A bold and brilliant superhero movie, Batman Begins is the best outing ever for the Caped Crusader. Officially Batman 5, it reboots the franchise, going back to the birth of the Bat. Christian Bale stars as millionaire orphan Bruce Wayne, recruited by the mysterious Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) to join vigilante ring The League Of Shadows. But while their ninja training comes in handy, Wayne has his own ideas about combating crime. And they involve a bit of fancy dress...
Styling himself as "something elemental, something terrifying" Wayne uses his company's cutting edge technology to fashion a fearsome masked vigilante. Fear is the film's theme: confronting it, conquering it and using it. It is Batman's greatest weapon, but also that of Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), one of Gotham's many enemies.
"THE FRANCHISE IS REBORN"
Murphy is superb as the chilling villain, but then Memento director Christopher Nolan has smartly stocked his picture with excellent, established actors: Michael Caine as Wayne's wise butler Alfred, Morgan Freeman as his business ally Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as Batman's weary friend Detective Gordon.
While the film is far from po-faced, Nolan takes the material seriously, nailing the emotion in the story of a damaged child who grows up to work out his demons through violent retribution. Bale plays Wayne as a wounded, determined human and Batman as a raging, relentless beast. Influenced by Frank Miller's seminal comic Batman: Year One, this is easily the most engrossing and faithful screen adaptation of his adventures. It is also the most intelligent and entertaining. The franchise is reborn. Embrace the Dark Knight's return.