10 Best Batman Begins Moments

5. “Swear to Me!”

One of the most important aspects of Batman Begins was how it developed the Batman brand away from the campy 90s efforts of Joel Schumacher and into a more grounded world; one that better represented the fears and anxieties of the West in a post-911 landscape and embraced all of cinema’s changes that had come in the 8 years since Batman & Robin. Batman’s night-time interrogation of crooked cop Arnold John Flass in the dark alleys of Gotham is a superb representation of this.

After taking money from a lowly hot dog vendor selling his product out in the rain, Flass is grapple-hooked from the floor to the fourth story of a building by Batman for an interrogation unlike anything the crooked cop has experienced before. Hanging upside down dozens of feet in the air, Batman requests the information he believes the cop to hold, replying with the now iconic “swear to me!” when the cop swears to God that he doesn’t know anything.

The success of this moment comes in the details, such as how Nolan is intent on keeping the camera steady on Flass as he is risen into the air, flung towards the floor, risen again and then scared to death upon his final decline. It speaks of a Batman who works more in shades of grey than those who’ve come before him and in a wider cinematic context has proven inspirational to fellow franchise evolutions such as that of James Bond for Casino Royale, 2006.

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4. The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan’s efforts on the Dark Knight Trilogy proved that fan service doesn’t have to be without depth, and that in paying homage to a character’s origins and the media that has come before, any filmmaker can still create a meaningful piece of characterisation or narrative progression. One such a scene in Batman Begins is when the Dark Knight rises…

Spelunking his way into Wayne Manor’s system of caves, Bruce is hit with PTSD as the cave-dwelling bats that scared him as a child are awoken. At first flinching, flashes of his childhood trauma appearing on screen, Wayne rises as the score by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer does in turn, the music coming to a crescendo for our first taste of the Dark Knight Trilogy theme.

At once we see Bruce Wayne grow away from the fear that had driven him in the film’s earliest moments, his embrace of past traumas proving a vital fuel that he would later claim helps his enemies to feel his dread.

3. Ra’s Reveal

Bruce Wayne arrives at a Wayne Manor party just moments after Batman is filmed being chased down the highway by a throng of police vehicles, agitated and worried. In his high class stately home’s central hall, he arrives in typically charming Wayne fashion, in effect putting on the mask of his public persona. Feigning drunken stupidity, he verbally attacks those within his home, sacrificing his public image for the good of his guests who may be under threat (something we’d see expanded upon in both sequels), as Ra’s al Ghul reveals himself. Henri wasn’t Henri after all…

The unveiling of Liam Neeson’s Henri Ducard as Ra’s al Ghul proves a pivotal twist to Batman Begins’ narrative, importantly uncovering the real threat that has been haunting Gotham since Bruce’s return. Perhaps even more importantly to Bruce’s character arc however, Ra’s’ reappearance and reveal unravels Bruce’s belief system, causing him to question why he’d saved Ra’s and thus bringing into question his future actions. As Ra’s burns down Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne inside, Nolan reminds us visually that Bruce Wayne’s beliefs are also up in flames. With Wayne Manor gone, so is Bruce’s legacy; one that he must rebuild in his own image.

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