Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight\'s emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents\' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.

Finally Batman has been rescued from the dreadful legacy left by the previous films.

There\'s no denying when Tim Burton unleashed the first live action Batman movie on the world back in 1989, that it changed the face of the modern blockbuster. With an unprecedented advance publicity campaign it was a huge hit for studio Warner Bros, reinventing comedian Michael Keaton as a dramatic actor and (the artist formerly known as) Prince as a movie soundtrack composer. Alas, the subsequent sequels Burton\'s own Batman Returns (1992), and the Joel Schumacher-directed Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997) - ground the franchise into the ground, turning it into an over-blown, high-camp laughing stock.

While the first film wasn\'t great, its design and ambitions were, a kind of hybrid between Batman\'s darker, 1980s graphic novel identity and the camp 1960s TV show. The latter three sequels were progressively more terrible, degenerating into the worst type of Hollywood movie: laughable scripts, bad casting, existing only for the lucrative merchandising tie-ins that the first film had pioneered so aggressively. So British director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) had his work cut out for him when he got the nod to bring prequel Batman Begins to the big screen. He and script writer David S. Goyer (Blade 3: Trinity) deliver a very different type of movie that takes the Dark Knight back to the very beginning.

We first meet Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) as a listless 20-something, roaming the world. Having seen his parents killed as a child, Bruce is desperate to not only come to terms with himself but the presence of evil in the world. On his travels he meets Ducard (Liam Neeson) who recruits him into martial arts group, The League Of Shadows. His training complete, Bruce returns to Gotham City, determined to rid his hometown of the crime wave poisoning its very core. Batman is born and heaven help the bad guys?The first thing that needs to be said here is thank you, thank you Christopher Nolan and David Goyer for rescuing Batman from the dreadful legacy left by the previous films, and returning him to his true comic book origins.

Batman Begins especially harks back to the 1980s/90s period of graphic novels where Batman was transformed into a more human anti-hero in Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns and Arkham Asylum. This is one helluva movie, dark, realistic, exciting and meaningful, with well-drawn characters that we see evolve over the course of the film. Christian Bale has got to be the best Batman yet, striking a perfect balance between the dual identity of Batman and Bruce Wayne. The rest of the predominantly UK cast shine as well.Tom Wilkinson is terrific as Gotham crime boss Carmine Falcone, as is Gary Oldman playing the pre-Commissioner Sgt. Gordon. Batman Begins takes us on a most excellent journey through personal suffering, visceral action and moral turbulence. It\'s a unique comic book adaptation, and thank goodness someone finally got it right after all these years?