Comic book heroes come in many different shapes and forms, but none has more appeal to me than the brooding "dark knight" of Gotham- Batman. Unlike others, I found myself unimpressed by Tim Burton's iconic but campy take on the Batman character, and the subsequent Joel Schumacher films are best left unmentioned in detail.
So when Christopher Nolan cast the super-serious Christian Bale as his "caped crusader," I instantly perked up. As I saw more respected names such as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, and Ken Watanabe join the cast, I knew we were in for something special, something that would take the dark and gritty world of Batman and elevate it to the level it could truly be on film.
"Batman Begins" did not disappoint in the least. The music is dark, ominous, and moody, while the visuals are drenched in shadow. The character of Batman exists in a world built on fear, and for once, his nemesis is appropriately SCARY. The Scarecrow, with his mind-altering psychotic drugs, conjures some truly disturbing images, while Liam Neeson's Ra's al Ghul provides a perfect example of what happens when a vigilante steps too far outside the boundaries of the law.
At last audiences had a Batman film that took itself seriously (very, very seriously in fact). Although the idea of a man jumping around on rooftops dressed in a cape is still fundamentally silly, the world of Christopher Nolan's Batman exists just close enough to the realm of plausibility that we as viewers can easily make the jump across that chasm of disbelief and just enjoy the ride.
And of course, the ending sets up for an even more fantastic film to come...