Batman Begins (trailers here), which opens in traditional and IMAX theaters June 15, is an an “intellectual action epic” which “respectfully ignores” the four previous Batman films and tells the story from the dark mythic beginning once again with more character and less whizbang action than its big-budget predecessors, according the film’s star, British actor Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Machinist, Empire of the Sun, Reign of Fire).
Batman Begins — directed by quirky Christopher Nolan of Memento and Insomnia fame, and with a stellar supporting cast including Katie Holmes (Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend, now a district attorney), Oscar winners Michael Caine (the new Alfred!) and Morgan Freeman (cool gadget invertor), and Oscar nominees Liam Neeson (Batman’s shadowy guru) and Gary Oldman (incorruptible detective) — “began” last night with its Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Holmes arrived with her extremely public boyfriend Tom Cruise in tow, and despite some untoward scene-chewing by Cruise, who mugged, grinned and signed autographs despite his total lack of involvement with the film, all were quite pleased with the reception the film has received, with the premiere crowd wowed and reviewers calling it “menacing” and “truly scary,” and Bale, the “greatest Batman ever.”
According the the film’s website, which thankfully makes Flash presentation optional, “Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight’s emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents’ murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.
“He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.”
Back to Bale, 31, who many insiders are saying could well be launched into major stardom by this role, and who had some interesting things to say about his Batmanly predecessors on film and television in an interview with SciFi.com.
“I don’t feel like Batman’s ever really been defined in any portrayal, so I felt like this was an opportunity to finally do that, in regards to way that Bob Kane originally intended it when he wrote it in 1939,” Bale said. “He intended it as being a dark and terrifying and intimidating character. It’s kind of ended up being spoofed more. And then there’s great material in the newer graphic novels of Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. So the source material is right there, and I just don’t think it was ever taken advantage of until now.”
A nice breakdown of the characters in the film is here.