Batman Begins

 | 15+ 
Cautions: violence and intensity, brief strong language, brief immodesty and sensuality, and some ethical confusion

Batman Begins is the gripping action story of the rise of the superhero without superpowers—a hero who is just one man fighting evil, but who, as a symbol of hope for the right and terror for the villains, is more than just a man.  The transformation of millionaire wit Bruce Wayne into the mysterious masked warrior is an intense, believable combination of gadgets, stunts, chase scenes, explosions and moral dilemmas, satisfying both the thrill seeking and the cerebral.

2005 | Christopher Nolan | 140 min Watch Trailer

Violence and Intensity
Villains use weaponized hallucinogens to make their victims panic.  In intense scenes, victims see visions of otherworldly monsters, or masked faces bursting into bats or maggots.  The panic incites victims to kill people they irrationally believe are attacking them.  The killings are mostly offscreen, or hidden by fog.  There is screaming.

Characters are shot to death in emotionally-intense but typically fast-paced, non-gory scenes.  A double killing is witnessed by the victims’ young son.  Buildings burn and explode, killing villains with flames and falling debris, and nearly killing the main characters.  A character just barely survives being poisoned, set on fire and thrown out of a top-story window.

On multiple occasions, villains threaten a female character and attempt to kill her.

The frequent combat ranges from prison brawls to attempts to kill.  Bruce’s training as a fighter involves real weapons, and he and others get their arms slashed.

There are major car and train wrecks, with at least one fatality.

A villain is said to have slit his wrists, but without any lasting harm.

There are thousands of bats.

Brief Strong Language
suck ups

Brief Immodesty and Sensuality
Bruce (establishing a false reputation as an idle playboy) is briefly shown consorting with two women in cocktail dresses.  Their getting out of the car draws attention to their bare legs.  Later, the two women go swimming in a restaurant fountain, and while nothing is seen, it is implied that they are not wearing anything.  Bruce, fully clothed, joins them in the fountain.  This is a very brief segment.

An unmarried couple kisses before parting ways.

A couple of men appear shirtless.

Corrupt officials are seen in a club with their arms around young women.

Some Ethical Confusion
A young Bruce spent a number of years “exploring the criminal fraternity” (and practicing stealing things that belonged to his own company), with the goal of “understanding the criminal mind.”  He says he “never became one of them,” but that the first time he “stole just to survive” he “lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong.”  These statements are not used to justify crime, but to expose the complex motives of those committing the crimes.  Bruce’s sweetheart Rachel leaves it unclear where she places the greater blame for the city’s widespread crime:  on the villain or his drug-addicted criminal-victims.

A good-guy attorney pleads for a murderer’s early release on the grounds that he’d already served several years in prison, had been cooperative in another investigation, and had committed the theft/murder out of desperation rather than greed.  Going a little too far on the other hand, Rachel hyperbolically tells the original victims’ relative that what the murderer did is “unforgivable”.

A panicking villain cries, “I swear to God!” and Batman counters with, “Swear to me!”  There is talk about Batman, as a legend or symbol, being “incorruptible” and even “everlasting”.  This may be taken either as hyperbolical language, or as claim to near deity.

Bruce/Batman uses deception, including infrequent deliberate lies, to conceal his dual identity.

Sergeant Gordon, one of the few good cops, tells his corrupt partner, “I’m no rat”—meaning he doesn’t report his partner’s involvement in drug trade.

Spoiler Warning—Bruce’s former instructor Ducat claims that the League of Shadows to which he belongs is what “rescued us from the darkest corners of our own hearts.”  Ducat also advances unbiblical ideas of justice and the nature of man.  Later on, however, Bruce rejects the League of Shadows and its philosophical teachings.

The question “Why do we fall?” and answer, “So we can learn to pick ourselves back up,” is repeated a few times.  While not a complete biblical answer1, the statement’s point about human perseverance is not incorrect.  Similarly, the statement that “justice is about harmony” is incomplete but technically correct.  Ditto Rachel’s claim that “it’s not who you are underneath; it’s what you do that defines you.”

A misunderstood Batman is chased by the police, and runs… or drives.  Attempting to get a dying person to safety, and ultimately secure the safety of all Gotham city, he drives the Batmobile over the roof of a police car with policemen in it, then releases small bombs that cause the other pursuing cop cars to flip and crash.  In that scene, he also causes hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to others’ private property.

The main female character is a district attorney, though she is acting out of a love of justice, rather than out of feminism.

Bruce’s instructor’s statements “You must journey inwards,” and “Embrace your worst fear.  Become one with the darkness,” are meant figuratively, not mystically.  Bruce is trained in jiu jitsu, a fighting technique which, in real life, occasionally has eastern religious associations (similar in concept to, though much less strong than yoga’s).

Two children appeal to “finders keepers” to justify stealing from each other.  Adult characters reminisce about stealing condensed milk as children.

A villain briefly references psychotherapist Carl Jung’s unbiblical theory of “archetypes”.

A man is briefly seen, from the shoulders up, urinating.

Bruce inhales drugged incense which causes fear and hallucinations, as part of his training.  After barely surviving a high dose of the fear drug, Bruce jokes about needing more antidote for when he’s “out looking for kicks and someone’s passing around the weaponized hallucinogens.”

Alcohol appears a few times, and at one point Bruce pretends to be drunk.

1   A complete biblical answer would include, for example, reference to God being glorified through our weakness.  See 2 Corinthians 12:9.  Or the book of Job.

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