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MikeInMotion's Movie Reviews (23)

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Batman Begins 
Does it come in black?
3.5/4 stars

When a director is faced with the task of rebooting a franchise that ended in horrific fashion, their duty is both simple and difficult. On one hand, just about anybody could make a movie better than Batman & Robin. On the other hand, where do you go in terms of making the new franchise your own? Director Christopher Nolan lets fans know from the very beginning that his Batman is a much more dark and complex character, creating the most human portrayal of Batman yet.

We learn immediately that Bruce Wayne is terrified of bats. He fell down a well as a child, which caused the bats at the bottom to panic and swarm all around him. This moment in his childhood left a serious mark on his life, but not as serious as one that would soon follow. Bruce witnesses the murder of his parents, as they are leaving a theater, and suddenly his entire world his ripped to shreds.

These events lead Bruce to have a difficult upbringing. He desperately wants revenge against the man who killed his parents, to the point of obsession. However, this man is killed before he gets the chance to execute his plan, and this leads him to leave Gotham for several years to learn the ways of the criminal underworld. He trains under the watch of Raís al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows. Through training with Raís al Ghul, Bruce gets a greater understanding of the evil in the world, and the threat that Gotham is facing. As a result, he comes up with the idea to create a symbol that stands for justice in Gotham, a symbol that is incorruptible because it has no true identity, Batman.

Complexity is the name of the game when it comes to the world of Batman. Bruce Wayneís dark beginning is the gateway to everything that embodies his alter ego. He faces his pain and fear, overcomes it, and then uses it to strike fear into his enemies. Christian Bale plays Batman in this rebooted franchise, and it was a fantastic casting choice. He has the laid-back charm that Bruce Wayne always should have, but behind the charm is a very flawed and complex person. This is the most fleshed out Bruce Wayne that has ever been shown on the big-screen, and that helps this movie a lot. We can relate more to the characters problems, and thus the entire conflict becomes more compelling. As Batman, he is very intimidating, creating a character that is both righteous but also frightening.

Of course, Batman always gets a little help from his friends, and he has quite a few in this movie. Alfred (Michael Caine) was the man that was there for him when Bruceís parents were murdered, being the Wayne familyís Butler. Without Alfred, who knows what would have happened to Bruce Wayne. He is the sense of order and logic that Bruce Wayne needs in his life. Sgt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) is a cop in Gotham, and apparently the only one with a sense of right and wrong. With Gordonís help, Batman is able to make great strides in restoring Gotham to a respectable city. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) is the technical wizard of the movie, providing Bruce Wayne with all of the bells and whistles he needs to create the ultimate Batman.

The character that is most meaningful to Bruce is Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes). She grew up with him, and understands him more than anyone else could ever hope to. In Bruceís confusion growing up, he has trouble deciding what it is he wants for himself, and as a result, the romantic interest between Bruce and Rachel is always just a possibility and never a probability. Bruce knows that he must protect the ones he loves, but by doing that he must also deny them the emotional attachment they require. Itís the ultimate flaw of any superhero, but in this film itís especially crushing. All of the traumatic events in his childhood left some serious wounds, and not being able to have someone close to help him move on from that is terribly sad.

Christopher Nolan crafted a film that is not only an engaging comic book film, but a comic book film that is very much rooted in reality. It is one where a man dressed as a Bat and fighting crime no longer just seems cool, but completely believable. The city he fights for could very well be your city, just under a different name. Itís rare for a comic book film to not be hampered with a plot that is not only improbable, but absurd. With this film, everything is given enough detail so that you can definitely relate to it and see it happening in real life. Itís this attention to detail that breathes life into Batman Begins and makes it one of the finest superhero films yet, and a fantastic beginning for the Nolan era of Batman.

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