Christian Bale. Michael Caine. Morgan Freeman. Liam Neeson. Gary Oldman.
They make up one of the more impressive casts in this year's crop of summer movies. And they're the primary reason I enjoyed "Batman Begins," which comes to theaters next Wednesday.
Bale makes a suave and occasionally scary Batman; his muscular frame also fills out the suit remarkably well. Caine (who plays Alfred) and Freeman provide most of the humor, tossing off one-liner after one-liner with their usual comedic class.
How's Katie Holmes, you ask? She delivers a respectable performance, though I thought it was weird when she delivered an out-of-left field monologue about scientology.
Just kidding, she doesn't do that. But she does randomly stare into the camera at least once and declare her undying love for Tom Cruise.
Just kidding, she doesn't do that either. Actually, it's unfortunate that the TomKat craze has made such an impact that the first thing you think of when she appears onscreen is her relationship with Mr. Jerry Maguire. That's probably not the effect an actor wants to have on an audience.
"Batman Begins" does have its drawbacks. The beginning was a little slow (though necessary to the storyline) and some of the dialogue can get a bit dippy. There are one too many attempts by various characters to wax profound on the concept of fear: "You must become the thing you fear the most," "The only thing to fear is fear itself," "'Fear Factor' is a really awesome show, Batman," etc. But on the whole, I thought it was dark, entertaining, comic-booky fun. It's certainly the best "Batman" since Tim Burton's 1989 take on the superhero, although "Batman Begins" would have been improved exponentially by a theme song recorded by Prince. But then, that's true of most movies.
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