watch. If you’re in need of something entertaining, Batman Begins is a perfect fit.
But let’s be honest. We all know which of these movies you’ll be watching.