I recently had the pleasure of seeing "Batman Begins" and I am so glad that I didn't wait a week. The movie was absolutely fantastic in almost every measurable sense.
I believe that the first kudos need to go to the screenwriters David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Nolan also expertly directed the movie and I must say that this was the perfect team. I thought the franchise was through after that ridiculous excuse for a movie called "Batman and Robin", but my hope has now been restored.
Christian Bale did an absolutely fantastic job of portraying Bruce Wayne and Batman. I have been watching out for Bale since his incredible performance in "American Psycho" (in which he just completely floored me) and when I heard he would be playing Batman in this movie I got my first glimmer of excitement. His depth is really impressive and I'd like to submit that he is the best Bruce Wayne / Batman to date. In addition, you can just tell that his commitment to the role is absolute. I, for one, very much appreciate his hard work.
Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both deliver outstanding performances as well, and the two were such a pleasure to watch. They brought such believability to their characters and they really helped me get immersed in the story. Adding to this was the superb acting of Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy. It is rare that this many great actors are brought together, but indeed - it is those rare circumstances that we, as moviegoers, are treated to something special as is the case with Batman Begins.
Gary Oldman, an actor who I have admired for a very long time, did not disappoint in the slightest in his role as a young Sgt. Gordon. It never ceases to amaze me how Oldman can take roles of any size - leading or not - and turn them into something so memorable. Each line he delivers is simply perfection, and he's always been that way. Even when there are no lines to deliver Oldman hits the ball out of the park. It is for this reason that I watch every movie he is in. And, as an aside, his performance in "Hannibal" was just about the most impressive thing I've ever seen on screen.
I'd have to say that one of the most impressive actors in the movie was Linus Roache as Bruce Wayne's father. He wasn't in very much of the movie, and in many scenes didn't even have any lines. But nevertheless he gave one of those performances where he stands out and stays with you. It was really impressive to see this actor take the character of Bruce's Dad and simmer all that history down to such an impressive few moments on screen. No doubt I will be making good use of my Netflix subscription to watch some of his other work.
The one disappointment in the cast was Katie Holmes, who was clearly outmatched in this film. She simply was not able to hold her own and stand beside all the actors I've already mentioned. My first thought was that it had to do with age and experience, but then I thought of Dakota Fanning and realized that age and experience has little to do with pure talent. Unfortunately, Holmes gave a completely forgettable performance and I wasn't able to see any depth to her character at all. It was really a shame, especially when you consider that depth could have REALLY brought something special to the role that did indeed mean a lot to the film. Instead, I found myself happy that <skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want a slight spoiler> in the end her character doesn't end up romantically involved with Bruce Wayne. Since Holmes' performance was quite inconsequential, I was relieved to find out that her character is now quite inconsequential as well.
The special effects were so good that I didn't even notice them. The realist in me knows that no director can get 10,000 bats to do what they want, but I didn't find myself saying "oh, those are all CGI".
There was clever dialog, wonderful humor, a great story, and a refreshing LACK of "star vanity" which let the greater good (in this case, the story) shine through. And THAT, in my humble opinion, is the greatest example of good film making. For the most part, a handful of truly gifted actors gave of themselves in order to achieve something great. I just have to say - WELL DONE.
This film gets an A, hands down.