Batman Begins: the start to the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. Most people would choose The Dark Knight as their favorite of the tree, including myself, but we would we would not have Dark Knight if it weren't for the success of Batman Begins. Now if Dark Knight is the best of the trilogy, then is Batman Begins in second place?
Let's explore that further by first talking about the actors in the film. Actually, I should first explain that I've never read any superhero comics. So, I am critiquing this solely as a movie. With that in mind, I do think Christian Bale is suited (no pun intended) to play the Bruce Wayne of Nolan's story. He is a man filled with the grief and guilt of his parents' murder, which drives him to become the masked man who faces the gritty crime lords of Gotham City. So no one would suspect his superhero identity, Bruce puts on the act of being a billionaire playboy (a la Tony Stark aka Iron Man). Christian fits in the billionaire playing the menacing caped crusader. I'll admit though, I see why some people make fun of the voice. It's not always bad, but the "I'm Batman" line did made me chuckle a bit. Batman parodies online is probably what did it for me, but still the voice you'll find either find bad ass or over the top.
I was not liking Katie Holmes as Bruce's love interest, Rachel Dawes. The character herself is actually decent. I just didn't believe Holmes to be the tough- girl lawyer who also seeks justice. Her and Christian didn't have much chemistry together. In fact, they seemed awkward with each other. Cillian Murphy as the villain Scarecrow was hit and miss. At times, his performance seemed too slimy and corny, and other times it was fun to watch him be villainous. And people want their Batman villains to be fun and scary to watch, right? Maybe, I just prefer him as a comic book style villain rather than a ordinary person like he appeared to be at first. Veteran actors, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were great as Alfred and Lucious Fox as well as Liam Neeson as the other villain, Ra's Al Ghul.
There's no doubt that Christopher Nolan has talent as a director. He wasn't that well known until the Dark Knight trilogy. This first film is what boosted his career and Dark Knight cemented it. The cinematography is stunning, even if it is dark and gritty. The special effects were good especially when he needed thousands of bats to be flying around in a scene. Nolan also had his hand in the writing along with frequent collaborator, David S. Goyer. The writing was decent, but I had a problem with the overall pacing of the story. I know it is called Batman Begins (emphasis on begins) and Bruce's backstory has to be established. However, the flashbacks made the beginning of the movie feel slow. I was just waiting for nearly twenty or thirty minutes for Bruce to stop training, come back to Gotham City, and finally become crime fighting Batman. At least that pace picks up once the action starts.
The music was done by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. Together they created a beautiful and epic soundtrack for the film.
So, overall this movie is worth the watch. to answer my question from earlier: is Batman Begins second to The Dark Knight? Yes. I'll explain some other time why The Dark Knight Rises is my least favorite. If you want to see your superhero fly out of the shadows and kick ass, and of course see how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, this is the flick for you.