After the putrid neon circus of Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Brothers suspended the Batman movie franchise, but eventually psychological noir director Christopher Nolan (Memento) persuaded the studio to go back to square one with a realistic treatment of the crime fighter's creation myth. Christian Bale, last seen as a 121-pound stick figure in The Machinist, has returned to a healthy weight and gives the Caped Crusader an air of grim obsession that's particularly welcome after George Clooney's head wagging in the previous movie. Budgeted at $180 million, this 2005 release is too lavish for a noir, too long for a comic-book adventure, and too constrained by box-office expectations to do anything interesting with its vigilante hero. But there are strong turns by Michael Caine as Alfred the butler and Tom Wilkinson as a ruthless crime boss.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David Goyer
Producer: Michael Uslan, Benjamin Melniker, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Larry J. Franco
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Mark Boone Junior, Linus Roache, Morgan Freeman, Gus Lewis and Sara Stewart