One must look at our pasts to comprehend why we are who we are today. The roots of our personalities can be traced through the paths our lives have taken. Certain actions and events can ripple through until many years into the future.
Batman Begins is the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman debut. We ride along with Nolan as he takes us back to the origins of The Caped Crusader. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels from Gotham, watching his parents murdered when he was only a child, to the mountains of the east, where The League of Shadows and Ra’s Ah Ghul (Liam Neeson) await. There, Wayne learns the way of the ninja, then takes those skills back to Gotham in an attempt save the city from the rise of crime headed by mob boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) and esteemed psychologist Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy).
This movie serves as a coming of age tale for The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne matures from a bitter, revenge-minded young man to the hero that Gotham needs. It takes a beating from his master, Ra’s Ah Ghul, a few tense moments with his butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), and a couple of rough slaps from his childhood friend, Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), but the lessons serve their purpose. Bale’s pain comes through in his performance and gives Batman the depth that he may have lacked in earlier installments.
Action, adventure, romance, and suspense – Batman Begins has it all. But let’s not forget the kind of cast it takes to make a story so memorable. Along with those mentioned above, Gary Oldman plays Jim Gordon with much more finesse than any of his predecessors. Working with a storyline that reveals itself at an effective pace, how could this cast go wrong?
Origin stories, which the first half of Batman Begins is, are very hard to pull off in an entertaining manner. Why? Because the fans already know the end result. However, with Bale’s performance and Nolan’s direction, Batman Begins successfully tells a very familiar layer of the DC Comics skyscraper in a way that still manages to be surprising and uplifting.
Christopher Nolan has given us a courageous look into the past of Bruce Wayne. Through this, we are able to comprehend who Batman is and why he sacrifices so much for a life of crime fighting. Bruce Wayne could easily sit back, relax, and enjoy the billions of dollars left to him by his father. However, he chooses to become something else – in the powerful words of Liam Neeson, “A legend, Mr. Wayne. A legend.”