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"BATMAN BEGINS"
(2005) (Christian Bale, Liam Neeson) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme *Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Action: Following a number of traumatic childhood incidents, a young man grows up to be an unlikely superhero in his battle against crime and injustice.
PLOT:
As an 8-year-old boy, Bruce Wayne (GUS LEWIS) seemed to have everything -- family riches beyond belief and a pair of loving parents in Thomas (LINUS ROACHE) and Martha (SARA STEWART) who didn't mind that their son was now terrified of bats following an accidental encounter with a swarm of them. Another unexpected incident, however, left Bruce orphaned. Although he was cared for and raised by the family butler, Alfred (MICHAEL CAINE), and had access to a seemingly endless supply of money, his parents' murders left a stain on his psyche that he can't shake.

Now, years later, Bruce's home city of Gotham is overrun by corruption ranging from bad cops such as Flass (MARK BOONE JUNIOR), to crime lord Carmine Falcone (TOM WILKINSON) and his mental practitioner crony Dr. Jonathan Crane (CILLIAN MURPHY) who gets criminals off on insanity pleas when not planning his own scheme to deal the city another serious blow.

After Falcone informs Bruce (CHRISTIAN BALE) that he could never understand the criminal world, the young man sets out to figure out the ways of the criminal mind, and gets himself thrown into a remote Asian prison. It's there that he draws the attention of Ra's Al Ghul (KEN WATANABE) and his front man Ducard (LIAM NEESON) who sense potential in Bruce and then train him to join their League of Shadows. It's an age-old, secret organization that rids the world of corruption and decadence. Having taken down the likes of Constantinople and Rome eons ago, they've now set their sights on Gotham.

Wanting justice rather than revenge, Bruce breaks free from them and returns to Gotham, desirous of cleaning up the place. With the aid of Alfred and Lucius Fox (MORGAN FREEMAN) from his own company's Applied Sciences division, Bruce sets out to turn himself into a superhero of sorts. To Rachel Dawes (KATIE HOLMES) -- his childhood friend who's grown up into the assistant DA -- he's just a billionaire playboy without a care in the world, and for Mr. Earle (RUTGER HAUER) who now runs Wayne Enterprises, he's an inconvenience, albeit a manageable one.

In the guise of Batman, however, he's a mysterious vigilante to Flass' honest cop partner Jim Gordon (GARY OLDMAN), and the worst nightmare to the likes of Falcone and others. Yet, as a mysterious figure known as The Scarecrow begins to make his move on the city with his powerful, hallucinogenic drug, Bruce must use every resource in his repertoire to save the day and the residents of Gotham.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Most probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays the billionaire heir and covert superhero who channels his guilt, fear and anger over events in his childhood into a need to clean up crime in his home city. He ends up fighting many villains in his attempt to put them out of business.
  • MICHAEL CAINE plays his trustworthy family butler who assists him in his transformation into a crime-fighter.
  • LIAM NEESON plays Bruce's vigilante-minded mentor who teaches him how to overcome his fear, but is determined to wipe the slate clean in Gotham (meaning killing everyone there).
  • KATIE HOLMES plays Bruce's childhood friend and current assistant D.A. who thinks most everyone in the city is corrupt and sees Bruce as just a billionaire playboy.
  • GARY OLDMAN plays perhaps the only honest cop in Gotham who tries to figure out who and what Batman really is.
  • CILLIAN MURPHY plays a mental health practitioner known for his abuse of insanity pleas who has a secret identity as The Scarecrow and uses his hallucinogenic drug on various people to control and/or send them off in a psychotic fury.
  • TOM WILKINSON plays the local crime boss who controls most of Gotham and revels in the fact that he's above the law.
  • RUTGER HAUER plays the chairman of the board of Wayne Enterprises who isn't happy to see that Bruce has returned from the dead (Alfred told everyone he had died).
  • KEN WATANABE plays the leader of a covert operation determined to carry out their eons-old pledge to wipe cultural and criminal scourges off the face of the planet.
  • MORGAN FREEMAN plays a former board member who's been relegated to babysitting all sorts of weaponry and gadgets in Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences division. He becomes a key ally in helping turn Bruce into Batman.
  • GUS LEWIS plays Bruce at the age of eight who has a fear of bats and then harbors guilt that he's responsible for his parents' deaths.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic action flick that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of a number of mild expletives (and 1 use of "G-damn" for those concerned with such religious phrases), while various colorful phrases are also uttered. Some women are briefly seen in tight/short attire, while the shape of a woman's nipples can be seen under her blouse.

    Violence consists of all sorts of action-style violence, with several murders (by gunfire and possibly by explosions, etc.), while all sorts of standard and more severe fighting (with brutal punches, kicks, etc. delivered to opponents) also occurs.

    Some of those scenes have mildly bloody scenes (while several drug-induced visions show maggots on a person's masked face), and they, other moments of peril and various monstrous images may be unsettling, suspenseful or even scary to some viewers (mostly the very young and those with low tolerance levels for that). Some of the material may be enticing for some kids to imitate, while all of the villains, corrupt people and vigilantes have extreme bad attitudes.

    Various characters react to being drugged by others (with some sort of hallucinogen), while there's talk of a criminal drug trade and some characters drink or have drinks in front of them (with one acting drunk to get his guests to leave his manor). A boy sees his parents murdered in front of him and then carries feelings of guilt and anger into his adulthood, while other thematic issues include topics such as justice vs. vigilantism, fear and more.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there is a lot of fast camera movement and quick cuts throughout the film that may cause such a reaction in some viewers (while one scene shows slightly pulsating visual images that might do the same).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We hear that Falcone floods the city with crime and drugs.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a dining establishment.
  • Ducard tells Bruce that as part of his training, "You must journey inside." He then has Bruce breathe in some sort of smoke (presumably a drug since Bruce reacts with flash images and sounds of bats as well as a visually pulsating point of view). The Scarecrow later uses what's presumably the same or something similar to drug others (including many toward the end of the film) in various scenes.
  • We see a drink in front of Alfred.
  • Earle and Bruce have champagne.
  • There's brief talk of the shipment of drugs that Falcone has brought into the city each week.
  • Falcone and Flass have drinks in front of them.
  • Flass sees a drug packet in a stuffed animal toy.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • There's talk of something else being in the drugs smuggled into the city.
  • People have champagne at Bruce's birthday party where he then acts drunkenly to get them to leave (to save their lives from a villain who's just arrived).
  • Later, we see the headline "Drunken billionaire burns down home."
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Bruce has a little blood from his nose after Ducard beats him up.
  • Bruce has a little bit of a bloody lip after being punched.
  • We briefly see a small, bloody cut on a person's skin in their clothing (from where Bruce jabbed a sword during practice).
  • A man appears to have some blood on his shoulder.
  • We see bad bruises on Bruce's arm following a night of crime fighting.
  • Whenever The Scarecrow (a man with a burlap-type mask on his head) sprays others with his hallucinogenic drug, they see monstrous and/or gross visions of his mask-covered head (including with maggots crawling on it, etc.).
  • We hear the sound of a man urinating in an empty canister.
  • We see a large blood stain on Bruce's shirt.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of the film's various villains and corrupt characters have extreme bad attitudes, while others, such as Flass, are corrupt individuals.
  • Ducard and company have decided to wipe out Gotham and its populace in a means of wiping the slate clean of all corruption and crime.
  • Flass takes money from a street vendor after buying something from him.
  • Villains let all of Gotham's prisoners loose.
  • A young boy is panicked when he can't find his mom at night in the city, but a SWAT member simply pushes him away by the face.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material, but probably not to many others.
  • 8-year-old Bruce accidentally falls down into a hidden well and lands at the bottom (we later hear he broke a bone) where he senses that something is over in a dark tunnel/cave leading away from where he is. Suddenly, an immense swarm of bats flies at him and then out the well opening.
  • While watching a darkly theatrical opera, 8-yeard-old Bruce becomes scared by large, bat-like figures in the show.
  • A man robs Bruce's family at gunpoint. Bruce's father drops his wallet and the robber bends down to get it, but then shoots the father when he makes a move and then shoots the mother as well (thus Bruce sees his parents die in front of him).
  • We see Bruce concealing a handgun up his sleeve as he waits for his parents' murderer to approach after being freed in a court case. A gunshot then rings out and the man falls to the floor (no blood), but it was someone else who shot him.
  • Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul want Bruce to execute a criminal by beheading him to prove that Bruce's training is complete. Bruce refuses, but instead hits something with his sword that then catches Ra's Al Ghul's palace on fire. Bruce and Ra's Al Ghul then battle with swords (hitting and kicking each between sword swings), while various explosions from gunpowder blast various other men aside. Part of the ceiling ends up falling on Ra's Al Ghul, while an explosion blasts Bruce (carrying Ducard) outside. The two then rapidly slide downhill across some ice and toward a precipice where Bruce races to catch up with Ducard, barely catching him in time (with Ducard dangling below him and Bruce holding on with just one hand before pulling him up).
  • Bruce rappels down into the childhood well that scared and scarred him so badly as a kid, but is now no longer frightened by it or the bats inside it.
  • Two assassins are after Rachel when she gets off the train, but one runs away when he sees Batman beating up the other.
  • Whenever The Scarecrow (a man with a burlap-type mask on his head) sprays others with his hallucinogenic drug, they see monstrous and/or gross visions of his mask-covered head (including with maggots crawling on it, etc.). Some of those sights (including that of monsters -- see below) may be disturbing or even scary to some younger viewers.
  • Batman zips Flass up and then down on a line alongside a building to get him to talk. He then drops him fast toward the street, but stops him a few feet short of hitting.
  • Batman hits two goons, but the Scarecrow gets his hallucinogenic dust in Batman's face. As a result, Batman sees maggots on the doc's mask as well as bats flying out from it. Doc then sets Batman on fire and the latter then falls from the building (still on fire) and lands hard on the street below where he manages to put himself out, but his costume is rather singed.
  • After Crane shows Rachel what's really occurring in the city, she tries to flee in an elevator, but he's quickly there, gets the hallucinogenic dust in her face and she then sees maggots on his mask.
  • Batman sprays the hallucinogenic drug into Crane's face, causing him to see Batman's mask as a monstrous apparition. Batman then slams him back against a wall to knock him out.
  • Batman races to get Rachel back to the bat cave to get her an antidote to the hallucinogenic drug or she'll die.
  • For those afraid of bats, various scenes feature them swarming around various characters, often in huge numbers.
  • The batmobile drives over a cop car while trying to escape. During a subsequent chase that lasts for a few minutes and may be suspenseful to some viewers, it causes all sorts of property damage (smashing through things, blowing up walls with explosives, driving across rooftops with related damage, etc.), while various cop cars crash or flip on the road.
  • Batman starts to fight some goons that have set his manor on fire, but a burning beam falls on him, knocking him unconscious. The manor is later completely engulfed in flames, with pieces of it collapsing.
  • Under the effects of the hallucinogenic drug, Flass nearly shoots two people, but Det. Gordon knocks him out just in time.
  • With many people under the effects of the hallucinogenic drug, we see various visions of monstrous faces, as well as a man on horseback where flames are coming from the horse's nose.
  • A man with a knife threatens Rachel and a boy, and she aims a gun at him, but Batman arrives and takes out the gunmen.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Swords/Missiles/Hallucinogenic drugs: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Why do you give a damn?" "What the hell /do I care/was that/is that/is this?" "Just some nut," "What the hell are you? -- "I am Batman," "G*ddamn Salvation Army," "Nuthouse," "I gotta get me one of these," "You sycophantic suck-ups," "Bloody" (adjective) and "Who the hell authorized this?"
  • All of the action, fighting and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Hoping to be arrested so that he'll go to prison and thus learn the criminal mindset, young Bruce shoplifts and then steals some materials from his own company.
  • We see some miscellaneous graffiti.
  • Two young women with Bruce decide to get into a small fountain at an event and Bruce then joins them (to play up his playboy image to fool others).
  • Some men spread a flammable liquid around a room to burn up any evidence of a criminal plan.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Various flash images of bats might be startling to some viewers.
  • A large number of bats suddenly fly out from a box that's just been opened.
  • Several outdoor light bulbs suddenly burst (from Batman throwing a device that hits them).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 8 hells, 4 damns, 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 crap and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Jesus" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see two young and attractive ladies with Bruce, and they're wearing short and tight skirts.
  • We see Bruce shirtless.
  • Rachel and Bruce briefly kiss.
  • We see the shape of Rachel's nipples under the blouse she's wearing.
  • SMOKING
  • Some miscellaneous smoking occurs in a restaurant/bar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A man robs Bruce's family at gunpoint. Bruce's father drops his wallet and the robber bends down to get it, but then shoots the father when he makes a move and then shoots the mother as well (thus Bruce sees his parents die in front of him).
  • We see then some people milling about right after the subsequent funeral.
  • 8-year-old Bruce thinks that his parents' deaths were his fault (since he made them leave the opera into a back alley where a mugger killed them).
  • Ducard states that his wife was taken from him in the past (meaning she was murdered).
  • Bruce attends the murder trial of the man who killed his parents.
  • We see a quick flashback of Bruce's parents being murdered (he sees it too).
  • A young boy is panicked when he can't find his mom at night in the city, but a SWAT member simply pushes him away by the face.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The difference between justice and revenge.
  • The notion of conquering one's fear.
  • The comment that all creatures feel fear.
  • 8-year-old Bruce thinks that his parents' deaths were his fault (since he made them leave the opera into a back alley where a mugger killed them).
  • Ducard telling Bruce that his father's death was a result of the father failing to act (in the robbery situation that resulted in his death).
  • The comment that anger equals power, but that the latter will destroy you if you let it.
  • Criminals striking deals for reduced or eliminated sentences for ratting out others.
  • The question of what chance does a city have when good people do nothing to stop the crime and other problems.
  • Falcone tells Bruce that he (Bruce) has never tasted desperate, that he doesn't understand their criminal world, and that people fear what they don't understand.
  • The notion that compassion separates heroes from criminals.
  • Ducard's belief that justice is corrupt and thus vigilantism and other such extremes much be utilized to eliminate criminal problems.
  • The comment that it's what you do rather than say that determines who you are.
  • There's talk that Falcone tried to slit his wrists and we then see him with bandages on his wrists, but he's only done so for insanity plea purposes.
  • Alfred tells Bruce, "You're getting lost in this monster of yours."
  • VIOLENCE
  • 8-year-old Bruce accidentally falls down into a hidden well and lands at the bottom (we later hear he broke a bone).
  • In a far off prison, a prisoner confronts Bruce and then punches him twice. Bruce then hits that man back two times, while a general fight breaks out where he punches and otherwise hits various prisoners (with some bone-crunching sounds being heard). A guard then fires a machine gun into the air to break up the melee and we then see a guard push Bruce into a cell.
  • Bruce is thrown from a moving prison truck when freed from the institution (he lands hard on the road but is otherwise okay).
  • Ducard pushes Bruce to the floor, kicks him, and they then spar with more hitting and other blows, including Ducard appearing to head-butt Bruce.
  • A man robs Bruce's family at gunpoint. Bruce's father drops his wallet and the robber bends down to get it, but then shoots the father when he makes a move and then shoots the mother as well (thus Bruce sees his parents die in front of him).
  • Bruce does some brief sword sparing with Ducard.
  • Bruce does more training with Ducard and gets the worse of the wear, with some hard impact to his body from Ducard. We later see more of the same with Ducard beating up Bruce with various blows.
  • We see Bruce concealing a handgun up his sleeve as he waits for his parents' murderer to approach after being freed in a court case. A gunshot then rings out and the man falls to the floor (no blood), but it was someone else who shot him.
  • Rachel twice slaps Bruce when he shows her that he had a gun he was going to use on his parents' murderer.
  • Some of Falcone's thugs violently frisk Bruce, and one pushes him to a chair. Falcone then holds his gun on Bruce to prove a point about the above-the-law power he possesses. Moments later, Falcone's goons grab Bruce and punch him, and we then see them throwing him from an establishment.
  • Bruce does more brief sparring with Ducard among a group of men.
  • Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul want Bruce to execute a criminal by beheading him to prove that Bruce's training is complete. Bruce refuses, but instead hits something with his sword that then catches Ra's Al Ghul's palace on fire. Bruce and Ra's Al Ghul then battle with swords (hitting and kicking each between sword swings), while various explosions from gunpowder blast various other men aside. Part of the ceiling ends up falling on Ra's Al Ghul, while an explosion blasts Bruce (carrying Ducard) outside.
  • Det. Gordon chases Batman with his gun drawn, but Bruce jumps across from one building to another, landing hard on the fire escape and crashing down several levels before catching himself.
  • Several outdoor light bulbs suddenly burst (from Batman throwing a device that hits them).
  • We hear the sound of Batman swooping in and taking out one bad guy at night. Another man fires his machine gun at Batman who avoids the gunfire and quickly grabs another guy in passing. We then see various quick views of Batman hitting many goons.
  • Two assassins are after Rachel when she gets off the train, but one runs away when he sees Batman beating up the other.
  • We see a flashback to two men attacking and knocking out or killing two men on a cargo ship to steal a desired weapon.
  • One or more cops shoot the district attorney in the back (no blood), killing him.
  • Batman hits two goons, but the Scarecrow gets his hallucinogenic dust in Batman's face. As a result, Batman sees maggots on the doc's mask as well as bats flying out from it. Doc then sets Batman on fire and the latter then falls from the building (still on fire) and lands hard on the street below where he manages to put himself out, but his costume is rather singed.
  • We see a quick flashback of Bruce's parents being murdered (he sees it too).
  • Batman hits, knocks around and otherwise fights several armed goons (with some of their guns firing during the attack, including one goon accidentally being shot in the foot by one).
  • Batman sprays the hallucinogenic drug into Crane's face, causing him to see Batman's mask as a monstrous apparition. Batman then slams him back against a wall to knock him out.
  • Batman uses some explosives to blow open doors and/or walls to escape.
  • The batmobile drives over a cop car while trying to escape. During a subsequent chase that lasts for a few minutes and may be suspenseful to some viewers, it causes all sorts of property damage (smashing through things, blowing up walls with explosives, driving across rooftops with related damage, etc.), while various cop cars crash or flip on the road.
  • A man hits another man in the face.
  • Batman starts to fight some goons that have set his manor on fire, but a burning beam falls on him, knocking him unconscious. The manor is later completely engulfed in flames, with pieces of it collapsing.
  • Alfred knocks out a goon so that he can rescue Batman.
  • Some cops tackle an escaped prisoner.
  • A young boy is panicked when he can't find his mom at night in the city, but a SWAT member simply pushes him away by the face.
  • Under the effects of the hallucinogenic drug, Flass nearly shoots two people, but Det. Gordon knocks him out just in time.
  • Rachel shocks a man with her personal zapper.
  • A man with a knife threatens Rachel and a boy, and she aims a gun at him, but Batman arrives and takes out the gunmen.
  • Batman fights four highly trained fighters, resulting in all sorts of brutal punches, kicks and other such impact.
  • Drugged people surround and attack Batman who manages to escape by snaring a line on a fast moving train that he's pulled behind through the air (and he smashes through various structures along the way).
  • Batman fights a villain in a fast-moving train, with various severe blows and while avoiding the villain swinging his blade at him.
  • Det. Gordon shoots explosives at the supports of a train bridge in hopes of bringing it down. He's eventually successful, with the train careening off the broken track, falling several stories and then exploding, along with another explosion of the weapon that was onboard it (and one man is presumably killed).



  • Reviewed June 8, 2005/ Posted June 15, 2005

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