The Best Batman Movie Is Also The Most Underrated

By Christopher Isaac | Published

Arguing about which Batman movie is the best is a bit like debating which version of Robin was Bruce Wayne’s best sidekick. There are such strong options that you can make a strong case for most of them. But my personal favorite is one that often flies under a lot of people’s radars: Batman Begins.

Batman Begins Is The Best

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You say this to most people, and they will immediately argue that The Dark Knight is better. I can certainly understand that perspective.

Heath Ledger delivered a career-defining performance as The Joker that really cemented the movie as a classic. But the thing is, when you look past The Joker scenes in The Dark Knight, I think Batman Begins has it beat as a better all-around film.

For one, Batman Begins has the best depiction of Batman’s origin story put to film. It would have to be a severely damaged person to turn to becoming some recluse obsessed with stopping criminals.

Other Movies Gloss Over The Tragedy

In Batman Begins, we truly see the impact the murder of Bruce’s parents has on him, with it being something he can’t move past even into adulthood. After freezing up in a plan to kill Carmine Falcone for his role in everything, Bruce exiles himself, no longer feeling he has a place in what he sees society has become.

Other Batman movies tend to gloss over the tragedy of what Bruce endured to hurry up to the action of a masked hero beating people up. But Batman Begins gives you sympathy even for one of the richest men in the country.

And then we find out exactly how he became such a proficient fighter through his training with The League of Shadows. It does the best job of any Batman movie for laying the groundwork for his character.

Bruce Wayne And Batman Balance

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For people who still feel The Dark Knight is better, I feel like Christopher Nolan struck a better balance between Bruce Wayne and Batman in the first movie. From the second movie of the trilogy onward, Christian Bale’s Batman voice became over the top to the point of being the subject of a lot of jokes. Batman Begins managed to keep the character from feeling over the top.

Great Villains In Batman Begins

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And while I’ll concede The Joker was the Nolan trilogy’s best overall villain, Batman Begins did the best at juggling all of its villains.

Liam Neeson was a strong take as the main villain of Ra’s al Ghul, but the side villains were great as well.

Carmine Falcone was played perfect for Bruce’s first true test as a crime fighter. And Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow managed to be creepy and unnerving as a more sophisticated enemy.

Consistent All The Way Through

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I think even fans who prefer either of Nolan’s other two Batman movies will admit the villains are uneven.

The Joker was great in The Dark Knight, but by the time Harvey Dent became Two-Face, he had too little screen time to really come into his own. And while Bane in The Dark Knight Rises seemed poised to deliver a character arc almost as good as The Joker’s, he was immediately discarded as unimportant once Talia al Ghul was revealed as the true villain in an infamously bad performance.

Batman Begins is the only movie that is consistently good all the way through.

A Fresh And Innovative Take On Batman

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I can acknowledge some of the other Nolan films or other Batman movies in general might have higher highs, but Batman Begins is just solid from start to finish.

It was a fresh, innovative take on superheroes, had memorable, grounded villains, and stuck the landing with its ending.

For the influence it had on making heroes more realistic alone, Batman Begins stands as my favorite Batman movie.