Batman Begins (2005) is the start of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Saga.The film opens In Medias Res with Bruce Wayne incarcerated in a prison in Bhutan, where a man named Henri Ducard arranges for Bruce's release and offers him a place in Ra's al Ghul's League of Shadows. Ducard trains Bruce in the way of the ninja — and in overcoming his fear — while Bruce explains his Back Story. Upon discovering that Ra's intends to destroy Gotham City, Bruce renounces the League, returns to Gotham and vows to take back the city from the criminals; to this end, he combines his League of Shadows training, obscene wealth, old fear of bats, and access to his company's R&D projects to turn himself into a vigilante crimefighter.The Batman makes his grand entrance by bringing mafioso Carmine Falcone to justice, but in doing so, he discovers that Dr. Jonathan Crane has disturbing plans for Gotham City involving large quantities of a fear toxin — and that Crane works on orders from someone else...
Provides examples of:
A Birthday, Not a Break: Bruce Wayne has a party on his birthday. Unfortunately, Ra's al Ghul comes to his party, burns down his mansion and then attempts to drive all of Gotham insane; leaving Batman to stop him.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Cillian Murphy is a considerably more attractive version of Crane's original look from the comics. Flass is an inversion, in the film he is overweight and slobbish, whereas in the comics he was tall, blonde, well-built and tidy.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Martha Wayne usually has brown or black hair in the comics. Sara Stewart portrays her as a blonde.
Adult Fear: The movie shows the obvious example of Bruce seeing his parents die, but also includes seeing your home burned to the ground, what it is like to live in a fairly realistic city so filled with crime that even the police belong to the mob and murder is a common occurence and what it is like to be betrayed by a Parental Substitute that helped you overcome your flaws twice, actually.
All of Them: Bruce, in response to a homeless guy asking who was going to come looking for Bruce. "Everyone."
There's also a subplot where Bruce tries to find out more about Ra's, but circumstances keep interfering and it's suggested that Ra's is responsible for such circumstances.
An earlier holder of the title Ra's al Ghul is revealed to have contributed to Hitler's defeat in the journal that kicks off the first chapter of the novelization.
Going by Word of God, comics canon, and the novelization, the Nolanverse Bruce Wayne was born on February 19, 1980; his parents were killed on June 26, 1988; their killer is killed and Bruce himself begins his seven-year odyssey on February 20, 2000; Henri Ducard discovered Bruce in early 2006; his training with the League of Shadows went on for about a year, culminating in the final test on January 17, 2007; Bruce boards a plane back to Gotham on January 21, 2007, arriving the next day; the film's story picks up on February 1, 2007, as Crane recommends that Victor Zsasz be moved to Arkham; the Batman makes his first appearance and serves up Carmine Falcone on Valentine's Day, with the case against Falcone going forward the next day; Falcone is driven insane on the 17th, and the Batman is poisoned by Crane that night; the climax takes place on February 19, 2007; Lucius Fox becomes the CEO of Wayne Enterprises the next day... and the final scene takes place on December 1, 2007.
Before becoming Harvey Dent's assistant, Rachel Dawes was appointed the acting district attorney and, at 30, the youngest district attorney in Gotham's history after Carl Finch's body was discovered.
Anachronic Order: Most of Bruce's backstory up until his final exam with the League of Shadows is told non-linearly through a series of flashback. Once that point comes up, no flashback sequences are used.
Awesome but Impractical: Most of the gear from Applied Sciences that Bruce uses to become Batman is very powerful. The Nomex survival suit can stop a knife and anything but a straight shot, but bean counters thought a soldier's life wasn't worth the $300,000 price, rendering it too expensive to be viable for mass production. It's well within the means of a multi-billionaire on a crusade against injustice, however.
Ax-Crazy: Mr. Zsasz. Though he's pretty quiet during his small amount of screen time, the tie-in video game displays him as very much so.
It is hinted in the movie as well, since he has some of the tally mark scars he cuts on himself every time he kills someone in the comics. Also, he comes at Rachel and a young boy with a knife in the Narrows when the Narrows are flooded with fear gas.
Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Supposedly most of Gotham's police and judicial officials are portrayed as corrupt. Rachel, Gordon and Loeb are the only apparent exceptions to this (though you might assume Loeb is fairly incompetent).
Prisoner: You are in Hell, little man, and I am the devil!
Bruce Wayne: You're not the devil... you're practice.
"I'm Batman" — the ultimate badass boast.
Bang, Bang, BANG: The shot produced by Joe Chill's revolver is a little bit louder than it really would be. Then again, it happens in a flashback, so more likely it being so loud reflects the trauma the incident had on Bruce.
Bat out of Hell: Not so much Batman himself (though the citizens under the influence of the fear gas see him as a monstruous bat), but the sequence wherein he calls upon a massive swarm of his namesake as a diversionary tactic for the SWAT team. Works wonders!
Bat Scare: Bruce suffers one when he falls into the future Batcave as a young boy. He later weaponizes this trope as "backup".
Batman Gambit: The League of Shadows release the prisoners in Arkham Asylum, then as soon as the majority of the police force moves in to recapture the escapees proceeds to gas the entire area in fear compound.
Beard of Evil: Ra's al Ghul sports the Fu Manchu of villainy, as does Ducard.
Big Damn Heroes: When Gordon calls for reinforcements in the fear gassed Narrows, Commissioner Loeb replies there is no else to help. At that exact moment, the Batmobile roars in to the rescue.
The fact that the monorail beams follow the same route as the water mains, and that the hub for both is located under Wayne Tower.
Comic Book Adaptation: Currently the last Batman movie to receive one. It's okay if you haven't heard of it; it didn't come out with much fanfare, and was more of an original story packaged with reprints of classic Batman stories.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Batman has the easiest time against dozens of gangsters and hundreds of cops, a much harder time against a few League of Shadow operatives, and the hardest time against just Ra's.
Justified in that the League of Shadows has had the same combat training Batman did, and Ra's is the one who taught him.
The Tumbler of this franchise differs, because Nolan decided to depart from the standard "sleek sport roadster" as is traditional for Batmobiles, and more "Fast Urban Military Combat Tank That Comes In Black"
But Bruce Wayne does drive a Lamborghini when he's using his "Rich Idiot with No Day Job" cover in public. When dropping it off with a valet, the valet quips "Nice car," and Bruce tells him "You should see my other one."
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Earle turns to be out to be one of those. Not as badly as some, but he did basically drive Wayne Enterprises into a hole. Didn't you get the memo?
Face Your Fears: A major theme. Ducard teaches Bruce to conquer his own fear, Batman actively exploits the fears in others and Scarecrow uses hallucinogens that cause his victims to be consumed by their fears.
Finish Him!: After being defeated at the end of the film, Ra's expects Bruce to kill him. He adheres to his one rule... by forcing Ra's to choose between getting off the monorail and dying in the imminent crash.
Batman: You'll never learn to mind your surroundings! [Batman turns the tables and pins Ra's al Ghul to the ground] Ra's al Ghul: Have you finally learned to do what is necessary?
Flower from the Mountaintop: Inverted. Bruce has to pick a rare blue flower at the base of a mountain and then carry it to the monastery at the top.
Henri Ducard: I wasn't always here in the mountains. Once I had a wife... my great love... she was taken from me. Like you, I was forced to learn there are those without decency, who must be fought without hesitation, without pity.
Funny Background Event: When Comissioner Loeb is talking to Gordon during the climax, he's using another cop's chest-mounted radio and we can see the poor guy being dragged back and forth as Loeb paces around.
Fun with Acronyms: The music on the soundtrack is named after species of bat, containing six listed in order as;
Gaining The Will To Kill: After he has trained with the League of Shadows, Bruce's mentor asks him to do this as a show of his commitment after his last test. Namely, executing a prisoner who killed a fellow farmer for his land. Needless to say, the future Batman refuses, causing said mentor to later remark on his lack of 'courage to do all that is necessary' in comparison to himself and his plan to destroy Gotham to scare the rest of the cities in the nation into reforming. Towards the end, Batman does get Ra's at his mercy, and is asked again whether he now had that courage. He doesn't kill Ra's, but instead leaves him to die in the derailing monorail that he himself had set in motion. However Bruce seems perfectly fine with killing people indirectly since in the very scene where he refused to execute an individual he blew up the building everyone was in to get away, likely resulting in more than a few casualties including the person who was tied up to be executed as well.
Genre Savvy: When told that Batman has infiltrated Arkham, Dr. Crane tells his men to call the police, who will be far better equipped to deal with Batman than they are, and unlike Batman, won't be able to stop Crane's plans.
Gilligan Cut: Bruce spots a camo-painted military vehicle in the Applied Sciences department.
Bruce Wayne: What's that?
Lucius Fox: The Tumbler? Oh, you wouldn't be interested in that.
[Cuts to Bruce driving the Tumbler around an open warehouse floor, with Fox riding shotgun and smiling nervously]
Golf Clubbing: Bruce's way of making a surprise entrance to Wayne Enterprises is to flirt with the secretary and then get caught by Earle teaching her Office Golf. Also how Alfred deals with a League of Shadows member when he rescues Bruce from his burning mansion.
Graceful Loser: Henri Ducard. When he is beaten and then left by Bruce in the crashing monorail, he just closes his eyes and accepts death.
Guilt Complex: Bruce Wayne has a major case of this, blaming himself for getting his parents killed — as a little boy, he had asked his parents to leave a performance of the opera Mefistofele due to the performers triggering his fear of bats, resulting in them going through what is now called "Crime Alley" and their paths crossing with the mugger Joe Chill.
The Hero's Journey: Bruce leaves his home of Gotham as a college student, spends years wandering the world to understand the criminal mind until he's trained to use his new skills by the League of Shadows, and then returns to Gotham to utilize these skills to save the city from the corruption that drove him out in the first place.
High-Altitude Interrogation: Batman performs this on Flass, repeatedly dropping him mere inches away from the ground and then lifting him back up with his batclaw.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Jonathan Crane is poisoned with his own fear toxin after trying to hit Batman with it again.
The League fails in its plans and Ra's gets killed because Batman used skills they taught him to save Gotham.
Historical In-Joke: Ra's says that the League has worked to restore the world to balance throughout history as human civilization achieved decadence around the world, and claims credit for the 410 AD sacking of Rome, the Black Plague, and the Great Fire of London.
I Just Shot Marvin in the Face/Artistic License - Gun Safety: A word of advice to people like Joe Chill: if you're trying to rob a couple at gunpoint and just want to get your hands on whatever it is you want from them (e.g. wallets and jewelry), never put your finger on the trigger. There's a good chance your gun will go off if your finger twitches at the slightest movement.
Impersonating an Officer: As Ra's al Ghul puts it, Bruce Wayne is trying to defend "a city so corrupt [the League of Shadows] infiltrated every level of its infrastructure. Effortlessly." How effortlessly? The district attorney, Carl Finch, is shot dead by a henchman posing as a police officer. In the finale, Ra's sneaks the microwave emitter into the Narrows in a SWAT truck, and his henchmen are posing as SWAT officers.
"It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." Said first by Rachel Dawes to Bruce Wayne when Bruce was trying to explain that his Rich Idiot with No Day Job persona was all an act. Bruce later repeats it to Rachel ("It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me"), as Batman, when she asks who he is.
"You never did learn to mind your surroundings." Said earlier by Henri Ducard to Bruce Wayne, while Ducard is burning down Wayne Manor. Batman later repeats it to Ducard ("You'll never learn to mind your surroundings!"), when the train they're in has its rails out ahead of them and Ducard fails to notice this until it's pointed out.
"It's a bit technical, but the key thing is, our company's future is secure." Said earlier by Earle to Bruce when they were discussing the purchases of stock in their company. Bruce later repeats it to Earle when trying to explain why he's taking a more active role in the company. Made better by the fact that Bruce says "My company"
"Didn't you get the memo?" Said earlier by Earle to Lucius when firing Lucius. After Bruce Wayne gives Earle's job to Lucius, Bruce Wayne explains why he has the authority to do so, (providing the above Ironic Echo) and once Bruce is finished talking, Lucius says: "Right you are, Mr. Wayne" and then looks at Earle, takes off his glasses, and says "Didn't you get the memo?" This provides two ironic echoes in a row.
"Don't be afraid, Bruce." Said earlier by a dying Thomas Wayne, trying to comfort Bruce. Later said by Ducard during the train fight when he pins Bruce/Batman and starts strangling him.
It Always Rains at Funerals: The aftermath of Bruce's parents' funeral is shown, along with their headstones. It is raining and black umbrellas are abound.
Ivy League For Everyone: Given that Bruce Wayne is the richest man on the planet, it's no surprise that he attended Princeton, which he enjoyed, but noted that "they don't feel the same way."
Kick the Dog: A member of the league of shadows, disguised as a SWAT team member, pushing away a frightened child.
Also Falcone, when he berates Bruce and has his goons beat him and throw him out of the restaurant they're in.
Knight Templar: The League Of Shadows as a whole, really. Beyond well-intentioned extremism, their attitude leads them to dismiss all of Gotham as beyond saving, and to use this to justify using Crane's fear-toxin to drive them to kill each other. Ducard claims they exploited Gotham's corruption in order to pull this off in the first place; at no point does it seem to occur to them that it probably would be a better idea to focus their efforts on simply confronting Gotham's criminal elements instead.
Left for Dead: Ra's Al Ghul leaves Wayne to die in his burning mansion. Too bad for him.
Let The Past Burn: The film's Darkest Hour is when Ra's al Ghul incapacitates Bruce Wayne, then sets Wayne Manor on fire and leaves Bruce to die there. Continuing his father's legacy (in this case, making Gotham a better, safer city) is one of Bruce's major motivations. Bruce is convinced at that moment that he's completely ruined Dad's legacy, and the destruction of his father's house is a very concrete representation of that.
Lemming Cops: The memorable car chase scene plays this straight: Despite Batman's "no killing" creed (which the cops don't know about), many cops engage him in a high speed chase through the Loop, along highways and through back streets, as he's trying to rush a dying Rachel to the Batcave so he can give her the antidote. Over the course of the chase, we have the Tumbler drive over and crush a police car to start things off. Then, in the later parts, we have multiple police cars being taken out with some quick turns that result in 2 or 3 car pileups, and even explosive caltrops are used to take out a few cruisers. When Bruce does get back to the Batcave and is admonished by Alfred for his reckless driving, (Alfred has been following the news reports of the chase), Alfred tells him "It's a miracle no one was killed." Er, yeah.
McNinjas: Batman himself. Plus the League of Shadows in Begins are quite a diverse group. When the League returns as an antagonist in The Dark Knight Rises, they are still ethnically diverse.
Meaningful Echo: When Rachel asks who Batman is, he replies with the same words she previously had berated him with while he was acting like a vapid playboy, saying that despite his assertions he's not that person underneath, his actions are what should define him.
Batman: It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
Mr. Exposition: A bit part exists to quickly recap the train situation as it's happening. After it blows up spectacularly, Gordon cheers, so anyone who hasn't been paying attention knows that it's a good thing.
Near Villain Victory: If Bruce hadn't been saved by Alfred from his mansion and Gordon hadn't been able to blow up the monorail tracks; Gotham's citizens would have all been driven insane or killed each other due to Scarecrow's fear toxin and Ra's Al Ghul's plan.
An another example from this film is Bruce taking out Crane and his goons at Arkham. Sure, it stops any more toxin from being dumped into the water supply. But it also forces Ra's to accelerate his timetable for destroying Gotham.
Non-Idle Rich: Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father, who still works as a doctor at the hospital despite being worth billions. Bruce also qualifies, when he's not engaging in frivolous pursuits as Batman in order to maintain his image as a Rich Idiot with No Day Job.
Ramp Jump: The Tumbler, from the rooftops onto a bridge and across Gotham River to reach The Narrows.
The Reveal: Henri Ducard is actually Ra's al Ghul and though Bruce saved his life, The League of Shadows will still attempt to destroy Gotham under Ra's command.
Rule of Symbolism: Bats at multiple points in the film. Batman goes from just being afraid of them, to surrounding himself with them in the batcave, to later summoning them against the SWAT officers when they surround the building he's in.
Thomas Wayne: Do you want to know why they attacked you? It's because they were afraid of you. All creatures feel fear.
Save the Villain: Bruce saves Henri Ducard when his lair explodes. Later, Henri Ducard returns as Ra's Al Ghul to destroy Gotham and tells Bruce that he warned him about compassion. After Ra's Al Ghul and Batman's last battle, Batman leaves Ra's Al Ghul to die as the monorail crashes.
Soft Glass: See Made of Iron. Batman is also able to crash through one of the monorail trains windows without any harm.
The Shrink: Dr. Jonathan Crane is a villainous example of the trope.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the climax when the Narrows is gassed over, the immune Rachel shepards a little boy terrified out of his mind due to the fear gas. Scarecrow charges in and gives his villainous diatribe and freaks out the kid even more (see Hellish Horse above)... until Rachel shuts him up with her taser and sends him away screaming like a ninny.
Skinny Dipping: Played for Laughs when Bruce and two dates enter a fancy restaurant. The two air-headed bimbos almost immediately jump into the fountain and strip.
Maitre D: Sir, the pool is for decoration, and your friends do not have swimwear.
Bruce Wayne: Well, they're European.
Maitre D: I'm going to have to ask you to leave. [Bruce writes him a check] It is not a question of money.
Bruce Wayne:[gives him the check] Well, you see, I'm buying this hotel, and uh, setting some new rules about the pool area.
Smug Snake: Carmine Falcone is easily the most arrogant and contemptuous villain in the movie. At least Crane is fairly polite, and at least Ducard acts somewhat respectful to Bruce Wayne. Falcone, on the other hand, acts so smug that he ends up being arguably more hateable than Crane and Ducard despite doing much less damage.
During the "secrets of scary people" scene, Flass warns Falcone that there's something going on and they should bail. Falcone just sits there in his car for a little while, then decides to get up to see for himself what's going on... namely, that Batman's beating up several of Falcone's goons at the same time. Apparently even with this going on right in front of him it takes him a little while to figure out that Batman's someone to be feared. So, he decides to get back to his car to get a gun. Too late.
Soiled City on a Hill: Gotham City is this from the point of view of Henri Ducard and the League of Shadows.
Stealth Hi/Bye: First subverted as Bruce Wayne stumbles out the window and falls (very painfully) down a stairwell. Once he puts on the suit, he does this flawlessly several times throughout the rest of the movie.
Trainstopping: Subverted. When the monorail carrying the vaporizing device to the center of the network of water mains has to be stopped, Batman has the track destroyed instead of trying to stop the train.
Vigilante Execution: Done to Joe Chill. Subverted: the "vigilante" (really a hitwoman paid by Falcone) was stopping him from testifying against a mob boss, and the real enraged victim, Bruce Wayne, never got a chance to kill him.
The Voiceless: Zsasz, though he doesn't have much time on-screen...
Water Source Tampering: A variant: Scarecrow laced Gotham's water supply with his fear toxin for months, without anyone realizing it. The toxin had no effect in this form. It needed to be absorbed through the lungs to have an effect—the bad guys' ultimate plan was to use a microwave emitter to vaporize Gotham's entire water supply, thereby exposing the whole city.
Mrs. Delane: Bruce, there's somebody here you simply must meet. Bruce Wayne: Not now, Mrs. Delane. Mrs. Delane: Now, am I pronouncing this right — Mr. Ra's al Ghul?
What the Hell, Hero?: Alfred admonishes Bruce for reckless driving when saving Rachel from the fear toxin.
Alfred Pennyworth: When you told me your grand plan for saving Gotham, the only thing that stopped me from calling the men in the white coats was that you told me it wasn't about thrill-seeking. Bruce Wayne: It's not. Alfred Pennyworth: [pointing to news coverage of Batman leading the cops on a car chase and crushing a few cars] What do you call that? Bruce Wayne: Damn good television. Alfred Pennyworth: It's a miracle no one was killed. Bruce Wayne: I didn't have time to observe the rules of the road, Alfred.
Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Falcone taunts Bruce by telling him that he talked with Joe Chill about the murder of Bruce's parents, and Chill told him that Thomas Wayne died begging for his life like a dog. This is a lie (and Bruce knows it since he was there when it happened), plus a major Kick the Dog moment for Falcone.
Xanatos Gambit: When Batman encounters Ra's al Ghul in the train, Batman starts jabbing at the train's controls with a knife, to make it look like he's trying to stop the train (he actually locks the controls). However, he already sent Gordon to make a gap in the train's elevated tracks, such that the train would be destroyed if it wasn't stopped.
Ra's al Ghul: You're just an ordinary man in a cape. That's why you couldn't fight injustice, and that's why you can't stop this train.