Batman Begins

Batman Begins is a 2005 action drama released by Warner Bros.  Some of the stars of the film include Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard, Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, and Gary Oldman as Sergeant Jim Gordon.  The writers are Bob Kane (Batman), David S. Goyer (Blade II), and Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight).  The director is Christopher Nolan.

The movie opens with a young Bruce Wayne falling down an old well in his backyard.  Then he is attacked by bats, which he is terrified of.  A fully-grown Bruce wakes up, revealing that he was only dreaming.  After a brief scuffle with some fellow prisoners in a jail, he is thrown in seclusion where he meets a man named Ducard.  He invites the young Wayne to train with a special vigilante group known as the League of Shadows, run by a man named Ra’s al Ghul.  After Bruce is released from the prison, he finds a rare flower and brings it up the mountain to the headquarters of the League.  The movie flashes back again to when Bruce’s parents were killed by criminal Joe Chill after they had left the opera because little Bruce was scared of the bat-like creatures.  Flash forward to when an older Bruce returns from school to attend Joe Chill’s parole hearing.  He plans to shoot his parents’ killer after he exits the courtroom but local mob boss Carmine Falcone’s men shoot first.  Later on, Bruce pays a visit to Falcone to show that not everyone is afraid of him.  The mobster says that the authorities are so corrupt that he’ll never be caught.  Bruce’s final test to become a member of the League of Shadows is to execute a man without trial.  He refuses and kills al Ghul.  He saves Ducard’s life and returns to Gotham to start his fight against evil.  Bruce Wayne obtains all the gear he needs from the Applied Sciences department head Lucius Fox, who works for Wayne Enterprises.  He quickly captures Carmine Falcone and busts incoming drugs.  He inquires what the drugs were for and soon discovers that they produce the same toxin that he had inhaled in his training for the League of Shadows.  Dr. Jonathan Crane uses his patients as guinea pigs to test the toxin.  Batman learns that, with the use of a stolen microwave emitter, it will be dispersed into the city’s water supply in order to induce the entire population of Gotham to destroy itself.

With this reboot of the Batman movie franchise, the series has gained some of its credibility back after Joel Schumacher, who had directed the previous two Batman films, had made nothing less than complete abominations of the Caped Crusader.  Christopher Nolan brought back Batman’s darker and realistic side by going back to Bruce Wayne’s roots to see how he became Batman.  We get to see how he obtained his many cool gadgets and why he chose a bat to be his symbol of fear to those who did evil.  We also witness how he found his path and train to be the Batman we all know and love.

Another characteristic that caught my attention was the conflict between being Bruce Wayne and Batman.  As Bruce Wayne, he has his late father’s reputation to retain, which he partially loses when his house is set aflame by the League of Shadows in retaliation for Bruce’s having destroyed the League’s mountain headquarters earlier in the film.  The Wayne family name lies solely with Bruce and it is his job to make sure that it is safe.  By losing his house, Bruce also loses part of what his father had worked so hard to build.

As Batman, his duty is to protect the good people of Gotham City and make sure justice is served.  Instead of having the feared prey on the fearful and having corruption prevent true justice, Batman tries to clean up the city.  He wants to induce fear into those who are evil and, thus, effectively stop them.  In short, he does what many of the corrupt and fearful citizens of Gotham won’t or can’t do.  He believes he can save the city from the mobsters and common criminals that dominate the streets.

To wrap, if you’re an avid reader of Batman comics or are a die-hard Batman movie fan, Batman Begins will not disappoint!

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