Batman Begins, a Return to Darkness

For serious fans, Batman has become a laughing joke. If memories of Adam West in awful tights and cheese dialogue didn’t make you want to forget your childhood Halloween’s dressed as the ‘Caped Crusader,’ then banter between George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger did.
The Batman franchise if protected properly, however, is worth millions in movie sales alone, include toys and endorsement deals and another horrible Batman movie would be throwing away millions.

Warner Bros knew this going into the production of Batman Begins. This movie was either going to restore the legacy that Tim Burton painstakingly helped recreate or be the final stake in the heart of a once profitable movie dynasty.

For traditionalists Batman Begins is a breath of fresh air; a return to the dark, gritty tone that made Batman so popular in the early ’90s. Batman always has and will be the story of a tormented man seeking revenge. It was this tension that was missing in the last Batman movies and caught so much flak from die-hards.

While the last two Batman’s didn’t capture the multiple dimensions of the dark knights’ character, Batman Begins makes an effort to show a regular man on a quest to find himself and revenge for his parents untimely death. In paying attention to the inner workings of a split personality and the fear that drives it, Batman Begins picks up where Batman Returns left us.

Taking place before a villain like the Joker was ever conceived, Batman still finds lots to keep him busy in Gotham city. Organized crime and crooked cops have left Gotham city on the verge of complete breakdown.

Here the movie beautifully follows young Batman through trials and tribulations that later define his crime fighting style. Most importantly it finally answers that famous question “Where does he get those wonderful toys.”

But the movie isn’t without criticism either. Christopher Nolan, best known for Memento, doesn’t have much experience making an action flick and that shows. Fight scenes are shotty and shakey, making it difficult to determine exactly who is winning the fight. And an overly presumptuous carechase even defies a willing suspence of disbelief.

But a strong cast supported by the psychological drama that is Bruce Wayne saves this movie from “Last Action Hero” syndrome. The images of Frank Miller, who re-designed the Batman comics are invoked in a fitting manner, worthy of a dark knight like Batman.

In my mind Michael Keaton remains the best Batman and defines the turmoil that is Bruce Wayne. But then again, I grew up in the ’80s and admit to being completely biased.

I can see Christian Bale, who did an excellent job getting into this role, redefining Batman for a whole new generation. A generation, mind you, that has already shown an interest in torn super heroes with the success of Spider Man and X-Men. Batman Begins is hopefully just that, the dawn of a new age in a comic story that has captured the American psyche for 50 years.