Opening 16 Jun 2005
Starring Christian Bale as Batman, director Christopher Nolan also brings Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman into the cast.
Batman Begins tells the tale of the child, witness to his parents murder; the young adult, searching for a meaning to his life; and the reconciled man who chooses a double life as business tycoon Bruce Wayne and Batman, the hero crime fighter.
A childhood fall down a bat-invested dry well brands Bruce for life with a fear of the flying rodent. Some time later at the opera, the dark performance stirs up disturbing memories, and he asks his parents to leave early. As they slip out the stage door, they are assaulted by a petty thief who, in a moment of panic, shoots both parents. Years later, after abandoning his studies, travelling the world, and living among criminals, Bruce finds himself training with Henri Ducard (Neeson) in a remote martial arts centre that belongs to a shadow society, whose mission through the millenia has been to purge the world of civilisations they consider decadent beyond hope of redemption. It is here that Bruce is confronted with guilt over his parents' death and where he makes the choice that defines his future.
Back in Gotham City, he begins his own mission to clean up the underground world of crime and corruption, finding direct and indirect support from various people: Alfred the butler (Caine), detective Jim Gordon (Oldman), inventor Lucius Fox (Freeman), and assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Holmes).
Batman Begins is a little slow at times during the first third, but developes impressively. The villains are not colourful, eccentric characters like the earlier movies, but dark and sinister; and Bruce Wayne's evolution is convincing. A touch more humour would have been appreciated! (Osanna Vaughn)