Batman Begins (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

As many of you regular readers know, 90% or more of our reviews are written when the DVDs are about to hit the street, not when the film is heading into theaters. This can be an advantage, especially for genre films, because we can stand back and realize that a film we despise has tremendous appeal to specialized audiences. It can also be a disadvantage with a film like Batman Begins because ...  there is just nothing left to say. If you are a film buff, you have already seen it. It's a Batman film directed by the very talented Christopher Nolan. It was well-reviewed and turned into a box office smash.

End of story.

I will say that I liked it more than I expected to. As a general rule, I am lukewarm to good super-hero movies like Spider-Man, and I just don't care for the weaker ones like The Hulk. Batman Begins scared me off when I saw the pseudo-mystical "wisdom of the East" sections of the trailers, and just decided to skip it when it came to the theaters because I hate that kind of phony crap. I was wrong. As it turns out, I had no problems with the Eastern bullshit in Batman Begins, and ended up loving the movie. It managed to handle the implausible "one unarmed guy defeats ten guys with guns" premise as well as could be expected, and it has everything a big summer blockbuster should have - plenty of heart, imagination, and action, with no annoying sidekicks except a faithful butler.

It managed to resuscitate the quality of a moribund franchise which, before this film, had gotten worse with every effort. It also managed to salvage a box office that was sinking faster than a ship in a Billy Zane movie.


Batman (1989)              7.4     Keaton     $251m

Batman Returns (1992)   6.6     Keaton     $162m

Batman Forever (1995)   5.4     Kilmer       $184m

Batman & Robin (1997)   3.5     Clooney    $107m

Batman Begins (2005)    8.3     Bale          $205


It is no tribute to the depth of American culture that, as I write this in mid-October 2005, six of the year's top ten films are either based on comic books or other juvenilia, and the only other comedy on the list, The Forty Year Old Virgin, is about a guy who watches those kinds of movies. Only Crash, Cinderella Man and The Constant Gardener are more serious efforts.

What can you say? We Americans, especially the males, live in a juvenile world.



  • MTV's Tankman Begins: a spoof
  • Inner Demons comic: Explore the special features through an exclusive interactive comic book
  • The Journey Begins: creative concepts, story development and casting
  • Shaping Mind and Body: Christian Bale's transformation into Batman
  • The Tumbler: reinvention of the Batmobile
  • Gotham City Rises: production design of Gotham City, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and more
  • Saving Gotham City: the development of miniatures, CGI, and effects for the monorail chase scene
  • Genesis of the Bat: A look at the Dark Knight's incarnation and influences on the film
  • Confidential files: Go beyond the movie and discover facts and story points not in the film
  • Cape and Cowl: the new batsuit
  • Path to Discovery: filming in Iceland
  • Confidential files
  • Character/weaponry gallery
  • Photo gallery
  • Exclusive collectible 72-page comic book containing: Detective Comics #27 (the very first Batman story), Batman: The Man Who Falls (a classic story that inspired Batman Begins), and an excerpt from Batman: The Long Halloween (a chilling story that also inspired the film)



The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus out of four stars: four stars. James Berardinelli 3.5/4, Roger Ebert 3.5/4, Entertainment Weekly A.

  • British consensus out of four stars: three and a quarter     stars. Mail 8/10, Telegraph 6/10, Independent 6/10, Guardian 6/10, Times 8/10, Sun 9/10, Express 8/10, Mirror 10/10, FT 8/10, BBC 5/5.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 8.3/10 (Top 150 of all time.)
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a B-, a top-notch genre film with real crossover appeal that saved a sinking franchise,

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