Is Rachel Dawes meant to be portrayed as a strong crusader of justice or a blind idealist in over her head? While the former seems to be the interpretation most fans wanted, the writing and Holmes' acting enforce the latter.
The CEO who takes over Wayne Enterprises after Thomas & Martha's deaths can fall victim to this. Is he a JerkassRegent for Life for refusing to hand the company over to Bruce; or is he justified in not handing the company over to Bruce, as young Master Wayne was pronounced dead several years ago and has no experience in the business world? Indeed, none of Bruce's public behavior lends itself to implying he's responsible enough to run the company.
The film itself isn't wholly clear on whether Joe Chill is a Sympathetic Murderer: besides that his desperation was driving him, was the reason he couldn't look an adult Bruce in the eyes a sign of his penitence, just plain cowardice, or a mixture? And did he really claim that Thomas Wayne "Begged. Like a dog", or was that simply Falcone cruelly twisting the knife to try and break Bruce's resolve? On the flipside, the film does make clear that while Bruce's inability to forgive him isn't wrong, his attempt at vengeance for catharsis isn't an acceptable option.
"I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Justified loophole to Batman's one rule, or a cruel decision that equals the same as murder?
Was Ducard really R'as al-Ghul the whole time, using the man in the temple as a decoy? Or did he inherit the title from him after his death?
Base-Breaking Character: Rachel Dawes. Is she the moral center of the film and justified in not dating Bruce until his time as Batman is done, or is she a preachy character who seems to be in love with an idealization of Bruce, not the real man (and vice versa Bruce is in love with an idealization of Rachel but not the woman herself)? This only upped with The Dark Knight.
Captain Obvious Reveal: Henri Ducard is actually Ra's al Ghul. Anybody who has read the comics would know that Liam Neeson physically resembled Ra's more than Ken Watanabe, which was only furthered by how his beard was styled. Even if you didn't read the comics, it would be pretty jarring to have a big name like Liam Neeson playing a minor character from the beginning of the film.
Designated Hero: As Honest Trailers pointed out, Bruce commits a lot of crimes in his pursuit of justice, including arson (burning down the League of Shadows dojo), vigilante interrogation, property damage (the aforementioned dojo arson, as well as many cars and buildings with the Tumbler), manslaughter (the people that died in the fire, including the fake Ra's al Ghul, and Murder by Inaction (leaving the real Ra's al Ghul for dead). This is something that is thankfully rectified in the sequels.
Designated Villain: William Earle, the Wayne Enterprises CEO. As this Centives article discusses, most of the business decisions he makes during the film are perfectly legitimate, he seems to honestly care for the Wayne family but balances it with intelligent business management, and we have no evidence he's helping the villains or doing anything else illegal. However, he's doing things with the company that the Waynes would not have, so he's treated as an antagonist. The one objectively wrong thing he does is fire Fox, taunt him over it, and try to cover up the paper trail linking the stolen microwave emitter to Wayne Enterprises.
Draco in Leather Pants: Joe Chill seems to get this a lot, with many saying he deserves sympathy points for not actively enjoying his needless murder of a boy's parents in front of him, even going so far as to call the deaths an accident. Even if that could apply to Thomas, which, granted, is debatable, Martha's death was anything but unintentional.
Epileptic Trees: When this movie first came out, many theorized that the blond boy played by Jack Gleeson was going to become Robin in a later film (with the evidence pointing him being Jason Todd). Of course, this would later be Jossed by Christopher Nolan, who claimed he was never going to put Robin in his movies.
Evil Is Sexy: This interation of Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow gets this reaction a lot. Crane is usually depicted as not especially attractive in any sense, and straight-up nightmarish in his Scarecrow get-up...but this version is played by Cillian Murphy dressed in snappy suits and with a perchant for sarcastic and darkly humorous quips, so he's a lot more appealing to some viewers (even though he's still an immoral sadist with no redeeming traits).
Fight Scene Failure: Watching this film after its two sequels (and Inception), it's glaringly obvious that Christopher Nolan was still getting the hang of doing fight scenes. The major action sequences are okay for the most part, but the early fight between Bruce and the League of Shadows is quite awkwardly shot and edited.
Genius Bonus: In this version of Batman's origin story, the reason young Bruce and his parents are in central Gotham on the night the latter get shot, is to see an opera. The opera is Mefistofele, and since the story of this opera concerns the battle by between good and evil for a man's soul, it's eerily prescient. In the film, young Bruce scared of the devil costumes and intense music asks to be taken outside, where his parents are promptly mugged and killed. Therefore, the ideas of demons, death, and illusion are firmly linked in the boy's mind from then on.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In one scene, Henri Ducard, a mysterious badass who can take on a dozen men without breaking a sweat, has no qualms about killing to do what he considers to be right, and who happens to be played by Liam Neeson, tells Bruce his tragic backstory. Ducard explains:
Ducard: once I had a wife my great love she was taken from me.
Magnificent Bastard: This iteration of Ra's al Ghul, Henry Ducard, is every bit as magnificent as his original counterpart and a major figure in Bruce Wayne's transformation to Batman. Ruthlessly devoted to a world free of corruption, Ducard sets the eyes of his League of Shadows on the city of Gotham, which he sees as disgustingly decadent. Taking advantage of greedy drug-runners, Ducard uses flowers by the mountain of the League's base to synthesize a powerful hallucinogenic that gives nightmarish visions, intending to use it to destroy Gotham. Keeping his plan hidden from the city police and Batman for much of the film, Ducard has his men steal a water vaporizer and infects the hydro lines with his toxin in preparation for making the chemical airborne and causing the civilians to tear the city apart. Burning Wayne Manor to the ground, Ducard loads his device onto a fake SWAT truck, releasing the inmates of Arkham and his fear toxin on the Narrows island, overwhelming the police force before trying to use Gotham's monorail to infect the city's main water supply and cause chaos throughout it. Although facing clear death after being defeated by Batman, Ducard nevertheless chooses to calmly accept his fate and his influence still lingers as his daughter returns to finish his work.
The League Of Shadows crosses this upon actually dispersing Crane's fear toxin. Their claims earlier on that Gotham was beyond saving could have been interpreted as a Secret Test of Character, and if not, there was nothing in the movie that could rule out them being convinced otherwise and then when they explained their means of destroying it, there was nothing to rule out that they could have been talked out of THAT. But once they actually went through with said means of destruction, they were definitely beyond redemption like they claimed Gotham to be.
Falcone crosses it by having a female assassin disguised as a reporter ice Joe Chill and, when Bruce Wayne confronts him about it, taunts him about thedeath of his parents before eighty-sixing him. When Bruce returns as the Batman, the special treatment he accords to Falcone (using him as a prototype Bat Signal) is satisfying.
Chill gunning down Martha Wayne simply for screaming, and the murder of the Waynes in general; while the film still works to humanise him somewhat, it also makes clear that his actions are unforgivable and even Chill himself openly acknowledges this.
Mark Boone Junior, who played Detective Flass, went on to play to play Bobby Munson.
Romantic Plot Tumor: One frequent complaint from critics was the handling of Bruce and Rachel; unlike Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man Trilogy films released to that point, or Tony Stark and Pepper Potts a few years later in Iron Man, the movie never digs into why Bruce or Rachel have feelings towards each other, with nearly every scene simply boiling down to Rachel disapproving of Bruce's life choices at a certain point in time. This makes their arc come across as something that has to be taken as a given because it's a superhero movie and the hero must have a lady to be attracted to, rather than showing why these characters actually love each other.
One major complaint about this movie is how the Scarecrow was treated. Despite being built up as a major threat, he gets gassed by Batman and is last seen in the movie getting tased by Rachel.
There's also a case of They Wasted A Perfectly Good Actor with Rutger Hauer. Given that he is known for playing intimidating villains, he would have been an excellent role for a Batman villain. Instead, he is cast as a rather generic and bland business man character known as William Earle.
Win Back the Crowd: It can't be understated how badly Batman & Robin damaged the Batman brand. Even with the news of an accomplished filmmaker coming on board, alongside a prestigious cast of veterans, and a more grounded, personal take on the property that was a 180 of prior film adaptations, film audiences were still initially hesitant. So much so, that the eventually-maligned Fantastic Four had a bigger opening weekend than Begins, which released a month prior. But word-of-mouth quickly spread about how good Begins was, leading to the film doing an outstanding multiplier of 4x its opening weekend (passing F4 at the box office eventually), and becoming a massive hit on home release. This momentum, on top of the hype surrounding Heath Ledger's performance as the greatest villain in Batman's rogue gallery and his untimely passing, led The Dark Knight to pass Batman Begins's domestic box office in only five days.
Averted with Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow. Jonathan Crane is traditionally portrayed as a lanky, ugly man (That's even where the name comes from!), so having pretty boy Cillian Murphy play him can be jarring for comic fans. However, it works and arguably Crane's insanity is even more disturbing when covered up by a pretty face.
Katie Holmes as Rachel. Not that she does a bad job per se, but rather that she looks way too young to sell the hardened career woman seeking justice that she's supposed to be. After all, Rachel is supposed to be around 30, but in 2005, Holmes was still in her mid-20s, and she is a woman that is Younger than She Looks to begin with.
Averted with Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard/ Ra's al Ghul. Liam Neeson already fit the mentor type due to usually playing good guys, but gets a chance to show off his abilities to play the villain after The Reveal.
Cult Classic: As the only video game based on the acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, with most of the actors involved and unique gameplay, it is loved by many as how a Batman movie video game is done right.