4.5 out of 5
Short version: Chris Nolan has brought us a vision of Batman that feels real, true, and yes, even plausible.
The word that popped into my head most often during the awesome experience that is Batman Begins was:
Folks, you can forget Joel Schumacher's DOA version of Batman... heck, in this reviewer's opinion you can even forget Tim Burton's. This is the real deal, and not just for fans of The Dark Knight, either. This movie works as both superhero flick and as a bonafide drama. Chris Nolan (director) and David Goyer (story and co-writer of the screenplay) have brought us (for the first time outside a comic book) a vision of Batman that feels real, true, and yes, even plausible.
Batman Begins opens directly into a red sky teeming with bats off in the distance, briefly forming into a vague Batman logo. That's it for opening credits, and we're on to what doesn't seem like a superhero movie at all, with a young (9 years old or so) Bruce Wayne playing on the grounds of Wayne Manor with a young girl, chasing each other over what turns out to be an Indian arrowhead. Almost immediately Bruce falls into the opening that leads to the huge underground cavern under the property and the girl (Rachel, who appears in the movie later) runs off to alert his father, who rescues Bruce from the bottom of the well.
From there we are taken abruptly to somewhere in Asia where Bruce, now in his late 20's seems to be in some sort of prison. He takes on half a dozen assailants with no problem whatsoever, apparently already having studied and mastered some form of martial arts. He is also already very strong as exemplified in the fight. Henri Ducard finds Bruce in prison and gives him some insight into how to direct the guilt and anger that have been driving him since childhood.
Bruce must make his way to a mountaintop enclave of Ra's Al Ghul where he is trained to overcome his fears, learn the battle and stealth skills of Ninjas, and supposedly to join their league which (in their minds) has fought injustice in the world for centuries. All goes well until Bruce is asked to cross a moral line and he refuses.