Batman Begins & The Dark Knight boxset review (Blu-ray)

The true scope of Nolan’s vision for the caped crusader will finally be unfurled with the beyond-anticipated release of the final part of his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises.

But for the days left until rabid bat-fever can be properly sated, thirsts can be slaked by revisiting the reboot benchmark with this bundled Blu-ray boxset of 2005’s triumphant Batman Begins (★★★★) and 2008’s knockout The Dark Knight (★★★★½), boasting Bale’s definitive Bruce Wayne and brooding, brutal alter ego.

It’s only the individually available Blu-rays packaged together, but if you don’t own them, this dynamic duo is an essential purchase. Knight may be the blockbuster phenom of the pair – complete with the late, great Ledger’s career-topping turn as the Al Qaeda-styled Joker – but it’s big bro Begins that’s a truer Batman film, complete with a gloomy, gothic Gotham that gets sidelined for the neo-terrorist trappings of the sequel.

That said, Knight’s IMAX augmented transfer is an eye-popping home-HD feast, while Begins looks a little muted (it’s the same transfer at the defunct HD DVD edition, so doesn’t take full advantage of blue disc’s greater capacity).

EXTRAS ★★★½ Begins boasts more bat features with its in-movie featurette experience, even if the inclusion of Dark Knight’s prologue draws redundant attention to this only being a reissue. Knight’s selection was disappointingly spare three years ago, so still leaves you wanting – what’s there is decent enough if EPK-tinged (and best viewed in the quasi picture-in-picture mode) but where’s the feature on how they designed the Joker or executed Two Face’s gnarled visage? But then, Nolan does like to preserve his mystery and magic as much as possible. This set is clearly a mop up release, but it’s a damn fine one if you’ve got a Bale-sized Bat gap on your shelf. Here’s hoping we can expect a fully equipped, comprehensive boxset once Dark Knight Rises pummels its way into living rooms this Christmas.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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