If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Lack of new trailers video games or movie news seems to be a pretty good excuse to review Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, so I will do so. Keep in mind that yes, there will be spoilers. The trilogy starts off with Batman Begins, the Batman movie that revived the franchise after Joel Schumacher cinematically raped the Batman films. Christopher Nolan is now directing, thus giving us the Batman origin story that we need. I've been a huge Batman film since I was little, the original 1989 Tim Burton film being my first glimpse at the hero. I enjoyed the Burton movies and I still do, but even as a kid I wanted to know why a man dressed as a bat and beat up bad guys. Batman Begins does a solid job of giving us the motivation for Bruce Wayne becoming Batman. As he said in the movie, it's about using his fear against the corrupt and the people who believe they are fearless. When Bruce is training with the League of Shadows, it's really cool to see Bruce learn all about all the stuff he can use as a weapon and utilize it against criminals. He's trained by Ra's al Ghul, a really cool choice for a villain since we haven't seen him in a movie until now and he fits with the idea of training Batman and teaching him about his idea of justice. In the scene where Bruce refuses to execute the criminal in front of the League of Shadows really shows the difference between Bruce and Ra's; Bruce refuses to kill so as to avoid becoming corruptible and also becoming like the criminals in Gotham, particularly Joe Chill, the man who murdered his parents. When Bruce returns to Gotham, we get a better look at the type of place Gotham is and the people living there. It's nothing short of corrupt and it's full of people like low-life criminals, dirty cops and it's not short of a few hobos who have nice coats. We're also introduced to major characters like Jim Gordon and Rachel Dawes. The acting in this movie is solid on everyone's part. Gary Oldman is perfect as Gordon, while also looking something like Ned Flanders, Michael Caine does a great job as Alfred, the only real person who's preventing Bruce from becoming lost in Batman and yes, even Katie Holmes is good, say what you want, she wasn't that bad. Another villain aside from Ra's al Ghul is the Scarecrow and it's this villain that I think was one of the films few weak links. Cillian Murphy is really good as Scarecrow, but I felt like the villain was lacking as far as presence and characterization goes. While we're still on gripes, I also wasn't a big fan of the fight scenes. They're shot really close up, almost right in the actors' faces and there's some shaky cam involved. It's pretty much to the point where I can't even tell what's going on. But still, the movie does really good in storytelling. With Ra's al Ghul's plan to destroy Gotham using Scarecrow's fear toxin, it just goes to show that fear is a big theme in the film. Bruce's fear of bats, Gotham being torn to pieces by fear, it's all there and it fits perfectly with Batman. I also liked how Batman and Ra's al Ghul are the same in a few ways, but also different. They're both about serving justice, but Ra's believes in just wiping Gotham off the map in order to get rid of the world's most corrupt city. Bruce however, uses Batman as a symbol to fight the corrupt and give Gotham a chance at survival. The hero and villain contrast really well in that aspect. I'm probably the only person in the world who kind of finds the defeat of the villains in this movie funny. Ra's al Ghul dies in a big fiery explosion on a train and Scarecrow just gets chased away with a tazer. However, Scarecrow being in all three Batman movies does make up for that. One thing I've also found kind of funny is what Scarecrow sees when he's sprayed by his own fear gas. Batman sprays him with it, holds him up to his face and we see that the Scarecrow sees Batman as this weird, green demon thing that looks similar to the creeper in Jeepers Creepers. With all of that being said, Batman Begins is a really good movie and a well done insight to the character of Bruce Wayne. The Tim Burton movies are good, but the Nolan Batman's really define the character. Seeing Bruce Wayne wear a mask (physically and metaphorically) is a nice touch to the trilogy and in case you haven't already noticed, this movie is all about Bruce Wayne becoming Batman. If you're interested, keep an eye out for my review of the next two Batman films, they are coming and they bring the trilogy to new levels.