Batman Begins will always be a classic film, but after watching in my build up for The Dark Knight Rises, it is pretty clear to me as to why The Dark Knight is far superior.
(Fair warning, I am very critical on Nolan. He is one of my favorite directors ever and I hold him to a pretty high standard. Keep in mind that I LOVE ALL OF HIS FILMS! No raging.)
Watching the film I realized how unlike Christopher Nolan it is. What makes him so special is his ability to know what will get our heart racing. He really knows what is exciting and he knows when to be exciting and when not to be. Its been a while since I have seen Memento, but I dare say that it, Insomnia, and Batman Begins are all fairly similar in their pacing and how he handle the thematic elements along with the action. But something changed after Begins. Something clicked and he figured out the equation for perfect balance in a film and from that spawned what may be my favorite of his films, The Prestige.
The Prestige was so perfectly balanced, and so perfectly exciting when it needed to be and mellow when it needed to be. Batman Begins definitely had a little bit of trouble in playing that balancing game, however it still did it better than most, when I say it had trouble I am comparing it to Nolan’s other work. A big part of what weighed down on the intensity was Ra’s al Ghul who was terrifically unterrifying. Liam Neeson’s villain was so fatherly I really felt very little threat by him. I thought Liam did great, I just don’t think that the character was what he should have been, and if that was just who Ra’s al Ghul is, then he shouldn’t have been the villain. Then there was The Scarecrow played by Cillian Murphy who I thought was great, but the last scene with him was so silly and rushed I feel like it didn’t work to well. There was no showdown he just ran off tazed and on a horse. I was excited to see him in The Dark Knight and I hope he makes and appearance in The Dark Knight Rises. And finally we had Falcone played by Tom Wilkinson and he nailed it. He played that character so perfectly and honestly he was the most intimidating of the villains and he was taken out before anyone else.
The villains along with the whole look and feel of Gotham really made it feel more like Tim Burton’s Batman. It wasn’t the wide open cityscape that you see in The Dark Knight, it was the very cramped and crowded ally ways, and the clutter mess of the streets. That’s not a bad thing, but that is definitely something that TDK had over BB.
The important thing is that this movie gave Nolan complete creative freedom for his future films as well as brought him together with Christian Bale who together they have made some great films.
I give it a 4 out of 5.