Batman Begins

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A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification; he can be destroyed or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely...a legend, Mr. Wayne.
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Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as The Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Liam Neeson as Ducard, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a Scarecrow, and Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. It is the first film in 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 Backstory. 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...

The film was a critical and financial success and made the Continuity Reboot concept popular.


Tropes used in Batman Begins include:
  • Affably Evil: Jonathan Crane usually speaks in a calm and gentle tone of voice, except towards the end when under the influence of his own drug, and is easily more likeable than the condescending Carmine Falcone or the insanely self-righteous Henri Ducard.
  • All There in the Manual: Ra's Al Ghul is mentioned to have a daughter, Talia, in the novelization. Comic fans know Talia Al Ghul is the "Daughter of the Demon" in the comics.
  • 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 flashbacks.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The League of Shadows.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Rachel delivers two of these to Bruce after he shows her the gun with which he planned on murdering Joe Chill before an assassin hired by Falcone beat him to it.
  • 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.
  • Badass Boast: "You're not the devil. You're practice."
    • The comment that inspires this reply on the part of Bruce Wayne also qualifies; one of the prisoners on the serving line remarks, "You're in Hell, and I'm the devil."
  • 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).
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Batman: You're a good cop. One of the few.
Gordon: What do you want?
Batman: Falcone brings in shipments of drugs every week. Nobody takes him down. Why?
Gordon: He's paid up with the right people.

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  • Batman Gambit: The League of Shadows pulls off a major one towards the end of the movie; they release several rapists and serial killers from Crane's asylum, so as to have a lot of police sent to the island it's on, and said island isolated from the rest of the city by having the bridges connected to it raised. Once the police are in, and the island is isolated, they disperse the fear toxin to incapacitate the police and drive them and everyone else into mass panic. Of course, said League didn't anticipate that there were people on the island that had antidote to the fear toxin, and sure enough, Gordon uses the antidote and manages to remain rational, until Batman shows up and gets Gordon to have a bridge lowered and drive off the island to get to the point where the train carrying the microwave emitted would be destroyed. Still though, it was a considerably clever use of the gambit, since you can't really blame the police for failing to guess that the releasing of a bunch of rapists and serial killers from an asylum would actually only be the MILD part of the problem.
  • Beard of Evil: Ducard sports the Fu Manchu of villainy, as does fake! 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 into the scene to the rescue.
  • Blackmail: Apparently one of Falcone's favorite tactics, second only to murder and bribery if even them. He even tries to blackmail Jonathan Crane but ends up getting a dose of fear toxin for it.
  • Blood From the Mouth: This was apparently the clue from which the audience was supposed to assume that the old man referred to as Ra's al Ghul earlier in the movie was supposed to have been killed in the fire in the dojo. When someone at a party said they wanted to introduce Bruce Wayne to Ra's al Ghul, you might have thought he really did survive, after all, until you realize that the person referred to as Ra's al Ghul did not look like him at all.
  • Body Double: Ra's al Ghul.
  • Break the Haughty: Clearly happens to Carmine Falcone in prison, who goes from smugly untouchable crime lord to lunatic restrained in an insane asylum mumbling "Scarecrow... scarecrow...".
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Falcone: I want to know how you're gonna convince me to keep my mouth shut.
Crane: About what? You don't know anything.
Falcone: I know you wouldn't want the police to take a closer look at those drugs they found. And I know about your experiments with the inmates of your nuthouse. See, I don't go into business with a guy without finding out his dirty secrets. And those goons you used – I own the muscle in this town. Now, I've been bringing your stuff in for months, so whatever he's planning, it's big, and I want in.
Crane: Well, I already know what he'll say: that we should kill you.
Falcone: Even he can't get me in here. Not in my town.
Crane: ... would you like to see my mask? I use it in my experiments. Probably not very frightening to a guy like you, but these crazies, they can't stand it.
Falcone: So when did the nut take over the nuthouse?
Cue Crane spraying the fear toxin in Falcone's face, making Falcone scream in terror.
Crane: They scream and they cry. Much as you're doing now.

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  • Brick Joke: "Nice coat."
    • Also, Gordon comments on wanting to get himself one of Batman's tumblers when he first sees it. Batman later has him using the Tumbler to collapse the support struts of the train tracks to prevent Ra's al Ghul from using it.
    • "Didn't you get the memo?"
  • But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted - Bruce makes fun of his alter-ego while establishing his rich idiot persona. "The guy dresses up like a bat...clearly has issues."
  • Calling Card: The Joker uses a joker playing card as this whenever he commits a crime, whether it be a bank robbery or a hit.
  • The Cameo Tim Booth of the band known as James has a small non speaking role as lesser known Batman villain, Victor Zsasz. SO this is sort of a double cameo.
  • The Cast Showoff: Notice how Ducard tends to go into boxing stances when fighting bare handed? Most probably influenced from Liam Neeson's boxing training during his teens. It also works with Ducard's general philosophy of being a Combat Pragmatist. He even chastised Bruce for having a more stylized fighting technique.
  • 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 Ninjitsu: Batman (one inexperienced ninja) versus the League of Shadows (many experienced ninja). Guess who's going to win. Of course, he does this by avoiding the fight altogether. After initially holding off a few, he burns the Evil Lair down to the ground, which provides a distraction that allows him to escape.
    • More or less averted when he finally does face four ninja. He has to tackle one of them over a ledge so he doesn't take all of them on all at once. When they catch up to him, they gang up and give him a good fight (until he tackles one of them over a ledge again).
  • Create Your Own Villain: At the end Gordan is discussing with Batman how the police and the mob escalate the war against each other, before shifting to how Batman may have drawn out someone else who likes to dress in a costume. When Batman wonders what Gordan is getting at he is told of a unusual bank robbery that had occurred, by someone with a flair for the theatrical just like him, and leaves a calling card.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Various characters show signs of this, though Lucius Fox is the most apparent, like during his conversation with Bruce Wayne about a full body armor suit.
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Bruce Wayne: Why didn't they put it into production?
Lucius Fox: Bean counters didn't think a soldier's life was worth 300 grand. So what's your interest in it, Mr. Wayne?
Bruce Wayne: I want to borrow it. For, uh, spelunking. You know, cave diving.
Lucius Fox: ... you expecting to run into much gunfire in these caves?

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    • Alfred Pennyworth might qualify too, though not to the same extent as in the sequel. "What's the point of all those pushups if you can't even lift a bloody log?"
    • Jonathan Crane as well.
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Dawes: Do you really believe that a man who butchers people for the mob doesn't belong in prison?
Crane: Well, I would hardly have testified to that otherwise.

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Alfred: "What you have created is akin to architecture. [The Batman] has a practical aspect, but also an aesthetic one."

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  • 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.
  • Dull Surprise: The Wayne employee overseeing the water is remarkably blase about the idea of the entire city's water supply exploding.
  • Entitled Bastard: Inverted with Ra's.
  • Eucatastrophe: 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jonathan Crane might show signs of this in comparison to the other main villains of the movie, depending on how you interpret some of the dialogue. Examples include:
    • When Ducard explains his plan for poisoning Gotham, he adds that Crane helped under the impression that the plan was to hold the city to ransom. Does this imply that Ducard expected Crane to object to mass murder, or that Ducard wanted to make sure Crane thought there was something in it for himself?
    • Also, Crane's conversation with Falcone about Rachel Dawes earlier in the movie leaves unclear whether his remark at the end was indignation, or just not wanting the details in case questioned on it later on:
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Falcone: I'll buy her off.
Crane: Not this one.
Falcone: Idealist, huh? Well, there's an answer to that too.
Crane: ...I don't want to know.
(Falcone smiles)
Falcone: Yeah you do.

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  • Evil Is Stylish: Both Henri Ducard and Jonathan Crane wear sharp suits. And then there is the ninja attire of the League of Shadows.
  • Evil Mentor: Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul.
  • Evil Versus Evil: This movie's various villains would probably be even more threatening if not for their rivalries among each other. Perhaps the clearest instance of Evil Versus Evil is when Falcone tries to Blackmail Crane, saying things like "I never go into business with a guy without finding out his dirty secrets" etc... and Crane gasses him with fear toxin then and there.
  • Expospeak Gag: After Lucius Fox finishes explaining exactly how he derived the antidote for Crane's fear toxin:
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Bruce: Am I supposed to understand any of that?
Fox: No. I just wanted you to know how hard it was.

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  • Face Death with Dignity: Ducard took his death rather well. Then again, he is Ra's Al Ghul, who may or may not be immortal.
  • Face Your Fears: A major theme. Ducard tells Bruce to breathe in his fears, to become fear so as to conquer it, makes him open a case of bats during training, etc... but after Bruce leaves the League of Shadows he decides to walk into a cave where he surrounds himself with bats, and he learns to not let fear get in his way... hence his later courage in confronting crime.
  • Finish Him!: Ducard's final test in Begins. Bruce, of course, refuses, and then defeats a whole ninja school by himself in order to get away.
  • Flower From the Mountaintop: The blue flower at the base of the mountain range, which Bruce must carry to the top (making it an inversion). More plot significant than most, as its powerful hallucinogenic effects become the source of Scarecrow's fear gas.
  • Fly At the Camera Ending: Batman gliding off a rooftop and into the camera.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dr. Jonathan Crane.
  • Freudian Excuse: Henri Ducard expresses a potential candidate for this while still a mentor to Bruce Wayne, though whether it is true or not is left unclear...
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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.

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  • Funny Background Event: When Loeb is talking to Gordon during the climax, it's on a cop's chest-mounted radio and the guy's being dragged along behind him as he paces around.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The music on the soundtrack is named after species of bat, containing six listed in order as:
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Barbastella, Artibeus, Tadirida, Macrotus, Antrozous, Nycteris.

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  • Genre Savvy: When told that Batman had infiltrated Arkham, Jonathan Crane told his men to do "what anyone does when a prowler's around. Call the police." His plan was to lure Batman outside, where the cops would take care of him, reasoning that his own operation had gotten far enough that there was no way it could be stopped. It didn't work, but it was a much more intelligent decision than most villains tend to make.
  • Graceful Loser: Henri Ducard. When he is beaten, he just closes his eyes and accepts his demise after the battle in the monorail.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Joe Chill learned more about Falcone than the latter would have liked.
    • Falcone himself got a Karmic Permanent Madness when he revealed how much he knew about Crane and his operation, and tried to blackmail him.
  • Hellish Horse/Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Dr. Jonathan Crane Scarecrow rides a horse he stole from mounted police when his fear toxin is released upon Gotham City. To the little boy with Rachel Dawes, who is affected by the drug, the horse appears to have red eyes and breathe fire from its nostrils, and Scarecrow looks like a veritable Horseman of the Apocalypse. Or, you know, the headless horseman from |the Ichabod Crane story.
  • Hero's Journey: After being told of a chance to join the League of Shadows, Bruce climbs the mountains and manages to fight off Ra's Al Ghul. After defeating the League to return to Gotham, he gains weaponry, becomes Batman, enlists the help of Lucius Fox and saves Gotham from the League, freeing the people from chaos.
  • High Altitude Interrogation: Batman performs this on Detective Flass, repeatedly dropping him and lifting him back up from mere inches away from the ground with his batclaw.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ducard is apparently killed when the train, which he was trying to use to destroy Gotham City, explodes. And Jonathan Crane is poisoned with his own fear toxin.
    • The first doesn't really apply, as the only reason he died is because Gordon blew up the tracks, causing the train to do a nosedive into the ground.
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him:
    • Subverted when Batman decides not to kill Ducard but instead leaves him to die in a train crash.
    • Played straight earlier in the movie though, when Bruce Wayne was ordered to kill a murderer.
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Bruce: I'm no executioner.
Ducard: Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.
Bruce: That's why it's important. It separates us from them.

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  • In Medias Res: The opening. Bruce Wayne is being held in a Chinese prison, and we don't find out the circumstances leading up to it until later.
  • I Own This Town: Carmine Falcone.
  • Ironic Echo: Several of them.
    • "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." Said earlier 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.
    • "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 and says "didn't you get the memo?" Basically, this provides two ironic echoes in a row.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: The League of Shadow's rationale for destroying Gotham City.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Given that Bruce Wayne is literally 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.
  • 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.
  • Madness Mantra: Scarecrow... scarecrow...
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Jonathan Crane shares several traits of the trope.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Listen to Rachel Dawes. She'll talk about how she admired Bruce when he was young and then rebuke him, or give Bruce a gift of a childhood memory and then rebuke him, or kiss him and then rebuke him... It's like she loves some idealized form of Bruce Wayne before his Batman years, and can't get over how he's not exactly like what she remembers. Though Bruce is not that bad at sending mixed messages himself.
    • Its heavily implied that Rachel's feelings for Bruce Wayne stem from their growing up together and a mutual childhood crush. Rachel is likely in love with the fantasy of a life with Bruce Wayne that clearly could have been, but one which came crashing down the day his parents were murdered. Despite her claiming Bruce changed after he disappeared for several years and was thought dead, numerous scenes before this show his relationship with Rachel strained as he simply was never the same after his parents death.
  • McNinjas: Batman himself. Plus the League of Shadows in Begins are quite a diverse group.
  • 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.
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Batman: It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
Rachel: Bruce?!

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Ra's: Well, well. You took my advice about theatricality a bit... literally.

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    • Played straight when he realizes Batman intends to crash the train, as well as leave him there.
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Batman: I won't kill you. But I don't have to save you.

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Wayne: I came here to show you that not everyone in Gotham's afraid of you.
Falcone: Only those who know me, kid. Look around you: you'll see two councilmen, a union official, a couple off-duty cops, and a judge. Now, wouldn't have a second's hesitation of blowing your head off right here and right now in front of 'em. Now, that's power you can't buy! That's the power of fear.
Wanye: I'm not afraid of you...
Falcone: ... because you think you got nothing to lose. But you haven't thought it through. You haven't thought about your lady-friend down at the D.A.'s office. You haven't thought about your old butler. Bang! People from your world have so much to lose. Now, you think because your mommy and your daddy got shot, you know about the ugly side of life, but you don't. You've never tasted desperate. You're Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham - you'd have to go a thousand miles to meet someone who didn't know your name. So don't come down here with your anger trying to prove something to yourself. This is a world you'll never understand, and you always fear what you don't understand.

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  • 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. How's THAT for an extended metaphor?
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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?
Thomas Wayne: ESPECIALLY the scary ones.

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  • Rule of Three: Instead of having one main Big Bad, Batman Begins has 3; there's the arrogant crime boss Carmine Falcone, there's the self-righteous ancient vigilante group leader Ra's al Ghul, (who would probably hate the kind of lawlessness men like Falcone stand for) and then there's some corrupt psychiatrist called Jonathan Crane who stated that he works for the latter but is implied to also work for the former. That can't end well.
  • Saved for the Sequel: At the end of the movie, the plot is resolved, but there's unresolved romance between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes to provide fodder for the next movie.
  • 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 R'as/Ducard's Obi-Wan Moment as this as well.
  • Scary Scarecrows:
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Crane: Would you like to see my mask?

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  • Secret Keeper: Bruce ends up with three of them by film's end.
  • Self-Deprecation: Bruce Wayne mentioned that Batman "clearly has psychological issues". Justified since he kinda has to do that in order to maintain his secret identity as Batman.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with Gordon summoning Batman to inform him of a particularly violent and unusual bank robbery committed by a man who left an unusual calling card... a Joker.
    • Contains a great Freeze-Frame Bonus - if you look at who recovered the Joker card, the name says "J. Kerr".
  • Shangri 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 shepherds 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, Henri Ducard as Ra's Al Ghul, 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.
  • 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.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: During the Batmobile chase with the increasingly frantic cops.
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Cop: It's a black...tank!

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Crane: Doctor Crane is not here right now. But if you'd like to make an appointment...

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  • 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.
  • 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! Episode: After Ra's Al Ghul visits Bruce, Wayne Manor is burnt down; Thomas Wayne's monorail prominent throughout the movie is used to spread Scarecrow's fear gas throughout the city; there are mass prison breakouts including Arkham Asylum and Bruce is left for dead as Wayne Manor crumbles. Fortunately, Alfred pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment; enabling Bruce to escape the manor...which leads to Batman saving most of the city (the Narrows, full of the poor and criminals, have all been driven insane by Scarecrow's fear toxin; emphasized by everyone there viewing Batman as a literal monster and trying to kill him) and leaving his mentor; Ra's Al Ghul (a prominent and major villain in the comics), to die in an explosion caused by destroying both the monorail tracks and the monorail itself.
  • 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.
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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.
Batman: Who said anything about stopping it?

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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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