Ebert and Roeper nailed it right on the head regarding Batman Begins. This is the one where they finally get it right.
I loved Burton’s first one with Nicholson as the Joker. I loved it, but I couldn’t help but feel that they hadn’t quite gotten it right. They tried too hard to walk the line between the two camps of Batman aesthetics, is it the campy campy of Adam West and Burt Ward, or is it the hard gritty “bats-no-shiv” of Frank Miller? The compromise was interesting, and fellow Kent State alum Keaton surprised the heck out of me as an effective Batman/Bruce Wayne. But the first Burton effort and all the subsequent movies insisted on keeping the camp.
Batman Begins approaches the myth with the goal of making it as plausible as it possibly can. Sure, you have to suspend disbelief to some extent, but it’s not as wide a chasm as has been with the Batman movies of the ’90s. This movie more effectively drums up the most obvious theme: He’s not imbued with superpowers given to him by a new yellow sun or some horrific freak accident. He’s just a man with a lot of resources and a drive to do what’s right. This superhero gets his super strength by doing a lot of pushups.
Even if you’re not a fan of the Batman story, you probably should go see Batman Begins. One advantage of successfully humanizing Batman and Wayne is that it makes this the most accessible of Hollywood’s efforts to live-action it. This isn’t just a Batman movie. It’s a movie, and when you come out of the theater from it, you’ll feel like you’re supposed to feel when you’ve seen a movie. You’ll feel tired, full of popcorn, sticky-shoed, and a little stupid. And, for at least ten minutes or so, you’ll be convinced that you can leap across rooftops and fight injustice in Gotham City. So, um, you might want to have someone watch you for a little while.