The new Batman movie, the first since Joel Schumacher ruined the franchise eight years ago, can basically be divided into two separate movies. The first part plays out almost like an episode of Lost, unfortunately of the second season variety, where Bruce Wayne finds himself in the Himalaya region where he is recruited by, Henri Ducard played by Liam Neeson in full Qui-Gon Jinn mode with Wayne as his apprentice, to join his League of Shadows. And the training sessions, with its clichéd metaphors, are peppered with a younger Bruce Wayne, showing what in his life led him to this point. These flashbacks also lead to some revisionist flashbacks most notable that The Joker was not the one who killed Wayne’s parents nor did the killer even mutter the phrase, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
The first act is saved by the closing fight sequence between Wayne and the villain of the first half of the film, Ra’s Al Ghul played by Ken Watanabe from The Last Samurai. It seems as if Ken was cast solely for the fight sequence because his role is quite limited in the movie.
After his exile in Tibet, Wayne finally arrives back in Gotham to start the second act. It starts out slowly as Wanye starts to create his Batman alter ego with Batsuit, which we don’t get to see until an hour into the movie, and Batmobile, which is now a tank rather than the classic sports car from past incarnations of the franchise. The villain of the second act is one of my favorite from the Batman mythology, the Scarecrow, second after the Penguin. But much like how the ruined the Penguin in Batman Returns, the Scarecrow is usually seen as his alter ego, Dr. Jonathan Crane, both played by Cillian Murphy, no relation tom Eddie or Charlie, and his only rarely puts the mask on. And when he permanently turns into the Scarecrow, he only makes a small cameo in the final epic battle.
In the final battle, they tie in both first and second acts well including a plot twist that I never saw coming. The acting is top notch, but that happens when your supporting cast includes Neeson, Watanabe, Micheal Caine as Alfred, Morgan Feeman as scientist Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman as not quite yet Commissioner Gordon. Christian Bale, who I will always remember as the title character from American Psycho, is Bruce Wayne, which he does a good job at. But, like his predecessors, I really don’t think he does a god job as Batman. Katie Holmes, most known as Tom Cruise’s latest promotional tool, plays the token love interest who, like all of Batman's love interest not named Catwoman, is one-dimentional.
Since I divided the film into two acts, I would give the first act a TA:Elevated while the second act would get a TA:Severe, and as a whole:
Batman Begins get a on my Terror Alert Scale.