This retrospective isn’t for heavy dissection of the themes and characters; I’ll leave that to others (hint, fear is a big one). It’s more a chance to share my appreciation of Batman Begins and give some background on my experience of it. Since its release in 2005 I’ve seen it over 30 times, so you could say it’s a favourite.
Before all that though, check out this awesome poster that adorned my bedroom room for several years. What a beauty. The top image is from a poster too. Possibly the best set of posters I’ve seen for a film.
This was a time when directors didn’t need to post spoiler warning. I’d managed to avoid all the spoilers, though I did hoover up the trailers and TV spots. Discovering the Batman-On-Film forums gave me a safe haven to enjoy discussion and news without knowing too much whilst also giving me friends I still talk to now. I’m sure these kindred spirits were sick of me telling them how I’d ‘called’ Bale possibly being a great choice as far as back as American Psycho. We poured over photos of the new Batmobile and Batsuit whilst marvelling at the cast Nolan had managed to assemble.
Reboots were not the occurrence they are are now. Dark and gritty wasn’t the assumed position. This was a special time. Keaton was and always would be special to me, but I knew there could be more out there. Could Bale be my Batman?
“SWEAR TO ME”
Yes, this was my Batman. Spitting and shaking as he interrogated corrupt cop Flass high in the air, I knew this was something special.
Crouching on rooftops, throwing batarangs and generally being really bloody intimidating, I was in awe. Finally, a Batman to be legitimately scared of. He wasn’t torn from the comics but he made sense within his own world—a hyper-realistic Ninja—and I instantly adored it all
The rest is a blur, except for the ending. Begins did a wonderful job of explaining why the world would need someone like Batman and how he came to be, but the attention it gave to Jim Gordon as he fought a losing battle against a tide of corruption gave it heart. At first cautious, his relationships with this ‘nut’ grows, culminating in a final scene that I treasure.
The rooftop denouement sums up Gordon’s newfound optimism and Batman’s heroism whilst also hinting at a hugely exciting future.
Batman Begins sits in a small group of films that I consistently return to. Only it’s sequels top it for the number of cinema viewings. I’ve got the DVD, the Blu-ray, a digital copy, and yet I still watch it on TV when it comes up. There was once a time when I finished the film, only to flip over to +1 and watch it again!
If Keaton was my childhood Batman, Bale is the Batman of my adult life. I’m well aware of its issues, and The Dark Knight is technically a better film, but for me this is the high point. That final scene still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, and I always smile with Gordon.
The right film at the right time, Batman Begins sets the bar for me with comic book based films.