Batman Begins (2005) is the first entry in 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 Wayne'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 fights his way out and blows up the dojo. Bruce 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. In the film, she's a blonde.
All of Them: Bruce, in response to a homeless guy asking who was going to come looking for Bruce. "Everyone."
Ra's Al Ghul:..[Gotham] is beyond saving and must be arrowed to die!
Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the gear from Applied Sciences that Bruce uses to become Batman is very powerful, but was 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 are portrayed as corrupt. 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.
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: Ducard sports the Fu Manchu of villainy, as does the decoy Ra's al Ghul.
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 Tumbler's origin as a river-jumping military bridging device.
The fact that the train tracks follow the same route as the water mains, and that the hub for both is located under Wayne Tower.
Over a longer time period, Gordon wrapping young Bruce in a jacket. This is invoked later as a way of Batman revealing his identity to Gordon.
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.
Cool Car: The Tumbler. Less "Sleek sport roadster" as is traditional for Batmobiles, and more "Fast Urban Military Combat Vehicle That Comes In Black"
Dull Surprise: The Wayne employee overseeing the water is remarkably blase about the idea of the entire city's water supply exploding.
Truth in Television/Reality Is Unrealistic: Not so surprising. A common response to a sudden crisis is shunting aside emotion to do what is necessary to get through the crisis. Like, say, an engine going out on an airplane.
Face Death with Dignity: Trapped on a train that's about to crash and explode, Ra's al Ghul simply sits back and slowly closes his eyes.
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.
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.
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 guy being dragged back and forth as Loeb paces around. That can't have been good for him.
Fun with Acronyms: The music on the soundtrack is named after species of bat, containing six listed in order as;
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 it around an open warehouse, with Fox in the passenger's seat, smiling nervously]
Golf Clubbing: Bruce's way of making a surprise entrance to Wayne Enterprises.
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 R'as 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: A word of advice to people like Joe Chill: never put your finger on the trigger unless you're fully intent on killing whoever you're trying to rob, especially if you're undergoing a panic attack at the moment.
"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, as Batman, when she asks who he is.
"You never learned 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, 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, the 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.
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.
Mythology Gag: Whilst being questioned by Batman, Crane throws out a line directly quoted from Batman: Haunted Knight.
Crane's method for widely distributing the fear toxin is through the pipes under Arkham Asylum, an approach the Scarecrow also used in the Batman The Animated Series episode Dreams in Darkness.
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.
Oh Crap: Averted by Ra's al Ghul when Batman swoops down to confront him. In contrast with the terrified reactions of Batman's previous opponents, Ra's al Ghul nonchalantly remarks:
Ra's al Ghul: Well, well. You took my advice about theatricality a bit... literally.
Also averted when he realizes Batman intends to crash the train, as well as leave him there. Ra's al Ghul just closes his eyes.
Played straight on the other hand by Crane. After getting hit with his own fear gas, just looking at Batman completely freaks him out.
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.
Secret Keeper: Bruce ends up with three of them by film's end: Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox and Rachel Dawes.
Self-Deprecation: Bruce Wayne mentioned that Batman "clearly has issues". Justified since he kinda has to do that in order to maintain his secret identity as Batman.
Shamgri-La: The headquarters of the League of Shadows.
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: Bruce Wayne 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.
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, saying Bruce was his best student, albeit while having said student's house burned to the ground. Falcone, on the other hand, just 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.
Songs in the Key of Lock: Bruce and Alfred use a series of cords on a nearby piano to open the secret door to the Batcave inside Wayne Manor.
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.
Party Guest: Bruce, there's somebody here you simply must meet. Now, am I pronouncing this right — Mr. Ra's al Ghul?
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 at least make it look like he's trying to stop the train (he actually ends up locking 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.