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Logline: After training with his mentor, Bruce Wayne takes on the persona of Batman to take on the crime and corruption that has plagued Gotham City.

Review: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins breathes new life into a dead franchise and tells Batman’s long overdue origin story on film.  For the first time since the Dark Knight appeared on the silver screen, the focus is on Batman himself rather than his enemies.

It is clear from the opening scene that Nolan and everyone involved with the film has a reverence for the character.  Batman Begins is incredibly faithful to Batman’s mythology and gives the character a tremendous amount of depth.  The dark, realistic tone suits the film.  Even those who are not Batman fans will appreciate Batman Begins because it such a well-made film.

Batman Begins is perfectly cast.  Christian Bale is great as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  More so than any of the other actors who have portrayed the Dark Knight, Bale is able to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman.  In supporting roles, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson, and Rutger Hauer are all great.  Even Katie Holmes is very good and is anything but the damsel in distress.  She plays a strong female character. One minor complaint is that Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow is underutilized and is not given a proper ending.

The fight scenes in the film are well choreographed and believable.  Frequent Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer provides a strong score that befits the tone of the film perfectly.  The ending promises a sequel in which Batman will face his greatest enemy, The Joker.  I recall watching this in the theater and being so excited to see the following installment.

Batman Begins brings a legendary character back to his roots.  This is the Batman movie that many had been waiting for and it does not disappoint.

Rating (out of ****): ***1/2