— Posted by Alyssa
Director: Christopher Nolan
Main: Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine
Grade: A –
Bruce Wayne was revived in the most respectable of fashions in Nolan’s psychologically intriguing chronicle of the caped crusader before he wore the mask.
After his wealthy, well-known parents are murdered in front of his young eyes, Bruce Wayne (Bale) avoids the media storm and abandons his privileged life in Gotham. Traveling wayward through desolate areas and run-down places, Wayne stumbles upon the League of Shadows (a cult of sorts dedicated to righting what’s wrong) while he’s imprisoned in a filthy prison. Mentored by the mysterious Henri Ducard (Neeson), Wayne learns about hand-to-hand combat and advanced weaponry. However, acting on moral impulse, Wayne bites the hand that feeds him and ends up turning away from a life of vigilance, but instead carving out his own identity as a symbol. Determined to save Gotham from its inevitable doom by corruption, Wayne reemerges incognito from self-induced exile as Batman, revisiting old friends like his trusty butler Alfred (Caine) and life-long friend DEA agent Rachel Dawes (Holmes). While behind the mask, he finds that it’s easier to face his fears and battle his inner demons. Batman works alongside fellow decent good-doers who still believe in justice like Lucius Fox (Freeman), who has long worked for his father’s company and noble family-man Sergeant Jim Gordon (Oldman).
There’s nobody who can make an audience take a superhero more seriously than Christopher Nolan. He has effectively taken Batman from its campy, cheeky goofiness (compliments of films like Batman Forever, Batman Returns, and the god-awful Batman & Robin) into darker, more relatable territory. Bruce Wayne’s struggle to form an identity and live up to his moral conscience is commendable and defines what it is to be a true hero. This movie is an achievement in a genre that is supposedly only for geeks and fan-boys. Batman is somebody that anyone can try to model themselves after. He’s not perfect, but at least he knows the difference between right and wrong. As he says in the movie, “it’s not what we are inside, but what we do that defines us.” And I’m happy to report that Christopher Nolan has defined himself as the director to go to when it comes to turning a conventional blockbuster into something with real depth.