The first film of the Dark Knight Trilogy, ‘Batman Begins’ is my least favourite. I’m not keen on the cinematography and the stylisation of Gotham City, and overall when compared to the other films in the trilogy, the first just doesn’t quite match the quality of the later films.
However, there are some great performances especially from Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, but as none of these actors are playing the main character it is a bit problematic. I’m not a fan of Christian Bale’s Batman, not that I’m a massive fan of Batman to start with, but the dark and husky voice just does nothing for me, except send shivers down my spine akin to fingernails down a chalkboard. Bale as Bruce Wayne is fine, but once he puts on the suit I’m not interested.
Which probably sums up why I’m not a big fan of the film, because the entire point of the film is Bruce Wayne’s journey into the suit. However as a writer, it is this journey, which will bring me back to the film, but only on occasion. In terms of comparing it to the later films, the storyline and the quality of the screenplay is just as good as the rest of the trilogy. I also like the idea of Bruce Wayne becoming what he fears most following a childhood trauma: Bats.
The very best bits of the film are Bruce Wayne’s interactions with Ra’s al Ghul, as he journeys from prison to the realisation that the League of Shadows wants to destroy Gotham City. Liam Neeson was cast perfectly as the villain, delivering an elegant performance. There was nothing showy or over the top about his character, which makes him all the more frighteningly ruthless.
I’m also particularly fond of Cillian Murphy’s performance as the Scarecrow and his sub-plot of trying to destroy Gotham using an hallucinogenic drug. The two plotlines lines of Batman’s origin story and Scarecrow’s plans tie together elegantly, and the lighter relief of Caine and Freeeman’s characters toning down the seriousness of Bruce Wayne does make the film watchable.
So while I’m not a massive fan of the film, in terms of the storyline and the screenplay, what Nolan and the actors tried to do with this film does make it worth watching.