In 2005, director Christopher Nolan brought Batman Begins to the big screen, with Christian Bale taking on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The movie was a huge hit with audiences and paved the way for two sequels: The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Collectively all three films are known as The Dark Knight trilogy and together they form a fantastic series of movies. But how much do you know about the original entry?
In this post I will highlight 18 things you should be on the look out for in Batman Begins. These are fun little extras that you can pay attention to next time you watch the movie.
Early into the movie look out for British-Chinese actor, Vincent Wong who plays the role of ‘Old Asian Prisoner’. Wong had previously appeared in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), in the role of ‘Crime Lord #1’.
Joe Chill, the mugger who is responsible for the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne is played by Richard Brake. Brake has had an extensive career in film, having appeared in films including Cold Mountain (2003), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Mandy (2018). TV fans might now him better from shows such as Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones.
In Batman Begins, Cillian Murphy plays the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow. But Murphy doesn’t just appear in Batman Begins, he also appears in The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He is the only actor to play a villain in all three entries in The Dark Knight trilogy.
Wayne Manor is located in Gotham City, right? Well yes, but for Batman Begins the exterior shots of Wayne Manor were actually filmed outside Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, England. The property had previously appeared in films such as Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001), amongst others.
It comes in black
During the sequence where Lucius Fox demonstrates the Tumbler to Bruce Wayne, Wayne asks the question “Does it come in black?” This is a throw-away line in the movie, but it is later referenced in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), when Fox introduces Wayne to another new vehicle.
A night at the opera
The bat-like opera that the Wayne family attend is a real opera. It’s called Mefistofele. The opera was composed by Italian composer, Arrigo Boito.
Look out for character actor, Rade Serbedija who plays a homeless man in Batman Begins. Serbedija has appeared in many, many movies, from Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), to X-Men: First Class (2011) amongst others.
Comic book villain, Mr. Zsasz briefly appears in Batman Begins and is played by Tim Booth. Booth is known to music fans as the lead singer of the rock band, James.
Bruce’s first night out
During Bruce Wayne’s first night as Batman (just before he puts on his costume), he visits Jim Gordon. Gordon pulls a gun on Wayne, but chooses not to fire on him. Although Gordon has no real reason to trust a man clad head-to-toe in black, he doesn’t fire off a single round. He senses good in this stranger.
Did you know that Bruce Wayne’s love interest, Rachel Dawes is an original character created especially for Batman Begins? The character is played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, but is replaced with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in the sequel, The Dark Knight (2008).
Bruce Wayne is seen driving a Lamborghini Murciélago. In Spanish, the word murciélago means ‘bat’.
Actor Jack Gleeson appears in a minor role in Batman Begins, as a child who has a brief conversation with Batman. The actor is perhaps best known for playing the part of Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones.
The National Institute of Medical Research provides the exterior shots for Arkham Asylum. In the real world the building is located on the outskirts of London and not Gotham City.
During Bruce Wayne’s birthday party, Bruce asks Wayne Enterprise head, Mr. Earle how well the sale of Wayne Enterprises stock is going? Little does Earle know that Bruce Wayne is secretly buying up stock to secure the company’s future. This whole scene is a set up for a later interaction between the pair.
At Bruce Wayne’s birthday party, Ra’s al Ghul’s line, “But is Ra’s al Ghul immortal?”, is a nod to the character’s comic book origins. In Batman comics, Ra’s al Ghul has lived for centuries and is often regarded as being immortal.
Keep a look out for Canadian Actor Shane Rimmer in Batman Begins. The actor, known for providing the voice of Scott Tracy in 1960s television series, Thunderbirds, appears as a Gotham Water Board operative.
The calling card
Although the Joker is not featured in Batman Begins, the film does foreshadow the character’s arrival in the sequel, via a piece of evidence that is recovered from a crime scene. The evidence is a playing card depicting a joker. The officer who recovered the card – as indicated on the evidence tag – is J. Kerr.
And finally, did you know that none of the villains that appear in Batman Begins (Ra’s al Ghul, Scarecrow, Carmine Falcone, Mr. Zsasz) had previously appeared in a Batman movie? Batman Begins’ rogues’ gallery is unique to this picture and specifically uses villains that had not appeared in live-action before.
Want to know more about The Dark Knight trilogy? Then check out my post: Who wrote the music for The Dark Knight trilogy?, which provides further background information about Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.