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Film: Batman Begins

Carmine Falcone: What the hell are you?
Batman: I'm Batman.

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."
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Ra's al Ghul is mentioned to have 412 daughters, one of whom like her comic's incarnation is revealed to be named Talia, in the novelization. He also indicates that Even Evil Has Standards that he adheres to. Since these come from the novel, the only bit confirmed as canon is the mention of Talia.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Almighty Janitor: Lucius Fox fits this trope.
  • Anachronic Order: Played with. Bruce's backstory up until his final exam with the League of Shadows is told non-linearly through a series of flashbacks during his Training Montage. Once the backstory catches up with Bruce in the mid-east prison, everything is in chronic order.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The League of Shadows has been responsible for numerous Historical In-Joke incidents.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: This one is probably unintentional on behalf of japanese actor Ken Watanabe:
    Ra's Al Ghul:..[Gotham] is beyond saving and must be arrowed to die!
  • A Storm Is Coming: Batman greets Sergeant Gordon with this line after appearing suddenly on his back porch.
  • 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).
    Batman: You're a good cop. One of the few.
  • Badass Boast:
    • A prisoner does this to Bruce Wayne, but Bruce responds with one of his own proving the man to be a Small Name, Big Ego.
    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.
  • Battle Butler: Alfred takes out a League of Shadows assassin with a golf club in order to rescue Bruce from the burning Wayne Manor.
    Alfred: I hope you're not a member of the fire brigade.
  • 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.
  • Blackmail: Subverted. Falcone tries to blackmail Jonathan Crane but ends up getting a dose of fear toxin for it.
  • Blood from the Mouth: From the decoy Ra's al Ghul, during the destruction of the dojo.
  • Body Double: How Ra's al Ghul appears immortal.
  • Bookcase Passage: Activated by piano keys.
  • Break the Haughty: Happens to Carmine Falcone in prison, who goes from smugly untouchable crime lord to lunatic in an insane asylum mumbling "Scarecrow... Scarecrow...".
  • Brick Joke: "Nice coat."
    • "Didn't you get the memo?"
  • But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted - Bruce makes fun of his alter-ego while establishing his rich idiot persona.
    Bruce: Well, a guy who dresses up like a bat clearly has issues.
  • Calling Card: The joker playing card seen in The Stinger.
  • Calling The Cops On The FBI: Scarecrow orders his men to call the cops when Batman shows up, knowing they'll go after the vigilante and let them go.
  • The Cameo: Tim Booth from James has a small non-speaking role as lesser known Batman villain, Victor Zsasz.
  • Car Cushion: Batman lands on a car when he jumps from a the window in his burning suit.
  • The Cast Showoff: Notice how Ducard tends to go into boxing stances when fighting bare handed? Liam Neeson trained as a boxer in his teens.
  • City Noir
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The blue flower.
    • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: Considering that Bruce Wayne's canonical birthday is February 19, the novelization reveals an apparent several-month gap between the Wayne Manor fire and the commencement of the rebuilding (which started in the fall with the sealing of the Batcave), as well as an apparent nine-and-a-half month gap between the end of this movie and the arrival of The Joker (which Batman was alerted to at 11:30 PM on December 1). It's worth noting that according to Word of God, The Dark Knight takes place (and was released) in July of 2008–and several months after the end of Begins.
  • Cool Car:
    • The Batmobile of this franchise differs, because Nolan departs from the traditional "sleek sport roadster" of previous Batman adaptations, going instead for the Tumbler, or "Fast Urban Military Combat Tank That Comes In Black"
    • And Bruce Wayne also drives a Lamborghini for those occasions where he puts on his "Rich Idiot with No Day Job" façade 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. While he isn't as bad as some other examples of this trope, but he did basically drive Wayne Enterprises into a hole and reassigned Fox to Applied Sciences. Didn't you get the memo?
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: At least one critic, noting that the movie makes reference to a (fictional) "depression", and perhaps also remembering the origin of the Batman character, believed that in Batman Begins Bruce was a child sometime in the 1930s...[[Fridge Logic which, of course, would mean that he became Batman (in this continuity) in the mid-1950s at the latest, which is obviously not true. The parody of this movie on The Simpsons, Bartman Begins, ran with this by having the story be set blatantly in the '30s.
  • Crapsack World: Gotham is pictured as one.
  • Crimefighting with Cash
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Bruce's fight in the prison near the beginning of the movie. He totally wipes the floor with "the Devil" and his pals.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Various characters show signs of this, though Lucius Fox is the most apparent, like his conversation with Bruce Wayne about the Nomex bulletproof survival suit.
    Lucius Fox: So what's your interest in it, Mr. Wayne?
    Bruce Wayne: I want to borrow it. For, uh, spelunking.
    Lucius Fox: Spelunking?
    Bruce Wayne: You know, cave diving. [beat]
    Lucius Fox: ... you expecting to run into much gunfire in these caves?
    • Alfred Pennyworth might qualify too, though not to the same extent as in the sequel.
      Alfred: What's the point of all those pushups if you can't even lift a bloody log?"
    • Jonathan Crane as well.
      Rachel Dawes: Dr. Crane, do you really believe that a man who butchers people for the mob doesn't belong in prison?
      Dr. Crane: Well, I would hardly have testified to that otherwise.
    • Ra's Al Ghul
      Ra's Al Ghul: [seeing Batman in full costume for the first time] Well, well. You took my advice about theatricality a bit... literally.
      • and
      Ra's Al Ghul: Now if you excuse me, I have a city to destroy.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Ra's knows Bruce's identity as the Batman from the start, but ends up dead by the end of Begins.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Inverted, The League of Shadows plans to use Bruce and his connections to help burn Gotham to the ground. Bruce promptly turns against the group when he finds out.
  • Designated Love Interest: Most fans and critics saw Rachel Dawes as this.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Carmine Falcone is not the Big Bad , neither is Dr. Crane, its Ra's al Ghul.
  • Don't Think. Feel: Inverted. Bruce Wayne starts out driven by rage and guilt. The League of Shadows teaches him to use his head.
  • Due to the Dead/Antagonist in Mourning: At the end of the novelization, Bruce buries Ducard, or what was left of him after the monorail crashed, next to Thomas Wayne.
  • Entitled Bastard: Inverted with Ra's, who wants Bruce to kill him instead of save him.
  • Escalating War: Discussed in the last scene
    Gordon: Escalation. We start carrying semiautomatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar,they buy armor-piercing rounds.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: When the two girls who accompany Bruce strip down in the middle of an upscale restaurant and start bathing in a fountain, he excuses their behavior to an outraged maitre'd with "They're European" and a shrug.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: According to the novelization, Ducard does not like the idea of using nuclear weapons to implement his plans, and at the start of the book it's clearly stated that he (or, at least, a predecessor in the role of Ra's) tricked Hitler into losing World War II simply because he believed Hitler was too much of an extremist. Now, in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane plans to destroy Gotham with a nuclear bomb, and Bane's nuclear goals may have factored into his excommunication for excessive extremism...
  • Evil Costume Switch: When Ducard is revealed to be Ra's al Ghul, his suit is black while it was previously blue or brown.
  • Evil Mentor: Henri Ducard / Ra's al Ghul. He inducts Bruce Wayne into the League of Shadows and teaches him the skills of combat, camouflage, and how to strike fear into the minds of criminals. Their methods are ultimately too extreme for Bruce, as they would prefer to kill all criminals without mercy and even destroy entire cities they deem too corrupt to survive with everyone inside. Even near the end, the real Rha's Al Ghul calls Bruce his greatest student, and voices his regret that Bruce is not "saving" Gotham along with him by destroying it.
  • Evil Plan: The League of Shadows' plan to Mercy Kill Gotham, though Bruce defeats them early in the movie. But since he saved Henri Ducard, AKA Ra's al Ghul, they try to destroy Gotham again.
  • Exact Words: Batman uses this to justify letting Ra's al Ghul die after defeating him on the monorail, giving him the choice between getting off the monorail and dying in the imminent crash.
    Batman: I won't kill you... [Batman throws one Batarang out the window and detaches a monorail car with another before preparing to jump out] but I don't have to save you.
  • Expospeak Gag: After Lucius Fox finishes explaining exactly how he derived the antidote for Crane's fear toxin:
    Lucius Fox: I analyzed your blood, isolating the receptor compounds and the protein-based catalyst.
    Bruce Wayne: Am I supposed to understand any of that?
    Lucius Fox: No. I just wanted you to know how hard it was. Bottom line, I synthesized an antidote.
    Bruce Wayne: Could you make more?
    Lucius Fox: You planning on gassing yourself again, Mr. Wayne?
    Bruce Wayne: Well, you know how it is, Mr. Fox. You're out at night, looking for kicks, someone's passing around the weaponized hallucinogens...
    Lucius Fox: I'll bring what I have. The antidote should inoculate you for now.
  • 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.
  • Faceless Goons: The League of Shadows.
  • 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.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Batman gliding off a rooftop and into the camera.
  • Freudian Excuse: Henri Ducard's apparent reason for becoming a Knight Templar.
    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;
    Barbastella, Artibeus, Tadirida, Macrotus, Antrozous, Nycteris.
  • 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.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Joe Chill is killed because he knows about Carmine Falcone's criminal activities.
    • Falcone himself got a face full of fear gas years later after trying to blackmail Dr. Crane with the information he had on Ra's operation.
  • Hellish Horse/Horsemen of the Apocalypse: How Scarecrow and the horse he stole from a mounted police officer appears to a young boy affected by the fear compound during the finale.
  • 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/Historical Rap Sheet: 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.
  • I Own This Town: Carmine Falcone.
  • 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.
  • In Medias Res: The film opens with Bruce Wayne being held in a Chinese prison, and we don't find out the circumstances leading up to it until later. This is in line with Nolan's style of non-chronological narratives.
  • Institutional Apparel: The asylum inmates' orange jumpsuits.
  • Ironic Echo: Several of them.
    • "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.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: The League of Shadow's rationale for destroying Gotham City.
  • 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.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Batman in his cave, gearing up for the final battle.
  • Madness Mantra: Scarecrow... Scarecrow...
  • Made of Iron: The bats that are summoned to keep the police distracted have no trouble breaking through glass windows.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Crane shares several traits of the trope.
  • 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.
    Rachel: Bruce?!
  • Millionaire Playboy: Invoked; it goes hand in hand with Rich Idiot with No Day Job.
  • Mind Rape: Dr. Crane deliberately does this to his patients.
    • Mind Rape also happens to Falcone at the hands of Dr. Crane; and ironically Batman gases Crane with his own toxin; removing any sanity that Crane had and leaving only the fear-obsessed Scarecrow.
  • Mook Horror Show: Whoever designed the predator levels of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City must have loved the warehouse scene. It's got Falcone's goons steadily getting more and more freaked out as Batman picks them off one by one.
  • 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.
    • Also, Rachel does a lot of Expospeak early on.
  • Murder By Inaction: How Batman gets around the Moral Dilemma of not killing Ra's Al Ghul; simply leaving him to die on the train while it crashes, though it's hinted that he was also giving Ra's every chance to escape by himself.
    Batman: I won't kill you... but I don't have to save you.
  • 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.
      • Crane also gets gassed in Batman's presence and hallucinates him as a demonic creature in another Animated Series episode, Nothing to Fear.
    • I'm Batman. As delivered to a hapless criminal mook.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ra's Al Ghul translates in Arabic to "Head of the Demon". Ra's is obviously not one of the heroes with that name.
  • 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.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Ducard's training, where he hides amongst his followers.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A lot of promotional material made Scarecrow look like he was the Big Bad.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bruce's decision to leave Ra's to his death in the plunging train will come back to bite him in the ass 9 years later.
    • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Carmine Falcone's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Bruce Wayne gives him the idea of becoming Batman.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Thomas Wayne still works as a doctor at the hospital despite his estate 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.
  • No Sympathy For Grudgeholders: Rachel is offended that Bruce is still dwelling on the murder of his parents and had planned to murder Joe Chill, and she slaps him for it.
    Rachel: You're just another coward with a gun. Your father would be ashamed of you.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Alfred on top of Rachel in the car.
  • 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.
  • Office Golf: Played for Laughs when Bruce Wayne walks into Wayne Enterprises and successfully charms the secretary in a matter of seconds.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Twice.
    • Wayne saving Ducard from the exploding house of the League of Shadows.
    • Wayne and Alfred making it into the elevator before the family building blows up.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Jonathan Crane; AKA Scarecrow.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Courtesy of Ducard: "The training! is! nothing! Will! is everything!"
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: Depending on how you interpret Ducard's expressed attitude towards Gotham and his Freudian Excuse, he may be type 3 or type 4 of this.
  • Ramp Jump: The Tumbler, from the rooftops onto a bridge and across the river to reach The Narrows.
  • Reassigned to Applied Sciences: Earle reassigned Fox to Applied Sciences to keep Fox from causing troubles for him. Didn't you get the memo?
  • Recruited From The Gutter: An unusual example. Ra's al Ghul finds Bruce Wayne in a Third World prison and sets him on the path to becoming Batman, though they ultimately betray each other.
  • 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.
    Bruce Wayne: Even the scary ones?
  • Saved for the Sequel: The unresolved romance between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes.
  • 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.
  • Say Your Prayers: One could see Ra's/Ducard's Obi-Wan Moment as this as well.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: When a pair of goons sent by Falcone attack Rachel, she fights with them and draws her taser. When one of the guys runs away, she thinks it's because of her, not having noticed that Batman is behind her and had effortlessly beaten down the other thug.
  • Scary Scarecrows:
    Crane: Would you like to see my mask?
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!/Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: A heroic example of both happens at the same time at one point. When a maître d' tries to 86 him for letting his two companions skinny-dip in the hotel's pool area, Bruce simply buys him off.
    Bruce: Well, you see, I'm buying this hotel and... setting some new rules about the pool area.
  • Secret Identity: Deconstructed; although Bruce has a Secret Identity, it’s practically impossible for him to hide it from everyone else, even when they are not Secret Chasers actively looking to know who the Batman is. The ones who find out all decide to be Secret Keepers, or even Secret Secret Keepers:
    • The Big Bad immediately knows Batman is Bruce Wayne because he was his Evil Mentor.
    • Alfred, Bruce's butler, helps Batman every step of the way.
    • Lucius Fox, the Omnidisciplinary Scientist that provides Batman with his gadgets.
      Lucius Fox: If you don't want to tell me exactly what you're doing — when I'm asked, I don't have to lie. But don't think of me as an idiot.
    • Batman reveals his identity to his Love Interest Rachel. She becomes another Secret Keeper.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Hook: In the final scene Gordon tells Batman that now that Gotham has a masked hero, masked villains are appearing too. He then provides him with evidence of one such villain: a Joker card.
  • The Shangri La: The headquarters of the League of Shadows.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Henri Ducard thinks Bruce Wayne's belief in Thou Shalt Not Kill is pointless and that criminals should be executed. Later, he tells Bruce that Gotham is too corrupt to save and believes that Gotham should be destroyed; rather than Bruce's belief that there are good people in Gotham who can fix it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: During the Batmobile chase with the increasingly frantic cops.
    Cop: It's a black... tank!
  • 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.
  • Superhero Origin: Deconstructed, Notice that Joe Chill kills Bruce Wayne’s parents. The Gotham police are unwilling AND unable to deliver justice to him. Carmine Falcone gives Bruce Wayne a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that forces him to begin The Hero's Journey, then he is trained by the League of Shadows and outsmarts Earle to become the Batman. A possible explanation is that Gotham was a Cornered Rattlesnake and it is trying to produce a superhero to survive: Notice that all of the forces oppressing Gotham were Threshold Guardians that created the Super Hero that will fight them.
  • Sword Cane: R'as al Ghul carries one in the finale.
  • Taking the Bullet: Thomas Wayne throws himself in front of his wife in the opera back alley to protect her from Joe Chill. Doesn't work.
  • A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Batman gives Crane a dose of the same fear-inducing toxin that Crane had previously used to attack both Batman and Rachel. He even uses the trop phrase.
  • That Man Is Dead: Crane, after being exposed to fear gas.
    Crane:Doctor Crane is not here right now. But if you'd like to make an appointment...
  • Think Nothing of It: Batman's "you will never have to [say thank you]" philosophy.
  • Three-Point Landing: Batman does this at some point.
  • Training Montage: "The Will To Act" is downright epic. It helps that Ducard is played by the same actor who played Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • 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.
  • Two Roads Before You: One to bats, one to just groups of people.
  • Unfazed Everyman: When the Tumbler parks by Wayne Tower, a bum walks up to it and comments "Nice ride!" Then it fires rockets into a nearby bridge support. The bum's response is to only stare at it like, "What was that?"
  • 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.
  • Wham Line:
    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.
  • You Can Panic Now: "Gentlemen, time to spread the word. And the word is: panic!" [turns on the microwave and blows out the sewers in the Narrows]
  • You Do Not Want To Know: A frequent theme of this movie.
    Flass: The bears, they go straight to the dealers.
    Falcone: And the rabbits go to the man in the narrows.
    Flass:: What's the difference?
    Falcone: Ignorance is bliss, my friend. Don't burden yourself with the secrets of scary people.


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alternative title(s): Batman Begins
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