As celebrated as Tim Burton’s Batman movies were (especially for the way they incorporated some of the grimmer touches from Frank Miller’s seminal Dark Knight series of Batman comics), they didn’t do much to illuminate the Caped Crusader’s backstory. And the Joel Schumacher Bat-films, turning Bruce Wayne into a Camp Crusader who alienated both hardcore Bat-fans and newbies alike, left plenty of space for a re-imagining of the character. Enter Christopher Nolan, who took apparent inspiration from Miller’s Batman: Year One saga to detail exactly how Wayne acquired his martial arts skills, how he chose the bat as his avatar, how he developed all those awesome gadgets, and how he forged an alliance with future Gotham police commissioner James Gordon.
As is typical in his films, Nolan’s approach here is primarily psychological, and Christian Bale proves the right actor to provide an intense depiction of the inner turmoil and guilt of a man whose unlimited resources still haven’t given him the power to protect the ones he loves from violence. The movie also begins to explore an issue – the ethics of vigilantism – that Nolan will further develop in the trilogy’s following two movies. For both fans and general interest viewers, Batman Begins was a breath of fresh, frosty air, especially welcome during summer movie season; indeed, it proved that summertime comic-book blockbusters can be brainy and bleak and still become huge hits.