Over ten years and thirty plus viewings ago, Batman Begins was released. In the 2000’s things were quite different, for both myself and the comic book film. I’ll leave the heavy dissection to others; I just want to share my appreciation of Nolan’s first Batman film, and give a little background to my experienced of it.
Firstly though, have a look at one of favourite movie posters. This took pride of place on my bedroom wall for a long time.
The internet wasn’t the same beast it is now so I’d managed to avoid the spoilers (the true identity of Ra’s did the rounds throughout production), and the discovery of the Batman-On-Film forums gave me a safe haven to enjoy discussion and news without knowing too much. Amongst kindred spirits I could crow about how I’d proclaimed that Bale would make a great Batman since I’d seen American Psycho three years previously. We poured over photos of the new Batmobile and Batsuit whilst marvelling at the cast Christopher Nolan had managed to put together.
At a time when ‘dark and gritty’ wasn’t the assumed position and reboots didn’t happen every two films this was a big deal. Could this be ‘my’ Batman? My love for Keaton’s Batman was strong but this was shaping up to be a different creature altogether.
As Batman angrily spat out “SWEAR TO ME” at the corrupt Detective Flass I knew this was my Batman. I’d never seen anything like it, and it blew my mind. He crouched on ledges, he threw batarangs, and he could be extremely bloody intimidating when he wanted to be. Finally this was a Batman to be legitimately scared of. He wasn’t a comic book Batman; he was his own thing, a hyper-realistic Batman, and I adored it.
The rest is a blur, except for the ending. Begins did a wonderful job of explaining why the world would need someone like Batman, but the attention it gave to Jim Gordon as he fought a losing battle against a tide of corruption gave it heart. They’re relationship grows through the film, and how it’s used to conclude the film makes for one of my most treasured movie scenes.
The rooftop meeting between the two heroes of the film summed up not only how I’d always viewed the characters, but left me gasping for more.
Batman Begins immediately joined a small group of films that stands up to repeated viewings. It’s my third highest film for cinema viewings (five times), only eclipsed by it’s sequels. I own it in several different formats, thought that doesn’t stop me watching it whenever it’s on TV. I’ve even been known to flip over to the +1 channel when it finishes and watch the final hour again.
If Keaton was my childhood Batman, Bale is the Batman of my twenties. I’m well aware of its issues, and The Dark Knight is technically a better film. But for me this is the high point. It still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, and I always smile with Gordon.
Years may have passed, but my love for this film hasn’t dimmed one bit.