Thursday, August 08, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Batman Begins (2005) ****

PG-13, 140 min.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, Bob Kane (characters)
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Mark Boone Junior, Linus Roache, Larry Holden, Sara Stewart, Gus Lewis, Richard Brake, Rade Sherbedgia, Emma Lockhart

I’ve reviewed “Batman Begins” several times. Many feel that it is the best Batman movie ever made. Many feel that its sequel “The Dark Knight” is the best Batman movie ever made. I was of the former camp, but every time I watch “Batman Begins” the two movies close the gap on each other in my mind.

My only problem with the first of the Christopher Nolan trilogy originally was the somewhat typical climax with Batman fighting Ra’s Al Ghul on the train as it races toward the center of Gotham City. I felt it was well done, but somewhat beneath Ra’s Al Ghul as a villain. It smacked of a maniacal James Bond villain trying to destroy the world simply because that’s what the villain is supposed to do.

With the somewhat backwards morality of Ra’s, I suppose it sort of is a maniacal villain trying to destroy the world. In Ra’s ideals, to build it back up again with a stronger element of good within. Batman can’t get around the purity of Ra’s plan, because it doesn’t differentiate between those who are guilty of Gotham’s sin and those who are not. The fact the Ra’s can’t see the injustice of his justice is a result of his own particular insanity. That’s the same insanity that Batman’s actions boarder on, and therein lays the error of my initial judgment of Ra’s actions being typical.

Yes, they are typical for a criminal, which is what Ra’s is. The parallels between his ideals and Batman’s are what are important here. Batman draws a line. The entire trilogy is about where that line is and whether Batman draws it in the right place. This story with Ra’s in this first film is the perfect set up for such a study in the morality of justice. That being the case, it is an excellently crafted film by Nolan. It works on its own. It works even better as the first act of his study of Batman and the ideals for which he stands.

Read my original review here.

And last year's Penny Thoughts entry.

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