The Darkest and the Best Batman Ever! (SPOILERS!!!)

Director: Christopher Nolan Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Creator: Bob Kane

Movie Cast: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe & Rutger Hauer

Finally, a movie that remained truthful and did justice to the vision of Bob Kane’s beloved and enigmatic creation. Even Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns could not be matched with what Christopher Nolan had done here with Batman Begins. And of course, let’s not even compare it with the utterly forgettable and ultra campy versions of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forver and Batman & Robin.

Nolan’s is by far the best of the lot and stayed true to the dark and gritty nature of the comic books. Nolan is one of the rising crop of talented young directors who made a name of himself in the indie movie circuit with excellent hits like Memento and Imsomnia before branching out into the mainstream. Warner Bro. could not have picked a better director in Nolan.

The movie opens with Bruce Wayne (Bale) incarcerated in an Asian country for crimes committed as part of his research into the criminal mind and heart. Often picked on (most likely due to the fact that he is the only Mat Salleh there), Wayne found freedom in the mysterious Henri Ducard (Neeson in his first villain role) who belongs to the enigmatic League of Shadows, who proclaimed to be humanity’s guardian of righteousness by way of destroying corrupted civilisations – “We burned London to the ground. We brought Rome on its knees!”

Appointing himself mentor (Neeson’s roles of late have seen him mentoring various characters) with the hopes of using him to lead the League of Shadows in purging Gotham City of evil, Ducard trained Wayne on how to use his fear and turn it against his enemies. “To overcome fear, you must become fear itself!” proclaimed Ducard. (More like “to overcome your fear of bats, you must be THE bat!”)

However, when forced to kill a criminal, Wayne refuses to stoop to the level of a criminal and turned against his trainers before returning to Gotham City to begin his journey as the Caped Crusader… Batman! Along the way, his ever faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Caine) provided the encouragement and support that Wayne needed as well as a few words of wisdom. Caine was a delight to watch as Alfred and has some of the movie’s best lines besides providing the audience a chance to catch a breather from the tense moments of the film.

Nolan gave Wayne’s transition into Batman a certain level of plausibility as he slowly perfects and masters his role with the aid of scientist Lucius Fox (Freeman), an outcast member of Wayne Enterprise’s directors. The inclusion of Fox also makes Wayne’s evolution into Batman more believable, with him being the source of all of Batman’s nifty gadgets – from the lightweight cape that enables him to glide through the air to grappling hooks and the Batsuit as well as the Batmobile, which goes by the name Tumbler! Image hosted by Photobucket.com Don’t know about you but the Batmobile is the best of all Batmobiles I have seen on the silver screen. It fits the edgier, more brutal and tougher Batman. And it has to be every man’s wet dream!

Gadgetry and Batmobiles aside, Wayne/Batman slowly began to take on the ruthless crime lord Carmine Falcone (Wilkinson), only to discover that Falcone was just a puppet behind a much more diabolical plot to destroy Gotham City. Instead of going for the more popular Bat foes in the comic, Nolan settled for Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Murphy) who is no less evil and crazy. Wielding a powerful hallucinogen drug that is similar to LSD, Scarecrow is certainly not to be messed around with.

I simply love everything about this movie. From the Narrows to the progress of the plot to the minimal special effects (Nolan hates CGI thus avoiding it completely in this movie), everything about the movie have an artistic touch to it. And because there are no CGI effects, it becomes much more real. When Batman jumps of a building, he definitely jumped off the building. The most special effects in the film is the climax, where Lt Gordon (Oldman) blows away Gotham City’s monorail system with the Batmobile. It was one of the most spectacular scenes involving trains I have ever seen.

What made this movie work, as I had mentioned before, was Nolan and his vision of how the Bat should take form. He is also well-known to get the best out of his actors and we can see here that he certainly did with Bale believably portraying the angry, hungry for revenge billionaire turned masked vigilante. It was also a good idea for Nolan to change Bale’s voice when he becomes Batman. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I believe that this movie would have won over a new generation of Batman fans and the long-suffering fans who have been waiting for the true portrayal of the hero can now breathe much easier. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to the sequel, knowing who the next diabolical villain would be.

All images are copyright protected and are available here – http://www.batmannews.de/gotham_city_central/flugelheim_museum/flugelheim_museum_bb_001.html

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