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Fire at Will!'s Review

Created Aug 24, 2008 05:32AM PST • Edited Aug 24, 2008 05:32AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Whilst this is a review written in retrospect after seeing “The Dark Knight”, I felt compelled to review “Begins” simply because it is the reason we have such a good film in “Knight”. Kick-starting the Batman movie machine with realism, seriousness and a heavy dose of action, Chris Nolan came seemingly out of nowhere to give us one of the most underrated superhero films yet made. Doing exactly as its name suggests, Batman’s beginnings are presented and portrayed expertly on-screen for the first time, and the memories (or nightmares) of the Schumacher films from the ’90s are a distant, forgotten mistake.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    Christian Bale really came up on Hollywood’s radar with this film, playing his self-expressed dream role, and his ability to play as both aspects of the character’s personality give him a real believability as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The rest of the cast tries to match up, but only Caine, Freeman and Neeson get anywhere near, Bale dominating the film (as he should), and the others only really able to play as support.

  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5

    Bale is in no doubt the star here, and as said above, he is the best actor in this movie. And rightfully so; it’s Batman’s beginnings, not anyone else’s. Unlike other recent superhero films (at least until “Iron Man”) the hero’s path is trodden by an actor that almost seems too good for these sort of blockbuster movies. Bale has changed that now, and has shown that for all the history and ridiculousness of superheroes, they can be taken seriously as characters.

  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5

    Katie Holmes doesn’t really do as badly as she has said to have done. Before she joined Cult Cruise, she proved here that she could act on the big screen, and it’s a shame she didn’t come back for the sequel for continuity. However, she’s nothing amazingly special in terms of performance, just not the abomination that everyone seems to think she was!

  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5

    Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson…These guys could actually (and have) headlined their own movies, but Nolan utilises them as support for Bale, and this gives the film that extra class, that little bit more respectability. If you can afford to get these actors to play second fiddle in a superhero film, then you’re truly onto a winner. Nolan only managed to top this supporting cast with that of “Knight”, and many returned anyway.

  8. Very Good 3.5

    With only his second Hollywood movie, Chris Nolan proves that experience is not a pre-requisite for class in the movies. Making the story of a vigilante dressed as a bat iinto a serious and realistic piece of film is no mean feat, but he achieves it through the brooding sets and contemporary setting. Having two world-class conductors work on your soundtrack can’t hurt either.

  9. Direction Great 4.0

    With this following “Memento”, and “The Prestige” and “The Dark Knight”, Nolan has made a string of fantastic and well-made films in the last ten years, and with “Begins” marking his entrance into blockbuster (and mainstream) territory, it can only be a matter of time before he helms an Oscar-winning movie. His believable vision of Batman and Gotham mark him as far better than Burton or Schumacher, but then he would not have paid attention to them, as this is his vision, and one which seems to be in fitting with that of the Batman of the comics.

  10. Play Very Good 3.5

    The only thing wrong with the dialogue in this film (and “Knight”) that I could find was Batman’s voice. No explanation for it (though I can understand Wayne wants no-one to know it’s him) and it becomes more and more grating the longer that you listen to it!

  11. Music Great 4.0

    Newton Howard and Zimmer combine efforts to make a really interesting soundtrack here. No amazing superhero theme as we’ve come to expect, but then it appears that comic book films are trying to become serious, and not so jaunty as they once may have been. The music here is fantastic though, with the quiet, dramatic scenes cleverly counterbalanced with the bombastic fight scenes. You will have more than likely heard some of the themes on other film trailers or on television, and that’s always a sign that a soundtrack is well appreciated!

  12. Visuals Great 4.0

    Gotham City appears not as a Gothic New York, or an Art-Deco nightmare, but as Chicago mixed with Hong Kong. Grounding your concept of a fictional city in reality (along with the rest of the film) allows Nolan to make the action and events of the film feel like they have happened in a real city, as opposed to a sound stage. The CGI does distract, but is used when the physical cannot portray what the filmmaker needs, not as an excuse.

  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.5

    There’s brutality, and also disturbing images when the Scarecrow (Murphy) uses his fear toxin to horrific effect. Basically, as violent and as shocking as you can get with a film aimed at kids and adults, which is not that much.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.0
  18. Glib 1.7

    One of the biggest successes of this film is the grittiness and realism with which the Batman is presented. His origins and execution of his vigilante plans are that grounded that you do wonder what would happen if a billionaire suddenly got this kind of motivation and conscientious objection to crime. It makes the idea of a masked vigilante in today’s society appear to be that much closer to reality!

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.7
  20. Biological Glib 1.7
  21. Physical Glib 1.7


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