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Batman Begins

43. Batman Begins

Batman Begins, while not quite as brilliant as The Dark Knight, is perhaps Nolan's best work with the Batman/Bruce Wayne character, as TDK is definitely more the Joker's film than it is Batman's. A brilliant origin story as we see the death of the Wayne's, and Bruce's journey across the planet as he trains under Ra's Al Ghul, Batman Begins literally brought Batman back from the dead in the public eye. Following the failure of Batman & Robin, Christopher Nolan brought Batman back in a whole new way, never seen before on film (as most of the films before were much campier and comic book-ish, for better or worse, than Nolan's adaptation). It was a comic book film that really took it's source material seriously and changed what a comic book film could be, laying the groundwork for one of the most critically acclaimed films of the 21st century in it's sequel the Dark Knight.

I've already said that I am a fan of Christian Bale, and while I don't necessarily love his Batman (it's the worst in TDKR), I do love his Bruce Wayne, as he's able to balance the mask Bruce puts on as a suave billionaire playboy with the damaged soul that he really is. Playing Bruce Wayne is really playing 3 characters in one. Bruce Wayne in public, Bruce Wayne in private, and The Batman. Bale had come the closest of anyone before Ben Affleck (who is now my definitive Batman) to nailing all three of these parts in Batman Begins.

This film also arguably does a better job than either of Nolan's other two Batman films of capturing the atmosphere of Gotham City. In the two sequels it feels less like Gotham and more just like sh*tty New York/Chicago amalgam (which, admittedly, is kind of what Gotham is, but it definitely doesn't feel like that in the comics and it doesn't feel that way in this first film). The atmosphere in this film is truly unbelievable and feels very faithful to the Gotham City that Batman fans like myself know.

A brilliant adaptation of it's source material, Batman Begins was a great start to one of the best Superhero trilogies ever, if not one of the finest movie trilogies ever.