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Reader review: Batman Begins

2012-07-30 16:50
Liam Neeson batman begins
In the late eighties, director Tim Burton brought Batman back to life with a bang, creating one of the decades’ biggest blockbusters with Batman (1989).  His brooding, yet comic-stylized vision put the Batman legend back on the movie map after years in obscurity (it took his Batman 11 years to reach the screen after DC Comic’s cousin Superman was an international hit!).

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Although Batman Returns (1992) was not as successful at the box office as the original, Burton still created an intriguing take on the Batman universe with his exploration of “the Bat, the Cat and the Penguin”.
However, by the late nineties the franchise was as dead as all the villains Batman had disposed of in Batman Forever (1995) & Batman and Robin (1997) thanks to director Joel Schumacher and screenplays dipped in cheese and farce.

Time warp to 2012, and the Warner Bros. executives couldn’t be happier with their super-hero property due to the amazing performance of 2008’s The Dark Knight, and this year’s The Dark Knight Rises, which is already another hit for the studio.
As wonderful as both these sequels are (“Rises” may not be as great as “Knight”, but is certainly a wonderful end to the trilogy), it all began with “Begins”.

Director Christopher Nolan, who had made such an impact in Hollywood with smaller movies such as Memento and Insomnia, persuaded Warner’s top brass that he was the man to bring the dark knight back to life. 

He did this by showing them the blue print to a comic book film for a new generation, one filled with elements of believability, fantastic story telling, and an emphasis on Bruce Wayne/Batman rather than his adversaries. 

By going back to the beginning, he could reinvent Batman’s world – Gotham City became a real place, filled with real life problems and bureaucratic red tape – Batman’s gadgets and wheels entered the realm of plausibility – the Bat Mobile is genius – and the characters were given depth, treated with as much respect as any action set piece.

A blend of adventure, humour, perfect casting (Christian Bale in particular) and a few surprises made Batman Begins a hit.

Nolan had not intended to make a trilogy at the time, but thanks to Batman Begins, a now legendary set of films, has set the benchmark for all comic book adaptations to come, which may never be topped.

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Reader review: Batman

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