Friday, September 14, 2012

Ranking the Batman Movies: #3

3. Batman Begins
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Batman…Christian Bale
James Gordon…Gary Oldman
Alfred…Michael Caine
Lucius Fox…Morgan Freeman
Rachel Dawes…Katie Holmes
Henri Ducard…Liam Neeson
The Scarecrow…Cillian Murphy
Carmine Falcone…Tom Wilkinson

If the old Adam West TV show and movie ruined Batman’s rep, the epic failure that was Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin murdered it. Batfans were rabid for a more serious treatment of the character and his universe. Eight years after that debacle, director Christopher Nolan delivered the goods with this sparkling gem. While Tim Burton’s 1989 movie gave us the basics of how a man decides to dress up as a bat and fight crime, Nolan’s flick really digs deep into the matter. It has long been accepted that Bruce Wayne goes off to foreign lands for a number of years to train and then comes back to Gotham and becomes Batman. For the first time, we get to see what he experienced during his time abroad. As such, Batman Begins becomes much more a story about Bruce Wayne than Batman. Two other characters are also explored more fully than in any Batman movie before it: James Gordon and the city of Gotham herself. Gordon is elevated from a flat sideline player to a fully formed man and secretive partner of Batman. Gotham is a more fully realized, more unique place. We can feel the love that our characters have for her. What makes all of this work is that it’s plain ol’ good storytelling.

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