Movie Review: Batman Begins

BatmanBegins3

Bats.

Bruce Wayne is terrified of them. Of what they embody. How they look. And what they can do. That’s not the only thing he is afraid of. Deeper, darker things which he has yet to discover himself. Why? Perhaps it is because his parents were murdered in front of him in a dark alley when he was young. Maybe because he blames himself for their death. Maybe because Gotham is politically corrupt, and criminals thrive in the city.

Whatever the reason, Bruce sets out to figure out the criminal, and to alleviate his fear and inner turmoil. In doing so however, he discovers a secret society called “the league of Shadows” They promise to help him conquer his fear, and to relieve the pain in which he is living.  Bruce accepts, and they teach him everything about combat, fear, and purpose they know. But when he is told to commit a mortifying act, he refuses.

The act? Tear apart Gotham through fear and pain. Bruce decides he does not want to destroy Gotham, but save it. That he will do so through a symbol. A symbol of justice and uncompromising moral. “Why Bats, master wayne” Alfred asks Bruce. To which Bruce replies,

Bats scare me. It is time my enemies shared my fears.

Things I Liked

Batman is of course, the star in the first of the three part “Dark Knight” trilogy. In this film, Bruce goes to the process of deciding who he really is, and what he is going to represent. He develops his motive, and purpose throughout the film. Batman is one to the darkest heroes in the DC comic line. Because of the immense amounts of inner struggles he goes through, we see a raw side of mankind which we don’t normally see in the invincible folks such as Superman, Thor, etc. Batman is always vulnerable and completely human. And that could be the main factor in what separates him from the rest.

What is cool though, is Batman find it pointless to seek revenge, but finds it much more appropriate to seek justice on criminals and the corrupt. He does this by fleshing them out and turning their own fearful tactics against them. Why? Because Batman believes that some people in Gotham are worth saving. That there are still “good people” there. And through that belief, he uproots the entire criminal underground without killing a single person. Batman does this through Immense amounts of sacrifice. In all of the films in this trilogy, that’s the name of the game.

While Batman himself is (for the most part) an admirable character, his supporting friends and mentors are of amazing caliber as well.  Rachel, his lifelong friend, teaches him early on the futility of revenge, and shows her disappointment when he doesn’t live up to his father’s name. Alfred, his butler, is the wisest person you could care to meet, and incredibly faithful to Bruce. He reminds him that he carries the name of Wayne on him, and that he has responsibilities which his father left. And that, ignoring them is something he cannot do.

Things I Didn’t Like

The worst part of  this movie, is the disturbing images we see through a fear gas induced on people by the Scarecrow. This gas brings people’s worse fears to the forefront of their mine and makes them hallucinate. We see the hallucinations as they do.

Since this is a SuperHero movie, we see quite a bit of fist smashing violence. Batman has one rule- Never Kill. That doesn’t stop him from beating up dozens upon dozens of criminals through martial arts, gas, and other devices. We also see Bruce’s Parents shot early on in the film. A few people are tazered, and we see another man shot.

Christ’s name is profaned once. and someone gets called an A– H—

Closing Thoughts

It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you. ~Rachel~

Batman Begins is a classic SuperHero flick with more than just some good guys beating up bad guys. This is a rare film which focuses more one internal conflict and development to drive the story. Rather than using CGI and special effects to accomplish an entertaining end. We watch Bruce grow and struggle to find his place and role in Gotham. To define himself.

We see a man without a path taken from that and trained to become an incredibly dangerous man. He uses this training though, to protect Gotham out of mercy, rather than destroy it out of Justice. This is perhaps the greatest lesson taught not only in this film, but the trilogy itself. Bruce defends Gotham not because they deserve it, but only because he wants to give the people a second chance. Sound like a symbol of someone out of the bible doesn’t it?

One action which is questionable by Batman is, he lets someone die saying “I’m not going to kill you, but I don’t have to save you.” Given the context, Batman had saved him once before, and gotten punished for it for showing mercy to enemies. However, Batman did make a choice to let someone die (out of Justice?). Definetely a lot to chew on and think about in that scene.

While not overwhelmingly violent, the movie is quite dark when the antagonists begin implementing their plan of destruction. Fear is a prevailing theme in the film, and we see what people see in those eyes of fear. Some of those images are disturbing, so be aware of that if you plan to watch this film.

I’ll be honest, Batman Begins is in my top ten favorite films of all time list. Why? Probably this. Batman is a refreshing turn of the superhero Genre. Instead of focusing on lots of special effects and violence, the Director instead focused on personal development and motives. This translates to a Hero we can root for with a passion, yet still question his motives in the end. While driven by justice, he is also full of mercy. He learns that these actions can’t be for himself, and sacrifices his body and comfort to accomplish them. While never mentioned, it is an incredible image of Christ-likeness, something we all can resonate with.

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