My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 84% Certified Fresh

PLOT: After training with a mentor (Neeson), Bruce Wayne (Bale), a.k.a. Batman, begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption.

WHY IT’S HERE:
Because superhero films don’t get much better than this. Director/co-screenwriter Christopher Nolan put a high-tech sheen on a venerable franchise and injected it with a realism that had only been seen in “legitimate” action thrillers, never in a superhero film. Gone are the cotton-candy colors and neon cityscapes and deliriously over-the-top villains of the Burton/Schumacher Batman films. Nolan gives us a Gotham, and a Batman, shrouded in darkness and a sense of danger missing from the previous films. The origin story of Bruce Wayne is told in great detail, but doesn’t plod. In fact, the entire film is edited in such a way that 140 minutes fly by before you know it. The hand-to-hand fight scenes are a bit chaotic (owing more than a little to the Bourne movies), but they are otherwise incredibly thrilling. Bale makes an extremely effective Bruce Wayne AND Batman, a rare quality. And, oh, that Batmobile is a thing of beauty. It’s nowhere near the comic-book-cool of earlier Batman movies, but it works for this movie: dark, mean, loud, fast. For me, this film really captures the way I always thought a Batman movie SHOULD look and feel like. One of the all-time greats.