|The negotiations were short.|
Batman Begins is an epic, but also flawed film. Its' direction is certainly the best and most refined that the Batman series has had, but the plot hole problem hasn't gotten any better and the characters have gone from underwritten to almost overwritten.
After the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents(not by Jack Napier), he goes off on a seven-year long journey to understand the criminal mind and learn to counteract it. He does this by learning from Ra's Al Ghul(what an odd name), who teaches him how to take advantage of fear.
Wayne returns to Gotham City(which now looks like an oppressive version of Superman's Metropolis) and the journey of Batman begins.
The action is superb. Christian Bale does a fantastic job balancing all the sides of Wayne's personality and also presenting each one as unique. I don't think he beats Michael Keaton, though as he lacks in gravitas and doesn't have the same likability.
Cillian Murphy is sinister and flippant as the Scarecrow and a fine villain.
Liam Neeson is brilliant as Ra's Al Ghul and the first complex bad guy in the movie series. There's a certain unease you feel watching him and yet at the same time, his presence generates warmth. You want to like him even though you know you can't.
I also loved Gary Oldman as Gordon, certainly an improvement over the last guy. A real down-to-earth guy who is devoted to justice and has a friend(though neither would admit it) in Batman, but doesn't overly rely on him.
Michael Caine is also great, if slightly on-the-nose as Alfred. I think he and Gough are on the same level.
My favourite character though, was Earle since he was genuinely a nice guy, but took the oppurtunity for personal success over Wayne's legacy. He felt real and multilayered, not a villain.
The film's writing, although brilliant on paper, has some drawbacks. All of the actors bring their A-game and make their dialogue sound real, but it nags me how apparently everyone is a psychologist in the Nolanverse.
Like in Burton's films, there are several scenes which just don't make any sense(like how the mob boss's driver died when Batman couldn't have possibly been there to murder him), some of the action was hard to follow and the character of Rachel(whose name took me five seconds to remember) felt pointless.
Gotham City still has that dark, overbearing personality it's supposed to, but I liked the Burton design better. But that's a matter of personal preference.
The Tumbler is pretty awesome, but again, the Batmobile(the Burton version) is way cooler.
Overall, it's a welcome addition to the Batman universe and sets up the next film nicely, but as a stand-alone, it's not too significant.