In this film we get to see just how it was that Bruce Wayne becomes the bat that we all know and love, unless you are a criminal that is. We also see just how it is that Gordon becomes Police Commissioner of Gotham City. This is by far one of the best hero beginnings film of Batman to date. This one has a depth that has not been seen before in other films and takes a more serious look at the character and those that are around him. We also get to see just how much Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) actually loved his charge. This one film helped to reboot the franchise that many thought not possible.
Those who grew up reading the DC Comics of Batman and watched the TV show and the animated shows know all too well just how corny all those shows could get. They never really touched on just how dark things can get nor do they really touch on how deep into darkness Bruce went before becoming Batman. Only the comics from Dark Horse really explored that aspect and they were definitely not for children. This film keeps the charm from the past and adds in the grittiness that we know was needed to create the image of the bat and how it struck fear into the hearts of criminals in Gotham.
While playing with Rachel Dawes (Emma Lockhart) as a child Bruce (Gus Lewis) falls into an old well near the gardens on the Wayne estate. The well was boarded up as it had run dry many many years ago. At the bottom of it the young Bruce found a crack in the rock wall and while looking into it hundreds, it seemed, of bats flew out at him and up out the boards he had fallen though. This left him with a fear of bats so profound that in a strange way caused the death of his parents. The reason I say this is that a few days or weeks later, we really don’t know how long, he and his parents went to see an opera in Gotham. There the opera included actors that were dressed as bats and swinging back and forth to look like a flock of them flying about. This cause the young Bruce to want to get out. His father, Thomas Wayne (Linus Roache) seeing the fear and pain on his sons face took his family out side by a side entrance. It was there that Bruce watched his family murdered right in front of him.
The death of his parents left Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) scarred in ways people never noticed. Bruce was so hurt and angry that it affected his school life and his social life to the point that he actually was planning on killing his parents killer. Someone else took even that away from him, leaving an even bigger hole in him with no way to get the revenge that he wanted and felt he needed to get on with his life. It was Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), now a Assistant DA, to make him see himself and show him that it is just not him hurting but all of Gotham as well. To prove her point she took him to where Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) stayed and kicked him out and left. Bruce walked right in with no fear at all, just anger to confront the man that had Joe Chill killed. It was that meeting that showed Bruce just how wrong he was about crime and the people that were involved in it.
It is amazing the details that went into this film, even down to the monastery that Bruce winds up to study with the League of Shadows and Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) who he finds out later is the real Ra’s Al Ghul. Props, models and camera angles were all used so that as little CGI was used in the film as possible. This made the film look more “Real” and more alive then just a film that uses the computer for all of the action effects. It is the use of characters other then just the actors that really bring a film to life and make it so that it will stick with a person.
If you want the perfect beginnings story for Batman I don’t think you are going to find one better then Batman Begins from director Christopher Nolan. Nothing against Tim Burton but this version of The Bat is better then the one that he came up with.
I give this film a Musing review of