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(Review originally written at 3 November 2005)

It's interesting to see a whole new different take on the Batman franchise. All of the previous Batman movies are ignored and this movie completely re-imaginings the story and the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

I'm sure that the fans will like this new different approach towards the franchise. The character of Bruce Wayne/Batman is even darker and more sinister than in any of the previous movies. This is also the first time that the character of Bruce Wayne is much more interesting than that of Batman himself. It explores what it is that drives Bruce Wayne to fight crime in his batsuit. The movie unfortunately tries to cover a bit too much of his story. The story covers too much and a lot is happening in this movie. The movie tells how Bruce lost his parent, how he was trained, how he returned to Gotham and reclaimed all his property and in the mean time he fights many criminals such as Carmine Falcone, the Scarecrow and in the end another villain but who that is, I'm not going to spoil for you. It simply is all too much to just tell in one movie. There isn't one main villain which makes this movie a bit too hard to understand at times. I'm sure this is all that the fans wanted but from a storytelling point of view the movie is flawed. Because it covers so much, not everything always flows well or feels connected to each other. The story lacked a main plot line and only towards the ending the movie gets a more steady and clear story-line. There also are too many characters introduced in to movie. The movie could had also used some more humor. The movie takes itself too serious most of the time. There is some humor in the movie but that humor feels rather forced and childish/lame.

There are two different kinds of darkness in movies; atmospheric dark, like in the '89 version was the case and just normal dark, which in this movie is present. I prefer the atmospheric dark personally. I think they took 'dark knight' perhaps a little bit too literally. The movie was simply too plain dark at times, without doing much good to the atmosphere. Strangely enough Gotham City itself wasn't dark enough looking. The Gothic Tim Burton look that made Gotham City such a memorable and imaginatively place is surely missed in this movie.

The movie is superbly and impressively cast. Christian Bale is good as Bruce Wayne but not always as Batman. Michael Caine is a great Alfred. There was much hate towards Katie Holmes towards her role but that had more to do with her strange Tom Cruise affair than her acting abilities. I thought she did great in this movie and she portrayed a strong but sensitive female character. Other wonderful actors in the movie are Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson, Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe. Cillian Murphy truly surprised and impressed me in his villainous role. Like many others I thought, before seeing this movie, that he wasn't the right actor for a role like this one but he simply was more than great in his role. Another great surprise was Rutger Hauer. I already knew he was a great actor and it was wonderful to see him in a big production again. He plays a kind of character that suits him perfectly, a hard businessman, that also can be seen as a small villain part.

There is some good action in the movie and some great fights but nothing really memorable though. I'm sure it was all very impressive to see this on the big screen but at home it all just doesn't look that impressive.

I'm beginning to sound awfully negative about this movie but that's just because I simply didn't enjoyed this movie as much as everyone else seemed to had done. I feel that the movie is seriously flawed at times, mainly with its story but still I rate this movie a 7 out of 10 which by no means is a weak rating of course. It means that I still enjoyed most parts of the movie and am still anxious to see this new Batman franchise continued in the near future.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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