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Still shot from the movie: Batman Begins.

Batman Begins

Ever wonder why Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is so hung up about fighting evil? Discover exactly how Batman Begins after watching this comic-book tale, which follows his transformation from traumatized child to superhero.

Overall Grade: B
Violence: D+
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B-
Drugs/Alcohol: C+
Release Date: 16 Jun 2005
Run Time: 140
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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In-Depth Review

An intelligent script and a carefully crafted plot can be hard elements to employ, particularly when the hero is a comic book character. Luckily Batman Begins has evolved far beyond its 1966 predecessor where skirmishes between tights-wearing superheroes and villains were highlighted with words like "POW" and "BAM".

Revisiting the familial mansion of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), this updated storyline introduces the meaningful people in the young boy's life and establishes the reasons behind his fears. As a child, he watches his philanthropic father (Linus Roache) build an empire in Gotham City, creating infrastructures and programs to help the local populace. Yet even the family's hordes of money can't save his dad from an attack by a desperate criminal (Richard Brake).

Haunted by childhood trauma and suppressed guilt, Bruce questions his role in life after his father's death and chooses to run from his problems. But like all internal issues, his apprehensions only follow him.

Then finally, as Gotham City festers under the influence of drug lords and hardened gangsters, the wealthy heir begins to realize his responsibility to the family name. With the help of his butler and mentor, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), he puts his fears in perspective and uses them as a catalyst for the unveiling of his masked persona.

Bruce isn't alone in his desire to reclaim the city. Good citizens remain, despite being few in number. Even Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), who faces corruption both in and out of the police force, isn't ready to give up. Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), an attorney at the D.A.'s office and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), an employee of Wayne Enterprises, are also doing their best to turn things around.

Still, violent encounters escalate as Batman battles the thugs. While much of the fighting takes place in dark and shadowy settings, there is plenty of hand-to-hand combat, gunshots, and fiery explosions, particularly as the clashes ramp up toward the end of the film. As well, a mind-altering drug administered by the criminals causes victims to experience panic and wildly distorted hallucinations.

Releasing on regular screens and in IMAX (where audiences are treated to a several-story high version of the caped crusader), the movie takes a long hard look at justice. Whether administered by law enforcement officers or vigilantes, it is an elusive quality when a society is overrun with crime.

Fortunately, the film offers some interesting insights along with good entertainment for adults and older teens who can deal with the heavy dose of action violence. Never taking itself too seriously, the script rewinds the recent adventures of the billionaire playboy and brings us back to where Batman Begins.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

Dealing with fear is a challenge for several characters in this film. What kinds of fears to they face? How do they learn to overcome their fears? Do you agree with the comment that you fear what you don’t understand?

The film explores the ideas of justice and vigilantism. What do you think the difference is? What role should compassion play in the justice system? Can there ever be too much compassion extended to a criminal?

Who supports Batman in his new role? What does he learn about teamwork? How does Batman’s appearance change the Lt. Fox’s attitude toward his own job?

Video alternatives

Taking on an alias is part of the job for other comic book crime fighters as well. Donning a mask, Spider-Man fights evil in New York while Superman takes on corruption in the city of Metropolis. Christian Bale also stars as a futuristic European who fights fire-breathing dragons in Reign of Fire.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Release Date: 24 September 2013

Warner Brothers releases their trio of Batman movies in one package: The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Along with a Blu-ray copy of each of the films (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises), the 6-disc set includes these bonus materials:

- Ultraviolet Digital Copies

- Premium Mattel Hot Wheels Vehicles: Batmobile, Batpod and Tumbler

- Newly commissioned collectible art cards by Mondo featuring Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, Harvey Dent, and Ra’s al Ghul

- 48-page hardcover book featuring production stills and behind the scenes images from the trilogy

- The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy (Ultimate Collector’s Edition exclusive)

- Christopher Nolan & Richard Donner: A Conversation (Ultimate Collector’s Edition exclusive)

Home Video Notes: The Dark Knight Trilogy

Release Date: 4 December 2012

Warner Brothers Studio is releasing all three Batman movies, starring Christian Bale in the title role, in a 5-Disc package. Featured movies include Batman Begins,The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

DVD Release Date: 18 October 2005

Warner Home Video offers three different ways to sneak a peek at the masked crusader. Chose either the wide or full screen DVD version, and you will also receive a demo of the Batman Begins mobile game and web links. Audio Tracks are available in English and French (both Dolby Digital 5.1), with English, Spanish and French subtitles.

Or, get all this and more with the Batman Begins: 2 Disc Deluxe Edition. Explore the special features through an exclusive interactive comic book called Inner Demons. Behind-the-scenes featuretts include: The Journey Begins (creative concepts, story development and casting), Shaping Mind and Body (Christian Bale’s transformation into Batman), The Tumbler (reinvention of the Batmobile), Gotham City Rises (production design of Gotham City, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and more), Saving Gotham City (the development of miniatures, CGI, and effects for the monorail chase scene), Genesis of the Bat (a look at the Dark Knight’s incarnation and influences on the film), Path to Discovery (filming in Iceland), and Confidential Files (go beyond the movie and discover facts and story points not in the film). Other bonus materials to watch for: A spoof of the film called MTV’s Tankman Begins, Cape and Cowl (everything you ever wanted to know about the new batsuit), a character/weaponry gallery, a photo gallery, and the theatrical trailer. As well, the package offers an exclusive collectible 72-page comic book containing Detective Comics #27 (the very first Batman story), Batman: The Man Who Falls (a classic story that inspired Batman Begins), and an excerpt from Batman: The Long Halloween (a chilling story that also inspired the film).

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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