this weekend i re-watched the movie batman begins and was inspired by it. again. while most of the batman movies seem to be about designing the most outlandish villains who use the most over-the-top gadgets which are only rivaled by batman's ridiculous toys, this movie stands out with a very different and refreshing approach. if you allow yourself into the story, you will almost forget that batman isn't real. director christopher nolan has created a gotham city, a set of villains, a batman and a story that feels very real. other than the last twenty minutes or so of the film which seem to devolove into more traditional comic-book-movie fare, this is an excellent movie that rises above its genre because of the strength of the story and the believability of the character, his gadgets, and his battle.
but even more than the pure entertainment value of the story, there are some really great questions that this film raises. what is the difference between justice and revenge? one of the villains makes it very clear that showing compassion is a weakness. and yet batman believes that there is some strength, or at least some value, in showing compassion.
another great theme of the movie is a question that bruce wayne's father asks him and that is echoed throughout the story: "why do we fall? to learn to pick ourselves up." while i struggle a little with the theological implications of 'picking ourselves up' as if works could save us, i love the idea of our own fallings and failings being only a part - an essential part - of our journey. this batman is no caricature with really cool toys. despite his costume, he is an everyman, trying to make sense of his own pain and loss, trying to live a just and honorable life, and trying to learn from his own failure. you might think that a batman movie is just going to be all "bams" and "pows," but this one will actually inspire you to use what you've been given and make a difference.