* * * B
Batman Begins is the first film in the Dark Knight trilogy. I recently rewatched it to see how well it stood the test of time. I’d have to say quite well, considering that this was a second watch of a single character origin story, and it was at least as good as Justice League. It is a worthy lead in the Nolan’s magnum opus, The Dark Knight.
Batman Begins retells the Batman origin story. When the man who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents is released from prison, Bruce (Christian Bale) returns to Gotham to kill him. He is instead assassinated by a local crime boss. Bruce, realizing he has gone off the rails, sets out to learn about criminals. In Asia, he is rescued from jail by Ducard (Liam Neeson), brought to the League of Shadows, and trained as a ninja. Wayne refuses the final test (murder) and instead destroys the League’s temple.
Back in Gotham, Wayne enterprises is about to be sold to the public. Bruce rejoins the company, but only as a means to his end of becoming Batman. He quickly runs afoul of the Scarecrow, a villain who drives people insane with a fear inducing drug. Batman learns the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) is planning to gas the entire city, aided by a mysterious partner in crime.
Batman begins is the origin story the original Batman series never had, Batman in that series being introduced fully formed. The cast, which includes Michael Caine and Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman in supporting roles, is excellent. The film has its issues, the worst of which is a fairly weak ending, but is enjoyable, especially because it leads in to what may be the greatest superhero film ever made, The Dark Knight.