Stephen Speicher

Batman Begins (2005)

Rate this movie   41 votes

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27 posts in this topic

SPOILER WARNING: You may not want to read what I have to say.

I literally just got back from watching this film and I'm not quite sure what to say about it: it is definitely NOT the Batman movie I was expecting. To my disappointment, I thought there was a huge amount of morally/philosophically loaded ideas piled into the movie. From the first viewing for example, it looks as if Pragmatist-based morality has been aligned with practical and effective justice, where as Idealist-based morality has been aligned with compassionate-based justice. I admit though that I am extremely tired at the moment I am typing this, and I could quite easily be wrong in my interpretation of the movie.

I think the original Batman still rules the roost.

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I thought the movie was, barring a few bad lines of dialogue and a poorly-managed romantic finale, very, very good. Go see it.

I never bought Michael Keaton or George Clooney as Batman. Batman is supposed to be a young-to-middle-aged man with dark hair and classic movie-star/old-money looks. Kilmer had some of the look and personality that the role required, but none of the earlier films captured the mystery or the menace of the comics.

Now, Chris Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) and the previously-underestimated Christian Bale (Equilibrium, Reign of Fire, Shaft) have managed to make a film worthy of Batman, a film where the uncompromising, though sometimes brutal hero, the Dark Knight, is the star of the story.

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It's a very good movie, the best Batman movie yet by far.

It's theme (and how refreshing it is for a Batman movie, or any movie, to have a theme) is: before you can fight your enemies, you have to confront your own fears and weaknesses.

The movie is well-made, and besides a few altrusitic/socialistic hints (Bruce Wayne's father was a big businessman, but what he REALLY cared for were the poor and the needy), it is thoroughly enjoyable.

That, without even mentioning the cool Batman gizmos and the story behind them. :D

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I just saw Batman Begins for Daddy's Day, and I must say I was a bit overwhelmed. I went in expecting (hoping for?) a decent movie, but I came out thinking this film is great. It has one terrific story; intelligent and dramatic. Marvelous acting all around. Chris Nolan really impressed me with Memento, but this is a BIG picture and his directing abilities clearly shine in this Batman film. A real treat.

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I thought the movie was a 9. The only parts I did not like were a few of the fighting scenes that were confusing, because of excessive camera movement. :D

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Wow! Very impressive. By far the best Batman movie. I completely bought the story, cared about the hero's fate, enjoyed the special effects (rare these days for me), etc.

One big flaw: I didn't buy Katie Holmes at all as the love interest. She seems way to young-girl-cute to be an equal to the "Dark Knight." When the camera moves in for her first kiss, I immediately thought of her character Joey from "Dawson's Creek." I was immediately tempted to sing out loud that annoying "I Don't Want to Wait" song from that TV show.

I really don't get the casting choice here. There are plenty of good looking actresses that come off as more mature.

That aside, I was blown away. Nice little touches. A rollercoaster plot. Good dialogue (not great, but better than normal).

My score: 9

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I also gave it a 9. I was truly impressed, this is the best comic book based movie ever made.

I'm wondering, was this an 'original' Batman story (the part about his ninja-like origins), or was it based on a comic book storyline?

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One big flaw: I didn't buy Katie Holmes at all as the love interest....

I really don't get the casting choice here.  There are plenty of good looking actresses that come off as more mature.

I have to agree that Katie Holmes was a poor choice for that role. However, I do not think that the issue was lack of maturity as much as it was lack of strength. A strong, yet feminine character was needed to play against Batman.

And, speaking of the acting of the supporting characters ... Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were great (as were their lines) as was Gary Oldman, who so often steals the show. But Liam Neeson, who ever since Rob Roy has been one of my favorite actors, was just incredible.

I really love this movie and I plan on seeing it again, real soon.

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One big flaw: I didn't buy Katie Holmes at all as the love interest....

I really don't get the casting choice here.  There are plenty of good looking actresses that come off as more mature.

I have to agree that Katie Holmes was a poor choice for that role. However, I do not think that the issue was lack of maturity as much as it was lack of strength. A strong, yet feminine character was needed to play against Batman.

And, speaking of the acting of the supporting characters ... Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were great (as were their lines) as was Gary Oldman, who so often steals the show. But Liam Neeson, who ever since Rob Roy has been one of my favorite actors, was just incredible.

I really love this movie and I plan on seeing it again, real soon.

I absolutely agree that Katie Holmes didn't play well against Bale, who is a very intense, dominant type.

I saw it a second time on Saturday. Neeson's lines, especially in one scene near the beginning, leave the realm of dialogue into poetry.

While I thought Neeson (whose career I've followed since his appearance in the movie adaptation of novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance) was utterly magnificent, I have come to expect such quality work from him. His voice in the trailers for Kingdom of Heaven("...a kingdom of conscience") still rings in my ears.

I thought Oldman - as the honest, cautious detective - and Freeman were really good and believable.

But, the cake went to Tom Wilkinson, the British actor, whose mob boss accent was a tremendous surprise!

I have many favorite lines and scenes from that movie - much of it was in thorough agreement with my soul. Please, few good men in Hollywood, give us more... :D:D

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I have to agree that Katie Holmes was a poor choice for that role. However, I do not think that the issue was lack of maturity as much as it was lack of strength. A strong, yet feminine character was needed to play against Batman.

That's what I meant: she needed to be a woman, not a girl, and physically, Katie Holmes comes across as very young. I couldn't get past that throughout the movie.

Still, that's the biggest flaw in an otherwise amazing movie. Why couldn't Spider Man have been this good?

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I have to agree that Katie Holmes was a poor choice for that role. However, I do not think that the issue was lack of maturity as much as it was lack of strength. A strong, yet feminine character was needed to play against Batman.

That's what I meant: she needed to be a woman, not a girl, and physically, Katie Holmes comes across as very young. I couldn't get past that throughout the movie.

They also considered Natalie Portman and Sarah Michelle Gellar for the role, either of whom would have been much better. Note that Gellar is still "girlish" in appearance, but can be a very strong character (Go Buffy!). Another choice for a "girlish" actress who can project real strength of character, is Kristen Bell. That is just the role she plays in the TV show Veronica Mars ( a show I really enjoy, by the way).

Still, that's the biggest flaw in an otherwise amazing movie.  Why couldn't Spider Man have been this good?

Aside from writing, directing, and acting, I don't know. :D

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I loved it too. I'm a fan of the comic book, and this is the best adaptation by far. It obviously looks at Frank Miller's renditions (most notably "Batman - Year One"), and it's very believable.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

The car in particular looks great (although I don't like the gymnastic the pilot goes through to be able to fire the weapon system).

All the actors were great, the story was great, and even the props were on the right side of believability.

I'm actually hoping for a sequel here...

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Well as for me, I did like the movie but was a bit surprised. After all, the movie is a bit disturbing, and even Batman's own face sometimes just gets distorted, even though it's in his righteous anger. I always look to the first two Batmans, where Bruce Wayne was mysterious, maybe a bit unsettled inside, but always suave and under control. The latest Bruce Wayne seems to me more like a good-guy psycho, all smiley out in society, but deep inside a raging maniac, almost willing to tear up bad guys limb by limb. And he doesn't care much for business in general, and for running Wayne Enterprises himself in particular, whereas the original Batman at least gave a hint that he was a businessman as well. I'm not that familiar with the comics and the extensive backstory for Batman, so maybe someone else can fill me in about what Batman really is like, and whether he's a businessman or not after all.

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-----Mini Spoilers-----

And he doesn't care much for business in general, and for running Wayne Enterprises himself in particular, whereas the original Batman at least gave a hint that he was a businessman as well.

I would suggest that you watch the end of the movie again, and pay special attention to the part where Bruce deals with all of that "complicated" stock buyout and places Fox as the head of the company!

:D

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

Well as for me, I did like the movie but was a bit surprised. After all, the movie is a bit disturbing, and even Batman's own face sometimes just gets distorted, even though it's in his righteous anger.

Yes, that camera-shaking when he tells the hoisted, crooked cop to "Don't swear to God, swear to me!" is part of the comic book's menace. Batman is not a nice-guy superhero. He's the ultimate cop: so forceful that the sheer mention of his name strikes terror in the hearts of evil men.

I always look to the first two Batmans, where Bruce Wayne was mysterious, maybe a bit unsettled inside, but always suave and under control. The latest Bruce Wayne seems to me more like a good-guy psycho, all smiley out in society, but deep inside a raging maniac, almost willing to tear up bad guys limb by limb.

No, this is not an accurate assessment. Allow me to provide some context.

Try to remember the whole of the story: this man's parents were murdered. The murderer was eventually killed, but evil still stalked the land.

Imagine if you knew that the fellow standing next to you, as you read this post, was a corrupt fellow who had murdered innocent people or been party to such murder. How would you view him? What kind of feeling would course through you as you contemplated him? Would you view him dispassionately as having murdered someone not related or close to you? Or you would you feel utter revulsion? If revulsion, allow that you had been personally affected by this fellow or his ilk -- would your soul cry out for justice to be done to this bad person, or would you shrug and say "That's life." ?

Now, to compound matters, consider that you had chosen crime-fighting as a career. We know, by observation and from experience, that most people's career choices are conditioned by their early experiences and choices. Wayne saw, in his meting with Franconi, that he was the only person able to stop the bad people in Gotham City, such as the man who'd killed his parents. He then embarked on an 8-year study of the nature of evil. In other words, he taught himself how to fight crime.

Can you imagine pursuing this career - any career - without being passionate about it? If not, then it shouldn't be surprising that his work as Batman brought out the passionate crime-fighter in him. The essence of crime-fighting is the essence of government: the use of force in protection of individual rights. If Wayne seemed disturbing, he was meant to be: fighting evil is not a picnic. Just ask any policeman, judge, or soldier.

And he doesn't care much for business in general, and for running Wayne Enterprises himself in particular, whereas the original Batman at least gave a hint that he was a businessman as well. I'm not that familiar with the comics and the extensive backstory for Batman, so maybe someone else can fill me in about what Batman really is like, and whether he's a businessman or not after all.

JRoberts has already given you some context. But, focusing on his business side would not have been pertinent to the plot anyway.

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-- mini spoiler --

I did not miss any part of the end, and I remember the 'takeover' part very clearly. That part of the story only underlines the main point here, that he didn't really care for it and assigned someone else to run his father's business. Plus his father did not really care for the business anyway, and much preferred to just be a simple doctor, and have his company build public charity railroards.

So that's what I'm asking about in terms of the comics/backstory: is the "real" Batman a businessman in part, or was he accurately portrayed in the latest movie?

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***********SPOILERS**********

-- mini spoiler --

I did not miss any part of the end, and I remember the 'takeover' part very clearly. That part of the story only underlines the main point here, that he didn't really care for it and assigned someone else to run his father's business. Plus his father did not really care for the business anyway, and much preferred to just be a simple doctor, and have his company build public charity railroards.

The man did not "have his company build public charity railroads" in the sense conveyed (though not necessarily intended) by your expression here. There was a depression, if I recall correctly, and his father built the railroad to "unite the city," we are told. I am the last person one could call a charity-defender, but I understood the spirit in which Wayne Sr. meant the gesture.

So that's what I'm asking about in terms of the comics/backstory: is the "real" Batman a businessman in part, or was he accurately portrayed in the latest movie?

This link provides some comic book context.

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The man did not "have his company build public charity railroads" in the sense conveyed (though not necessarily intended) by your expression here.  There was a depression, if I recall correctly, and his father built the railroad to "unite the city," we are told.

But I think the sentiment of the film-makes is unmistakably in support of altruism here. I know you may have liked the movie but that doesn't change the nature of the hero they presented. Alfred tells Bruce that building the monorail almost bankrupted the Waynes and as FreeCapitalist pointed out, Bruce's father was not running his business, hired executives were. He was more interested in being a doctor. The model they use here seems to be that of the benevolent philanthropist "Captain of Industry" type where what really made the rich man great was his charity not his industriousness.

As for Bruce Wayne's interest in business, while it has been a while since I have read comics, I can recall from reading many versions of the Batman, including Frank Miller's (which is probably the best), that Bruce was never depicted as being tremendously interested in business. Actually, one could say that he really was Batman and the true costume was the business suit. His being a businessman was never integral to his character but only really a plot device.

For a comic character whose business acumen was more integral to his moral stature, I would reccommend Iron Man. Tony Stark (Iron Man) started from nothing and built Stark Enterprises into a billion dollar company. He also designed and manufactured his Iron Man suit. In essence, his powers were created by his intellect, not by a radioactive spider or some such. It was a good comic, although not as dark and intriguing as 'The Batman'.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

But I think the sentiment of the film-makes is unmistakably in support of altruism here. I know you may have liked the movie but that doesn't change the nature of the hero they presented. Alfred tells Bruce that building the monorail almost bankrupted the Waynes and as FreeCapitalist pointed out, Bruce's father was not running his business, hired executives were. He was more interested in being a doctor. The model they use here seems to be that of the benevolent philanthropist "Captain of Industry" type where what really made the rich man great was his charity not his industriousness.

By the word "hero, "are you referring to Bruce Wayne or to his father?

If Wayne Snr., then I will say that we were not told enough about the circumstances of his railroad construction to care too deeply about his supposed altruism. Ducard tells us that he had tried to destroy Gotham economically but had not reckoned with Wayne Snr. What kind of economic weapon was used? we do not know. The circumstances of that conflict are left vague enough for us to not get involved on a philosophical, as opposed to an esthetic, level.

Yes, there was some emphasis on "charities," but the fact that Alfred mentioned the near-bankruptcy of Wayne Enterprises by Wayne Snr., in his fight against Ducard's "economic" machinations, shows that the screenwriters were cognizant of the importance of private property.

Whatever the case, if anyone could come out of this movie and have altruism (the sacrifice of the best to the worst, of the individual to the collective) on the brain, then I don't know which movie they were watching.

But, we can disagree about these things: some rational values are optional.

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I hope there will be another Batman because it was an awesome movie and at the end it left me hanging with the Joker card. B)

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I finally saw Batman Begins today. It was the best Batman film I have seen so far as well.

Michael Caine did an excellent job as Alfred! I liked Christian Bale as Batman very much. The only part about the story that I didn't quite get was at the end when Rachel told Bruce that she loved the "old" Bruce. I'll have to think about that for a bit.

But I did really like the messages about developing yourself, overcoming your fears and understanding the difference between revenge and justice.

I gave it an 8. :D

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And, speaking of the acting of the supporting characters ... Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were great (as were their lines) as was Gary Oldman, who so often steals the show. But Liam Neeson, who ever since Rob Roy has been one of my favorite actors, was just incredible.

Oh yes, how could I forget to mention Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman! Liam Neeson too - excellent supporting actors!

Gary Oldman is one of my all time favorites. I wondered if he'd been typecast after Dracula (1992) because I hadn't seen him in much until recent years. If he had been typecast - he's definitely broken out of it!

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Gary Oldman is one of my all time favorites.  I wondered if he'd been typecast after Dracula (1992) because I hadn't seen him in much until recent years.  If he had been typecast - he's definitely broken out of it!

Oldman has had at least one film, often two, every year since Dracula. Some of my favorite performances by him were in The Professional (1994), Immortal Beloved (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), and The Contender (2000). I consider Oldman a great actor.

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Oldman has had at least one film, often two,  every year since Dracula. Some of my favorite performances by him were in The Professional (1994), Immortal Beloved (1994)The Fifth Element (1997), and The Contender (2000). I consider Oldman a great actor.

Ah yes, I forgot about Immortal Beloved (for shame because I love that movie!).

I will need to rent the others. Thanks! :D

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