Batman Begins (2005) Poster


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  • Batman Begins harks back to Batman's beginnings from the time that young Bruce saw his parents brutally murdered by mugger Joe Chill (Richard Brake). After studying martial arts in Asia with Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), second in command to Râ's al Ghûl (Ken Watanabe), leader of the crime-fighting League of Shadows, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) returns to Gotham and transforms himself, with the help of Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), head of the Applied Sciences Department at Wayne Enterprises, into his crime-fighting persona—Batman. And just in time. Overrun with corruption, Gotham City has become rife with criminals such as Mafia don Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) and sinister Doctor Jonathan "The Scarecrow" Crane (Cillian Murphy).

  • The movie is based on characters created by American comic book artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger for DC Comics, first appearing in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939. However, it is said to draw inspiration from several classic comic book storylines such as "The Man Who Falls", "Batman: Year One", and "Batman: The Long Halloween". The screenplay was written by American screenwriter David S. Goyer and British filmmaker Christopher Nolan. It is the first installment in The Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan's Batman trilogy, and it is followed by The Dark Knight (2008) (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (2012).

  • It is recommended that Batman Begins be viewed before watching The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises. Note: Batman Begins is not connected to any of the theatrical incarnations of Batman that came before it. It is a reboot, the beginning of a new series with its own internal continuity, and has no ties to the previous films: neither Tim Burton's—Batman (1989) (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) (1992)—nor Joel Schumacher's films—Batman Forever (1995) (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) (1997). This is made clear by apparent contradictions between the films, such as having Joe Chill, instead of the Joker, kill Bruce Wayne's parents, the new origin of the Bat-Signal, the use of the Joker at the end of the film, and Batman's relationship with Lt. Gordon. However, it is loosely connected to the 2008 direct-to-video, animated movie Batman: Gotham Knight (2008).

  • The film takes place in 2007. In the Gotham Tonight news segments released to promote The Dark Knight it reports on Election '08 and states that the attack on the Narrows (which happens at the end of this film) took place nine months previously.

  • Gotham City is a fictional U.S. port city located on the north-eastern Atlantic coast. It was originally a stand-in for New York City, but has also resembled other crime-ridden urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit. Some sources, including Mayfair Games' authorized (but now out-of-print) Atlas of the DC Universe, have placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey. Christopher Nolan's Gotham City is located in the middle of the estuary of the Liberty River, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates most of Gotham from the mainland. The River Merchant divides Uptown from Midtown, while Midtown is separated from Downtown by the Gotham River. The Narrows is a small island in the Gotham River. A creek divides the district of South Hinkley from the rest of Gotham City. Gotham International Airport is in Pettsburg, to the north of the Liberty River estuary. The current DC Universe version of Gotham City is separated from the mainland by the Gotham River, bridged by a series of bridges and tunnels. The east and south sides of Gotham face the Atlantic Ocean. The city is further divided by the Sprang River (named for Dick Sprang) on the northern end and the Finger River (for Bill Finger) to the south. Tiny Blackgate Isle to the south-east is home to Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. (Blackgate is replaced by Stonegate Penitentiary in the animated series Batman (1992-1995) and its spin-offs.)

  • According the the movie novelization by Batman writer and editor Dennis O'Neil, Bruce spent his first several weeks being beaten on the freighter that he boarded in Gotham City. The ship's bosun provided practical lessons in dirty fighting. Eighteen months after leaving Gotham, Bruce was starving in the African market where he first steals for food. The next day, Bruce got himself hired by a tramp steamer and in the following months saw a lot of Africa and some of Asia. He jumped ship in Marrakesh, slept under a bridge for a couple of nights, and signed onto a tanker bound for the United Kingdom.

    He hung around London long enough to learn something about stealing cars from the ship's cook, then shipped out on a freighter and found himself in Shanghai. One of the deckhands from his last ship had a way to make some quick, easy money, and Bruce was interested. The hijacking in the movie took place in Shanghai. However, according to the novelization, Bruce was actually sent to prison for something else, an unspecified illegal operation in Bhutan. This is where Bruce was imprisoned when he met Ducard. Bruce then trained with the League of Shadows for almost one year (again, according to the movie novelization): "Later, [Bruce] reckoned that he had been at the monastery just under a year and that, after the initial period of adjustment, he was happy in the rambling building above the glacier."

  • No. The buildings were miniatures, and the Batmobile (aka the Tumbler) was a real working prototype. The film had very few CG shots, because the director does not like the use of computer animation in movies. In the DVD, however, it is shown that some shots of Gotham were augmented using CGI, such as the exteriors of the monorail, and the wide-establishing shot of a distant Gotham City was a rendered effect. In addition, there were several miniature models of the Tumbler made for the rooftop chase sequence. The bonus disc of the 2-disc DVD set shows the various stages of production for the Tumbler.

  • As Lucius Fox and the forensic technician in the basement of Arkham both point out, simply spiking the city's drinkable water supply wouldn't be a workable method of distributing an inhalant. Many drugs are effectively deactivated by the digestive system, requiring that they be administered intravenously or via absorption through the lining of the nose, which places it directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract or following the normal path that oxygen does when it's inhaled into the lungs.

  • This subject was actually touched upon in the video game adaptation of the movie, where characters would talk about seeing strange things, etc. and Batman would actually use this to his advantage. Any instance where someone was inhaling water vapor could have caused people to start feeling the effects, such as having a hot shower, boiling a pot of water, tea kettle, etc.. This could be a plot hole, though nothing states that such instances didn't occur offscreen during the course of the film's timeline.

  • There are two possibilities: (1) It's stated in the film that the device uses "focused microwaves" to vaporize an enemy's "water supply." No additional information is given, but apparently the device has a sensing/targeting system of some kind, or was aimed at the underground pipes by its users. If the latter is the case, it might well have killed anyone below the train as it moved across town, though this is never shown. (2) Water inside the human body is not simply liquid stored in a continuous pool; it is compartmentalized and contains a plethora of organic substances, such as large molecules, complex proteins and even entire cells (red blood cells, immune cells, etc.). Perhaps these, as well as cell membranes/organs protect the water in the body from evaporating by absorbing the microwaves, or in some way increasing the bonds between the water molecules strong enough to prevent them from evaporating. In any way, the device would then only affect pools of water with relatively low osmotic pressure, such as water supplies and sewers.

  • There were no indications that Loeb was corrupt, although his comic book counterpart was. The subsequent installment in the series, The Dark Knight, also shows him to be an honest if somewhat ineffectual civil servant.

  • While Flass is the only member of the GCPD actually depicted in the movie as corrupt, a conversation he has with Gordon, where he implies that the other cops are suspicious of him for not being "on the take", certainly indicates that corruption may be rampant in the GCPD. Gordon's dialogue in that scene indicates that there is no point in him reporting Flass anyway, at least suggesting that corruption within the department goes all the way to the top, i.e.: to Commissioner Loeb. However, since Loeb is still the Commissioner in The Dark Knight, and is never actually depicted as being corrupt, this may simply mean that he either turns a blind eye to the corruption of others or refuses to accept the extent of corruption in the department for political reasons. Gordon being partnered with Flass would also suggest that corruption is rife within the GCPD, since Gordon apparently sees no point in switching one corrupt partner for another. However, in his conversation with Bruce Wayne early in the film, Carmine Falcone explicitly states that the mob actually rules Gotham by intimidation, so perhaps the average GCPD officer is simply afraid to carry out his duties properly. This fits the depiction of Gotham's cops in The Dark Knight, most of whom are uncommitted time servers, more interested in going home alive at the end of their shifts than potentially sacrificing themselves in the line of duty.

  • Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul trained Bruce Wayne in combat, ninjutsu, and explained how theatricality and deception were powerful agents to the League of Shadows against their enemies. So after Bruce Wayne escaped the League of Shadows and all of a sudden a man dressed as a giant bat fighting criminals, with ninja-like skills in Gotham City appears; Ra's Al Ghul likely didn't have a hard time figuring it out.

  • Ken Watanabe is credited with playing Râ's al Ghûl. However, Liam Neeson's character, Henri Ducard, is later revealed to be the real Râ's. Some have speculated that because Râ's al Ghûl is Arabic for "The Demon's Head," this was simply a title transferred to Liam Neeson's character after the death of Ken Watanabe's character. But the script makes it quite clear that Neeson was Râ's all along. During the reveal it states, "Ducard (THE REAL RA'S AL GHUL) smiles acknowledgment." Therefore, Watanabe played a decoy, while Neeson played the real Râ's al Ghûl. The credits read as they do so as not to spoil the surprise. According to comic-book sources, the real name of Râ's al Ghûl is lost to history—remembered only by Râ's himself. The only existing history of his prior background simply refers to him as "the Physician".

  • Râ's al Ghûl's age isn't given in Batman Begins; it can be assumed he's Liam Neeson's actual age. He rhetorically asks Bruce Wayne, "is Ra's Al Ghul immortal? Are his methods supernatural?", to which Bruce Wayne replies, "Or cheap parlor tricks to conceal your true identity, Ra's", implying that the League of Shadows is always run by "Ra's Al Ghul" and Henri Ducard just assumed that role from the previous person. Another possibility is that "Henri Ducard" is just an alias and his true name is Râ's al Ghûl and he was using a double to fool any outsiders until they are inducted into the League. The latter seems to be the case as he's only ever referred to as Râ's al Ghûl in The Dark Knight Rises. However, in the Confidential Files found in the extra features of the Two-Disc DVD Deluxe Edition of the film, it is noted that he claims to have lived for over 600 years. This profile also notes that Râ's has a daughter—Talia. Râ's al Ghûl is approximately 450 years old (or more) according to comic-book sources: I appear to be a vigorous fifty. I am actually a very vigorous four hundred and forty-eight . . . or is it four hundred and fifty-three? I lost count during the Black Plague. No matter. –Râ's al Ghûl in Azrael #6 (July 1995), written by Dennis O'Neil (co-creator of Râ's, along with illustrator Neal Adams). Râ's is periodically rejuvenated by immersing his body in his alchemical "Lazarus Pits." In the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), Râ's claims to have been alive for over 600 years.

  • The Gotham City Police Department's vehicle paint job is identical to a former paint job used by the New York City Police Department on units delivered in the early 1990s, such as the Chevrolet Caprice and the first Ford Crown Victoria police units.

  • While Batman fights with Ra's on the train loaded with the microwave emitter and speeding toward Wayne Tower, Sgt Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) reaches the Tower and uses the Tumbler's defense system to destroy the train's elevated tracks. Batman flies out of the train just as it leaves the tracks and comes crashing to the ground, destroying the microwave emitter with it. The next day, Earle (Rutger Hauer) attends a board meeting and learns that he has been fired and that Fox has been promoted into his position. When Earle shows surprise, Fox mockingly asks him, "Didn't you get the memo?" At Wayne Manor, Bruce nails boards over the old well. Rachel (Katie Holmes) drops by to apologize for the horrible things she said to him and to express her hope that one day, when he no longer needs to be Batman, they can be together again. She asks him what he intends to do with the burned out manor, and Bruce tells her that he is going to rebuild it. Alfred suggests that they take the opportunity to improve the foundation in the the southeast corner. In the final scene, Batman meets Gordon (now promoted to Lieutenant) on a rooftop, where Gordon shows him the new big-signal he has devised. Jim warns him that there are still a lot of criminals to catch, including a new one who leaves a joker playing card as his calling card. After Batman assures him that he will continue to help clean up Gotham and that he will never need thanks for doing it, he jumps off the roof and glides away.

  • Flass was under the influence of Crane's toxin. The last we see of him, he's about to shoot a couple of teenagers but Gordon intervenes and knocks Flass out then handcuffs him to a pipe. This is the last we see of him, so if he wasn't killed during the panic, Gordon was promoted to Lieutenant at the end of the film may have gathered enough pull to get Flass fired or very least transferred out of his department. Gordon also says to Batman at the end of the film that "Bent cops are running scared" so it's possible Flass simply left Gotham. Supplemental material suggests that Flass was suspended in the wake of probing by Harvey Dent, which explains why he doesn't appear in The Dark Knight.

  • Bale does in fact have an English accent. He refused to speak with this accent while promoting this film, as he wouldn't want fans, especially kids, picturing Batman with a foreign accent while watching the film.

  • Yes. In the comic books, Ducard and Ra's al Ghul are two separate beings. Unlike the comic incarnation, there is no direct indication that al Ghul has any supernatural powers. He also ran the League of Assassins in the comics, whereas he leads the League of Shadows in the film. Also, his ultimate goal is to rid the world of injustice in the film, rather than saving the environment in the comics.

    • When Batman first started fighting crime, James Gordon was already Lieutenant. Instead, the film initially has him as Sergeant. He is, however, promoted to Lieutenant by the end of the film.

    • Flass, while having a similar characterization, is physically the opposite of his comic doppelganger, who is tall, well-built, and blonde.

    • Harvey Dent was the Gotham D.A. when Batman started fighting crime in the comics. Instead, Finch is the D.A.

    • Batman never met Ra's al Ghul during his years before Batman, and did not train under him. He did train under Ducard, though.

    • Commissioner Loeb is a portly, middle-age Caucasian male and corrupt in the comics, but in Batman Begins, is a tall African-American male, with no indications that he's corrupt.

    • James Gordon, in the comics, transferred to Gotham from Chicago shortly before Batman appeared. Gordon in Batman Begins has been with the Gotham City Police Department since Bruce was a child.

    • Rachel Dawes is a character created for the film, and has no counterpart in the comics.

    • Joe Chill had no encounters with Carmine Falcone in the comics.

    • Bruce's parents were killed in Crime Alley in the comics, while in Begins, they are killed outside an opera house. Also, in the comics, they were killed after seeing a Zorro picture, while in Begins, they are seeing an opera.

    • Gordon and Batman become allies much faster in Begins. In the comics, their alliance wasn't formed for a while after Batman appeared.

    • In the comic-book canon, the name Ra's al Ghul is pronounced as "raysh ahl gool".

  • There are three editions. The single-disc edition (Widescreen or Full Screen), Two-Disc Edition (DVD & BD), and Limited Giftset Edition (DVD & BD).


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