This is a DC Movie hot take years in the making. I will state here as I tend to do…these are just my thoughts. I’m fairly certain I’m in the minority on this issue. So take it with a grain of salt.
I like Batman Begins more than The Dark Knight. I’m not saying it’s better, but I am saying I like it more.
Two villains made their big screen debut in Batman Begins. We got Scarecrow and Ra’a al Ghul. Granted, Scarecrow worked for the “Head of the Demon,” so in a way, a Gotham villain was doing the bidding of the League of Shadows. But we got to see two rogues that we had not seen in any previous live action Batman setting.
The Dark Knight was great. I’m not saying it wasn’t. And while Heath Ledger’s Joker became the new benchmark of all Jokers before or after, it was the third live iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime.
In all other Batman versions, we see the finished product. Even in the 1989 Michael Keaton Batman, while the Caped Crusader was relatively unknown, he had all of the components together, the suit, the gadgets, the mystique. What I liked about Batman Begins is we got a chance to see the brief aftermath of the Wayne murders, the momentary encounter between a young Bruce and a young cop by the name of James Gordon. And that paid off at the end of the Nolan series when Batman said that “a hero can be anyone.”
We got to see Bruce travel the world and eventually end up in the League of Shadows, a key component of his training that had been left out of previous movies. It is his refusal to kill for the League that caused the rift between him and Ra’s. That he won’t “cleanse” Gotham City, but feels he can save it his way (and ultimately does), really sets the two apart from each other and makes it the ultimate stakes. While Ra’s would like his foe vanquished, you recall that as the train is speeding to certain doom, Bats says “I won’t kill you…but I don’t have to save you.”
To me, it shows that Batman as a vigilante or hero is still in his infancy. I think an older, more experienced Batman would not let al Ghul die in the wreck so he would have to face justice. Scarecrow we know evaded capture until the The Dark Knight.
Now in an uncharacteristic move, Batman does repeat a line that Rachel says to Bruce earlier in the movie, giving away his secret identity. But if you can’t trust someone you’ve known since childhood, who can you trust?
I love both movies. But it was really nice to see more of the Batman origin besides that one night in Crime Alley (which we’ve seen again in Batman v Superman). It was good to see how he got where he ended up.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours? As always, there’s that comment section here or on Facebook. Let me know.