BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan; the Savior, according to fanboys.
Real World Events: Second term of Bush II. War on Terror continues. Ronald Reagan still dead. Late Registration. Iraq. The Pope dies, Emperor Palpatine replaces him. North Korea has nukes. London terror attacks. Tomkat.
Comic World Events: The whole DC Universe is in an uproar after the discovery that a B-level super villain raped the Elongated Man's wife. Batman has been mind-wiped to cover it up, and the very fabric of reality unravels&ldots; The usual.
Gotham City Style: Chicago, with a few moments of lucidity when our hero travels to the poorer areas of town. It's the first realistic modern setting. Also, the Batman gets globalized as Bruce travels to Nepal to be trained by the League of Shadows before becoming the Caped Crusader.
Under The Cowl: Christian Bale, who looks great in the suit and is a fantastic Bruce Wayne, but his Batman voice sounds like he's had a larygectomy.
Sidekick/Love Interest: Rachael Dawes (Katie Holmes). Everyone thought her marriage to Tom Cruise would improve the grosses. HA!
Bat-Gadgets: The tumbler (the new military-style Batmobile and not the blog); a new grappling hook; a cape that allows Batman to "fly."
Villains: The devil himself, a.k.a. Ra's Al-Ghul, played by Liam Neeson and Ken Watanabe; the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). They attempt to spread terror by introducing a toxin into the air. Kind of like Fox news.
Bad/Bat line: "DO I LOOK LIKE A COP?"
Cowl Rating/Phoenix Crix Picks: Three cowls. "[T]he ultimate adversary is terror: illusory, ubiquitous, irrational."
Cowl rating/Nick's Pix: Three cowls. Great start to new trilogy; the design, performances; and spectacle make up for plot holes and implausibility.