Batman Begins (2005)

(In theaters, June 2005) Now this is a welcome change of pace after the contemptuous ludicrousness that Joel Schumaker brought to the Batman series. Director Christopher Nolan and writer David S. Goyer do their best to anchor Batman in a more plausible reality, and if the result doesn’t quite transcend the typical superhero silliness, it brings to the film an aura of respectability. Christian Bale finally gets his blockbuster starring role after impressive performances in a string of smaller movies, Liam Neeson continues his streak of mentor figures and Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman all get wonderful supporting roles. (Sadly, Cilian Murphy is unremarkable as Dr. Crane and Katie Holmes is completely miscast as a character supposed to be tough and resourceful.) Batman Begins remains an origin story, but it flies by so quickly that it’s just a pleasure to watch. The mythology of Batman is rethought, retooled and revisited with good details, even if a lot of it seems awfully convenient at times. But no matter; while not a great film, Batman Begins is a lot of fun and even makes one curious about the inevitable sequel. Batman Reset, in other words… and the reboot hasn’t crashed yet.

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