Batman Begins is super, super good. It is both a good Batman movie (which would be enough to satisfy a comic book nerd) and a good movie (which should be enough to satisfy anybody).
It’s not perfect. But the cast, from Christian Bale to Liam Neeson to Morgan Freeman to, of course, Michael Caine (who I think might be my favorite actor ever) is charismatic and convincing all around.
Worth noting: One thing that’s been missing from previous movies, and even a lot of previous comics, is the sense that Batman is scary. That is ostensibly the whole point of his outfit, but it never quite gets realized: He’s always more grim techno-ninja than terrible monster of the night.
There’s plenty of techno-ninjitsu in this version, too. But thanks to the setup — the Scarecrow, a classic Batman foe, plays a big role, along with his hallucinogenic fear gas — we get the opportunity to see what Batman looks like when you’re running scared in the streets of Gotham. And I — a hard-core Batman fan — actually felt like I “got it” for the first time.
Nerd extra: This movie’s story draws from the plot of the first Batman comic I ever got, a thick Batman annual that had Ras Al Ghul poisoning Gotham’s water supply. The key difference: In the comic, Ras was going to use a giant lens orbiting in space to filter the sun’s rays and activate the poison. So Batman took a shuttle up to his space station to stop him. Um.