starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes
screenplay by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
directed by Christopher Nolan
by Walter Chaw It's perhaps only right that in a year that has seen Robert Rodriguez present a scary-faithful adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City, Christopher Nolan should re-envision (and revitalize) the Batman film franchise with a picture, Batman Begins, that at last captures the pitch blackness of Miller's seminal graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (itself a re-envisioning and revitalization of Batman for its time). Batman Begins is to Tim Burton's Batman films as Burton's films are to Adam West's camp-classic television series, so drastically have Nolan and co-scriptor David S. Goyer de-fabulized the mythology. Compare, for starters, a sequence in the 1989 film where Batman shines a little penlight in the eyes of an over-curious lady-fair while chauffeuring her in the Batmobile to the modern iteration in which Batman trashes the Gotham police force en route to getting a young lady an antidote to a concentrated militarized hallucinogen that, unchecked, could inspire her to rip her own face off.