Release year: 2005
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriter: David S: Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Bob Kane (characters)
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best cinematography. 3 Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Writing
After loosing his parents as a child, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) relocates to Asia unable to live with his past. Here he is picked up by Ducard (Liam Neeson) who trains him to fight evil and overcome his fears. Wayne returns to his hometown Gotham, set on taking hte city back from the hands of the criminals it has fallen in to. Adopting the image of the bats that used to frighten him and with the aid of long time friend and guardian Alfred (Michael Caine) Wayne creates his alter ego: Batman.
If you ask people who played Batman chances are the answer will be Christian Bale (American Hustle, 2013). Though many have played the Caped Crusader noone has managed to blend in to him and make him their own in quite the same way as Bale, who actually managed to capture him to such a perfection that the Bruce Wayne part of the character became the mask that Batman wore. The movie gives a deliciously believable yet fantastic bid on the life of Bruce Wayne between his parents death and the moment he takes on the cape, and while Wayne is reckless, arrogant and overbold he is also almost impossible not to like. This is mainly due to the tender relationship between Wayne and Alfred, played by a brilliant and extremely well-casted Caine (Interstellar, 2014), that lets us see the wounded softer side to the man. As Wayne is pushed to his limits, we watch him slowly develop into the hero that Gotham needs and the talented and charismatic performance delivered by Bale makes the journey enjoyable, though never as enjoyable as when he puts on the suit the first time. Gone is the nipples and yellow touches, making place for a more lean mean suit, heavily inspired by advanced military equipment, creating a suit capeable of making an impact. The same goes for the Batmobil, which mostly resembles a tank, all adding to the gritty and more realistic tone of the movie that finally managed to bring the comic superhero in to the ‘real world’. Besides making a beautiful crafted action movie with action sequences that will satisfy most, Nolan has made the clever decision to surround Bale with some of the best character actors in the business. Besides Caine there is Neeson (Taken 2008) in a small but signifcant part as the man who gives Bruce the training he needs to become Batman and Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 2011) impresses as the righteous Gordon. The strong performances directed with a sure hand by one of the best directors of our time makes this an unmissable watch wether you are a fan of superheros or not.
The last movie Christian Bale shot before Batman Begins was The Machinist (2004) where he played an extremely underweight character. He was told by Christopher Nolan to become as big as possible to play Batman and after 6 months of training and diet he had put on so much muscle weight (about 100 pound) that he looked to big, forcing him to quickly shed about 20 pounds for a leaner look.
Picture copyright: SF Films