The Dark Knight
|Appeared in|| Batman Begins|
Batman: Gotham Knight
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
|Actor|| Christian Bale|
Kevin Conroy (voice in Gotham Knight)
Gus Lewis (young)
- "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me."
- ―Batman [src]
Bruce Wayne is a billionaire playboy from Gotham City. When eight years old, he saw his parents get murdered in front of him. He spent seven years of his adult life in training in various forms of martial arts, and his detective skills. When he returned, he was inspired by a bat in his ancestral home of Wayne Manor; becoming the vigilante known as Batman.
Bruce Wayne was born on October 13, 1975, in Gotham City to Thomas Wayne, a billionaire philanthropist employed as a doctor, and Martha Kane-Wayne, an Irish-Catholic debutante, and grows up home-schooled on his parents' Wayne Manor estate (since there was no public school anywhere near the estate) apart from them and their trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth. Although the only child in the house, his loneliness eventually changes during his fourth birthday, when his parents bring in other children for him to befriend, but most spend his party running around and yelling. This leaves Bruce in a best friendship with the only well-behaved child among them, Rachel Dawes, who is the daughter of the mansion's housekeeper and lived in housing unit nearby. Despite having play dates with the other kid over the next three years, he secretly wishes to stay away from some except Rachel, who is the friend he saw the most. One day at age 8, while playing with her in the garden greenhouse, Bruce falls down a dry well and into a cave where he is attacked a swarm of bats. His father rescues him though Bruce develops a fear of bats; the senior Wayne comforts his son by telling him that though people fall, they always have the strength to get up.
Later, Bruce accompanies his parents into the city to see a new monorail system they had built that just opened up for the public. Throughout the ride, his parents explain that Gotham is suffering from an economic downturn and enduring deeper into very hard times. To help it's citizens, his father has nearly bankrupted his company, Wayne Enterprises, to build the monorails to unite the city, with Wayne Tower as the system central core, but it doesn't seem enough. While watching a performance of Mefistofele at the Gotham Opera House nearby with both his parents, Bruce gets frightened by a scene featuring a bat-like monster (which reminds him of the bats that have attacked him in the well) and asks to leave. Once outside, the family is confronted by a mugger named Joe Chill, who shoots both of Bruce's parents dead for causing the depression to drive him out of his job and flees just as police patrol show up to shelter the now orphaned boy. At Gotham Central Police Headquarters, one of the patrolmen, Det. Sgt. James Gordon, does his best to comfort Bruce with a coat while Police Lt. Gillian Loeb is able to capture Chill. Taken back home to watch as his parents' bodies were buried outside, a distraught Bruce is left cared for by Alfred, who arranged that he won't be taken into social service care. Despite the butler's cheerful words, the boys still blames himself for his parents' murder: had he not been frightened, the Waynes would not have encountered Chill.
At age 12, Bruce's home-school days end when he inherits enough money from his ancestors to give himself a first-class education and attend Mark Twain High School in Ossaville, a town closer to Gotham. When the principle tells Alfred that there is nothing more the school staff could give the boy, Bruce is scheduled to do his schoolwork with a series of tutors. His favorite subject is drama since he loved to read plays, and asks Alfred a lot of questions about it when he learns that the butler was a child actor while growing up in England. At age 14, Bruce becomes interested in sports when he learns of a teen soccer league that forms in the neighborhood. Although not enrolled in any of the public schools, he is somehow able to join one of the teams, but quits after his second practice since he probably isn't the locker room type. But Bruce still has an interest in other sports, and at age 16, he asks Alfred if they could try skiing. Having learned of a ski resort in Vermont, the old butler phones for reservations at a nearby lodge for their trip. Driving there, however, becomes hazardous when he and Bruce are caught in a blizzard, so they don't check into the lodge until ten, when the resort is already closed and scheduled to be reopened at around six in the morning. While Alfred relaxes at the lounge, Bruce decides to ski alone and sneaks out of their room before hiking to the resort in his skiing equipment. But right when he starts sliding out of control down the mountain, a night watchman catches him in the act and calls the rescue patrol, who find Bruce unconscious at the bottom of a shallow gorge with a bloody gash across his forehead, one of his skis lying in two pieces nearby and the other canting his leg in an unnatural angle. He is taken back to the lodge with a cast for his leg and bandage on his forehead, and rested in bed until Alfred comes to check on him. Because Bruce has a broken leg and slight concussion, a doctor who Alfred confreres with concludes that if the butler wants to take the boy back to Gotham, he would need proper transportation. So, Alfred purchases a twin-rotor Sikorsky helicopter to return home with the bandaged Bruce, setting it down on a field next to Wayne Manor. That following week, the bandages come off, and the Wayne family physician pronounces the young Wayne intact again.
Bruce never thinks of going skiing ever since, but his interests eventually shift to other athletics. He orders a complete set of Olympic-grade gymnastics gear and spends most of the summer with an instructor learning how to use them. He swims in the Olympic-size pool dug behind the garden before breakfast and lifts weights for several months, but is never able to do archery or mediocre skating. Rachel sometimes joins him at the manor to swim, jump on the trampoline or hang out. Bruce enjoys the visits until he leaves the city at age 17 to attend Princeton University, where he studies Jungian archetypes and mono-myths. But he considers such topics absolutely nonessential to any conceivable life he wants to lead, if it isn't plain foolish. During class break one fatal morning, Bruce waits under a clock tower at the campus center for a cute girl from his advanced calculus class, who promises to meet him there so he could lend her his notes in exchange for buying him coffee. She never shows, and he find his mind returning to the class he just finished, mainly on the story of Siddhartha that was told. Following his graduation and a car race that he won in Missouri, the young Wayne returns to Gotham and turns down his arranged inheritance of Wayne Manor's ownership since it became a reminder of everything he lost, deciding to demolish the foundation just the way he feels it should be if he has his way. He lets his heart weigh him down even more that afternoon, when he learns that Chill's prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against mob boss Carmine Falcone. Intent on ensuring Chill doesn't become reminder of disgrace under the eyes of the Wayne empire for what he did to his parents, Bruce waits outside the courtroom of Gotham District Courthouse with a gun under his sleeve to shoot and kill him with, but an assassin of Falcone's posing as a reporter did so first. Rachel, who has become the city's assistant District Attorney, drives him to an alleyway in front Falcone's restaurant to show him that things have grown much worse since the depression when Falcone rose to power from the criminal underworld, flooding the city with organized crime, and Chill would have been the justice system's ace in the hole against him. Bruce dismisses that idea by telling her about his foiled plan, and she expresses disgust for his blind vengeance without regard for justice, telling him that his father would be ashamed.
Realizing how right she is, he throws the gun into the harbor and confronts Falcone, who tells him that he is ignorant of the nature of crime and he would never be able to face up against criminals as he doesn't understand their world. Hoping to prove him wrong, Bruce gets on a ship at the docks intending to travel the world in order to gain understanding of the criminal mind and seek the means of fighting injustice, becoming part of the criminal underworld as a result. Spending the first eighteen months as part of the ship's crew, he sleeps on rags at a corner of the engine room, eats what's left of everyone else's food and does work on deck by lifting heavy crate, pulling at cables, scraping paint of the hull and cleaning gunk from the bilges. Many of his much bigger and powerful crew mates, most notably the ship's bosun Hector, often torments Bruce out of his witts, with each attack serving as a lesson. As the ship docks two miles offshore from Hong Kong, Bruce is sent on a dinghy to pick up a package from a Chinese national and return it to the ship. He waits until dawn at a small fisherman's pier that he ties his dinghy, but the package man never arrives and the freighter is gone. Luckily, Bruce is able to leave Hong Kong by sneaking into the engine room of a luxury liner and stowing away until it docks in Sydney. While there, he meets with a young American named Zachary Dabb and helps him do charity work with the Aborigines, teaching the traveling billionaire a lesson on not to count on preparations in receiving gifts.
Leaving that following week on a ship that dropped him off in Tanga, Bruce wanders the filthy marketplace and stops by a fruit vendor, stealing a plum from the basket and escaping down an alleyway to give it to a poor boy to finish. Shortly later, he gets himself hired by a tramp steamer, and in the following months journeys through a lot of Africa and some of Asia until settling down in India. There While in North Korea, he accepts training in Kuk Sool Won under a master who was about to retire in the Pujanryang Mountains before moving on to South Korea, joining a gang of smugglers running flights into Pyongyang below radar and promising to some day hire them as a flight crew. Jumping off ship in Marrakesh, Bruce sleeps under a bridge for a couple nights and signs onto a tanker bound for Great Britain. Upon arrival, he hangs around London long enough to learn how to steal cars from the ship's cook, then ships out on another freighter and finds himself in Shanghai. One of the deckhands, nicknamed Stocky, has a way to make quick and easy money, which an interested Bruce sees as an opportunity to understand the kind of human deprived from the cherished. Together, they take a taxi to an airport on the city outskirts, where the job is to hijack a truck full of crates being loaded onto it by laborers, but Bruce begins to feel fear of preparing to commit a crime for the first time and is exhilarated by it. The plan eventually succeeds, but both he and Stocky are cornered and detained in a warehouse for their theft (ironically of Wayne Enterprises cargo, which the crates actually were), by a police squad who send Bruce off to a Bhutanese prison, where he brawls with the inmates.
- "To manipulate the fears in others, you must first master your own. Are you ready to begin? "
- ―Henri Ducard[src]
The young billionaire continues begging for food and money until he has enough to make a telephone call to Alfred in the United States. By the time he arrives in Kathmandu two days later after stopping at Hector's place, he walks onto a landing strip as the Wayne Enterprises jet carrying Alfred lands and boards it when the butler sees him. Throughout the plane ride back to Gotham, Bruce shares his idea to fight crime, hoping to show Gothamites that their city doesn't belong to crime and corruption. Alfred agrees to this by saying that during the depression, Bruce's parents believed that the example their monorail system represented would inspire the wealthy of Gotham to save their city, and in a way, their murders shocked the wealthy and powerful into action to do so. In Bruce's opinion, his idea may not be put in place as the Waynes' son, but as a symbol which he could be incorruptible, everlasting, and terrifying. Alfred assumes that as his master is taking on the criminal underworld, the symbol must be a persona meant to protect those he cared about, who he implies might not believe Bruce to be coming back after being gone for seven years; as it turns out, Wayne Enterprises' CEO, William Earle, declared Bruce dead to liquidate his shareholding (which has brought in an enormous capital) and take the company public, but Bruce is glad to have left the rest to Alfred. The plane refuels itself once in three days before reaching its destination back in Gotham City, and Bruce often wonders what dramas have been occurring on the city streets.
Retaking residence in Wayne Manor, the last of the Waynes' plans on making his return known to Gotham, but decides to first accomplish a few things without being scrutinized by gossip hounds, such as investigating the exact nature of the League of Shadows. Alfred spends the first five days back looking up the society in various libraries and universities, but when he meets Bruce in a library on the sixth day, the butler implies that the reason why there was a lack of info on it is because some doubt the League's existence. So Bruce heads to Gotham University to meet with its chief researcher, Sandra Flanders, to see if she could find anything about Ra's and his elite, since she enjoys challenges. In the sparse information collected from Alfred, he comes to learn that the League of Shadows have been in existence for centuries, as mentioned by a piece of parchment copied from an Irish, a fragment sent from Paris to Berlin at the height of the French Revolution, a cryptic message sent from a clothier in London to a Manchester sea captain in 1866 and a monograph on secret societies done by an Oxford don in the early 20th century. Flanders' information, on the other hand, shows the translation of Ra's' name in Arabic ("Head of the Demon") and mentions a story about Ra's himself written on a parchment that was acquired from North Africa and translated by an eccentric collector named Berthold Cavally, who died in a house fire in 1952 and the story was saved from the ashes by his nephew James and displayed at the Olympus Gallery in New York City. Using Alfred's credit card number, Bruce makes reservation for a plane trip there and a hotel stay in the Manhattan Plaza.
At the gallery, the patrons refuse to offer the parchment since it is being used to honor James Cavally's death in a plane crash that happened overnight, and one of the auctioneers, Wesley Carter, explains it couldn't be sold unless the patrons hear from Cavally's lawyers. But Bruce predicts that they would say no about selling the parchment and simply takes it later that afternoon, sneaking his way out of the building to the rooftop undetected. Arriving back in Gotham, he and Alfred sit down in the Wayne Manor kitchen and saw the Cavally-discovered story theorized that Ra's was once a physician who lived centuries ago and was implored to save the son of an Arabian ruler known the Salimbok from death. He succeeded by lowering the prince into a death-reviving pit that drove him to the edge of insanity, killing the Physician's wife Sora. The furious Samlimbok had the Physician imprisoned with his wife's corpse in a cage lowered deep into another pit in the desert, but when the Physician escaped and bathed in his own stenchful pit, the substance within gave him immortal life. Bruce finds it hard to believe, but nonetheless moves onto investigating key individuals in Gotham's justice system. He starts this objection by spying on Rachel as she is talking with her boss, District Attorney Carl Finch, are discussing at the courthouse about Falcone's buy on half of the city. While listing much about them from newspaper articles in the manor's living room, he spots a giant bat flying overhead. This reminds Bruce of the bats he encountered in the well and heads down there into the caves below to overcome his worst fear. The bats living down inside that he was afraid of flutter around him and welcome him as an old friend to their home as Bruce becomes inspired by them to make the symbol he discussed with Alfred earlier into a vigilante persona, which he later calls "the Batman".
- "Bats frighten me. It's time my enemies shared my dread"
- ―Bruce Wayne [src]
With his worst fear overcome, the young industrial heir decides that it is time to reestablish his connections to Wayne Enterprises. He arrives at Wayne Tower the next morning to find Earle at a board meeting about "what Thomas Wayne would have done", but checks in with the secretary, Jessica to wait and see him. Jessica is pretty surprised to see Thomas Wayne's son in front of her and asks him to teach her indoor golf, thus making Earle frustrated after calling her on the comm twice yet shocked to come out of the meeting room to see Bruce alive. As word spreads around Gotham about Bruce's return, he and Earle sit down and discuss the company going public. Bruce offers to be handsomely rewarded with his shares, but instead of looking to interfere with the corporation's ownership, he hopes to apply for a job within it. He asks to start at the Applied Sciences Division, and Earle makes cheers to welcome the young Wayne home. While down at the workplace, the division's chief activist, former board member Lucius Fox, who helped build Gotham's monorail system with Bruce's father, introduces Bruce to many environmental and defense prototypes not in production, such as a caviler utility harness, a gas-powered magnetic grapple gun, and a bullet-proof Nomex survival suit made of caviler bi-weave. Finding the equipment useful for his mission as Batman, Bruce requests to borrow it for spelunking. He doesn't want Earle to know about him borrowing such stuff, but the way Fox sees it, the equipment belongs to the billionaire anyway.
With Alfred's help, Bruce begins construction on a secret base inside the Batcave, and the butler shows him a secret elevator leading from the cave up to Wayne Manor, explaining that his young master's great-great grandfather used it to hide escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. To turn his new caviler suit into Batman's self styled "Batsuit", Bruce upgrades it with unique gauntlets given to him during his League of Shadows training and spray-paints all black without carvings to make it unrecognizable to the Wayne Board, but first needs a bat mask to conceal his identity. Alfred suggests that if they order the main part of the mask's cowl from Singapore via a shell corporation, they would put it together from a large order to avoid suspicion. Testing his suit and harness on his first night out as a vigilante, Bruce uses it to break into Gordon's office at the police station when the cop returns from his errand at a liquor store with his corrupt partner Det. Arnold Flass, asking him about Falcone's criminal operation to bring a shipment of drugs into the city every week and the Gotham City Police Department's inability to stop him. With the back of his head pressed on by a common office stapler (which was thought to be a pistol), Gordon explains without turning his head that he's payed up with the right people, and the only possible methods against him is leverage from corrupt District Court Judge Faden, whose best friendship with Falcone has got him listed on the crimelord's payroll, and an assistant DA to provide it for prosecution. Bruce realizes immediately that the DA in question could only be Rachel, and suggests that they form an alliance, but Gordon believes him to be "just some nut" and chases him alongside two other cops up to the roof of the building. Luckily, the ski-masked billionaire escapes their gunshots by soaring into the air, but since the suit doesn't have wings, he ends up falling headfirst into the railing of another fire escape which collapses in his grasp.
Realizing the bat he is to become is going to need wings, Bruce returns to Applied Sciences to request lightweight fabric to use for what he claims is base-jumping. Knowing just the thing, Fox introduces him to a sheet of black "memory cloth" activated by electric currents from a thick canvas glove to change shape, but though Bruce thinks the activist might be uncomfortable with the unusual requests, Fox replies that he doesn't really care. So the the younger man borrows it anyway, but in addition asks to have a directional microphone that he would later incorporate into Batman's mask and test out an armored vehicle that catches his eye which Fox calls "the Tumbler", purchasing the latter in black. Later that night, Bruce begins to test the microphone by using it to eavesdrop on a conversation between Falcone and Flass, in which the mob boss mentions that the last of his drug shipments would be arriving at the docks on Thursday evening and asks the cop to meet him there. When Flass puts in that word on the streets that Rachel is sniffing around in their operation, he and Falcone plot to get her out of the way by having her mugged and assassinated. As soon as their shipment from Singapore arrives, Bruce and Alfred spend the next three days testing the thousand batter helmet-like bat masks to see if one of them is unbreakable enough, which one is. In addition, Bruce adds to the Batsuit a utility belt cut from the harness and hooks the grapple guns in its buckle holsters, sews for the canvas gloves electrical contacts in the fingers powered by a tiny but powerful battery on the wrists' undersides to straighten out the memory cloth, and carves from metal a set custom-made bat-shaped boomerangs that he dubs Batarangs so that his criminal targets could share his dread.
With the same bat design spray-painted on the suit's chest, the construction of Batman is complete, but the drug shipment arrival is only a week away. So, the young billionaire decides to wait by leaving again for a brief vacation in northern California, where he sees sights in and around San Francisco and goes hang gliding on Mt. Tamalpais for a few days. He does, though, think it as a mistake to leak his hang gliding plans since it would attract attention to the abilities he wanted to be kept hidden. But to his relief when he returns to Gotham by commercial carrier, no one sees him stop at several Falcone-owned areas to install tiny microphones on the following night. At his last stop, located in Falcone's apartment near the theater district, Bruce listens as Falcone announces from inside that the next night is when the shipment will be docking, then heads back to the Batcave to prepare Batman for his strike. Once the ship docks and the Falcone Crime Family start unloading it, Batman spies on Falcone as he entrusts the drugs sewn inside stuffed bears to his men for them to take to their buyers and the drugs sewn inside stuffed rabbits to Flass for a purpose that the vigilante doesn't quite hear. Wasting no time, Batman proceeds to disrupt the shipment, first making the thugs aware of his presence by pulling one of them, Steiss, into one of the open crates and descended upon two more, Bigger and Alfie. Finally emerging in the sight of the Falcone's remaining men, a firefight breaks out and Batman is able to subdue every thug. Falcone tries to escape but finds his limousine driver unconscious, leaving the vigilante on his heels enough time to grab him from inside and head-butt him, knocking him out. Leaving the mobster tied to a searchlight near his bound thugs which formed a makeshift Bat-Signal, Batman arrives at a monorail station and disrupts the assassination attempt on Rachel, leaving her with evidence and the leverage she was looking for against Faden. By the time the police round up the Falcone crime family, Gordon begins to take Batman's idea for an alliance seriously, and the vigilante watches from atop the district courthouse as millions of Gotham citizens see him as their new hero.
Batman's theatrics that night make quite an impression around the city, but a few of the police and other officials are not very impressed that someone is taking the law in their own hands and being glorified by it. Though theatrics are sharp weapons to Bruce, Alfred suggests that they may be too sharp if it leaves serious injuries from his nights as Batman and get some of the billionaire's friends to wonder what he does for his time and money. Later the next day, when Earle invites Bruce to join him for dinner at Puccio's, the young Wayne drives there in his Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 with two beautiful young European women, Kiki and Soozey, as company. While talking about Batman's achievement and the police's "jealousy" of it with Earle and his friends, Bruce lets Kiki and Soozey swim an inside pool nearby, but even though a maitre'd tells him that they can't go in since the pool is a decoration and they don't have swimwear, he tells the waiter that he is going to make some changes before signing a check for ownership of the restaurant on the spot and joining the two women for their swim. On their way back to the Lamborghini, the three pass Rachel, who arrives for a casual blind date. Bruce tries to convince her that he isn't who he seems to be with his behavior, but she notes that one isn't only who they are on the inside, but also how they act.
Suiting up again later that night, Batman stops at Gordon's house while Gordon himself is taking out the trash. As the cop implies that organized is getting jumpy since the vigilante stood up against Falcone, Batman complies that it's a start by adding in Falcone's deal with Flass on splitting the drug shipment in half so that those in toy bears had gone to the dealers, and that he might get the answer for Gordon on where those in toy rabbits were going from Flass. Before he leaves to do so, however, Batman is warned that the now Police Commissioner Loeb has set up a massive task force to hunt him in his belief that the vigilante is dangerous, despite Gordon's belief that the crime-fighter is probably trying to help. Cornering Flass in an alleyway and hoisting him up 70 feet into the air with a cable, the bat-costumed man interrogates the corrupt cop until the latter finally explains that Falcone had the drugs driven to "special customers" for a couple of days before they go to the dealers, because there is something hidden within them that they require for an unknown purpose. When Batman asks what that was, Flass blurts out that he never went to the drop-off since it was in the Narrows, where cops only go when they are in force. Releasing Flass from the cable, Batman heads to the decaying river island and pinpoints drug drop-off as the apartment of Dr. Jonathan Crane, a corrupt psycho-pharmacologist and chief administrator at the neighboring Arkham Asylum on Falcone's payroll. Before he could get his hands on the "unusual" drugs kept inside though, Crane comes in with two members of his gang and tells them to burn the evidence. The vigilante hiding in the shadows fortunately knocks both men out before they can do anything, only to be stunned when Crane comes up from behind in a burlap gas mask, sprays him with a powerful hallucinogen made from an organic compound within the drugs which he calls "Fear Toxin" and lights him on fire with a cigarette lighter. Batman narrowly escapes with his life and mind intact by jumping out the window and washing the flames off in rain, but the hallucinations from the Fear Toxin is too great that he calls Alfred and tells him to come pick him up.
The hallucinations continue throughout the car ride home, but when Bruce awakes to find himself in bed on his 30th birthday two days later, Alfred has already rescued him with an anti-toxin developed by Fox. Though Fox believes that his employer is simply getting himself drugged at nightclubs, Bruce asks if he could produce more of the cure. Rachel comes over two hours later to drop of her present to him but insists on not coming to the party due to DA work she has to catch up on, eventually leaving shortly afterwards after receiving a call from her office saying that Crane has just transferred Falcone to Arkham on suicide watch. Concerned, Bruce leaves the festivities to Alfred and suits up to follow her to the asylum to find out Crane's scheme. There, Batman listens through his microphone as Rachel observes Falcone's antics (such as the mob boss' mutters of the sadist conspirator persona Crane uses for his burlap mask, which he calls "the Scarecrow") and accuses Crane of corruption, but the sadistic psychiatrist gains the upper hand by taking her down to the nuthouse basement and showing her that he has been experimenting the toxin, which is lethal in vapor form, on his patients and having them pipe it into the city water supply for his mysterious employer. Rachel tries to escape in an elevator, but the Scarecrow blocks her exit, poisons her with the toxin and takes her back downstairs as a captive. Making his move, Batman saves her by subduing the Scarecrow's gang and attacks the Scarecrow himself by ripping off his mask and spraying him with his own poison, damaging the rest of his sanity. But right when he interrogates Crane about his employer, who the psychiatrist claims is the supposed dead Ra's al Ghul, the police arrive after receiving a call from one of the gang members and surround the asylum, so the vigilante carries Rachel to the rafters and meets with Gordon up there once he enters the building first. Explaining what had happened, Batman insists on giving her the anti-toxin when he gets back to the Batcave, and instructs the sergeant to carry the assistant DA downstairs to a side alleyway while the bat-costumed man signals a swarm of bats to keep the policemen outside and SWAT team coming into the asylum busy while he makes his exit. Then, the vigilante recollects Rachel from Gordon and puts her into the parked Tumbler as they speed off from the Narrows. Few policemen led by Flass speed after him in a messy chase leading out of the city, only to lose sight of the vehicle when it drives into a clearing underneath an unfinished elevated road.
After administering the antidote to Rachel in the Batcave, Batman tells her that she'll wake up at home with two vials of it for her to give to Gordon – one for inoculating himself and the other for mass-production. As she falls asleep, he thinks to himself about loving such a person who he knew his whole life despite it assuming certain trust or fidelity obligations, such as abandoning what he began or subjecting her to continuing danger.
During his birthday party in Wayne Manor, Bruce is confronted by a group of League of Shadows ninjas led by Ducard, who reveals himself to be the real Ra's al Ghul, and that the man killed earlier was a decoy. Ra's, who had been conspiring with Crane, plans to destroy Gotham by distributing the toxin undetected via Gotham's water supply and then vaporizing it with a microwave emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises. Bruce, tricking his guests into leaving, fights briefly with Ra's while the League of Shadows set fire to Wayne Manor. Bruce escapes the inferno with Alfred's help just as the manor is destroyed. Batman arrives at the "Narrows" section of Gotham to aid the police in battling psychotic criminals, including Crane, who the League set free from the asylum. Rachel is confronted by but wards off Crane; Batman rescues Rachel when more criminals go after her. Batman intimates his identity to her while leaving Gordon in control of the Batmobile to stop the elevated train that is being used to transport the vaporizer to the city's central water hub. Batman battles Ra's aboard the train, then escapes just as Gordon topples the elevated line using the Batmobile's missiles, leaving Ra's to crash to the ground with the train.
Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as CEO, firing Earle. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce Wayne with his dual life as Batman. Gordon, newly promoted to lieutenant, unveils a Bat-Signal for Batman. Gordon mentions a criminal who, like Batman, has "a taste for the theatrical," leaving a Joker playing card at his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate it. As Batman is leaving, Gordon mentions that he hasn't thanked Batman for what he has done. Batman replies that Gordon will never have to, and flies off into the night.
A street kid meets with three of his friends at a skate park. All three of them claim to have seen Batman earlier that day. Batman's battle with the Man in Black, a high-tech criminal, is told in reverse chronological order, with three very different interpretations of Batman's form and abilities: one describes him as a living shadow that can melt away and reappear at will (similar to Vampire Batman), another describes him as a half-bat, half-man creature (similar to Man-Bat), and one describes him as a combat robot called Robobat that can leap tall buildings in a single bound. At the end, Batman pursues the Man in Black to the skate park, and captures him with the help of the fourth street kid. The fourth kid is able to see what Batman truly is after seeing him sustain injuries from the battle: a very human warrior in a Batsuit. He proceeded to tell his experience to his friends after Batman disappeared.
Though the film credits give "story by" acknowledgment to first-time writer Jordan Goldberg, Josh Olsen acknowledged it was actually based on a very similar story by Frank Robbins called "The Batman Nobody Knows." The story was first printed in Batman #250 in 1973, and subsequently adapted as "Legends of the Dark Knight" in the original Batman: The Animated Series. According to Olsen: "The first time it's stealing, the second time it's borrowing, the third time you're creating a genre."
Also, the three different versions of the man in black have many similarities to other members of Batman's Rogues gallery, though they all resemble a member of the League of Shadows. The first story features a tech-wielding villain who has teeth similar to Killer Croc, the second uses a jetpack, which may or may not be a reference to Firefly, and the third has similarities to Deadshot. Also, the Batman of the second encounter is very similar to the villain Man-Bat. When the Man in Black is seen by all the teenagers, he has no identifiable characteristics, other than that of the new Red Hood for his use of gadgetry and trademark "knife" use (the piece of glass he picks up). (Killer Croc and Deadshot are both featured in the full movie.)
Crispus Allen and Anna Ramirez are partners and members of the Major Crimes Unit hand-picked by James Gordon. The two are assigned to take the recently captured Man in Black (actually Jacob Feely, an escaped inmate from Arkham Asylum with an expertise in advanced electronics and explosives) to the Narrows to be incarcerated. On their way, they argue over whether Batman can be trusted: Allen says they're running errands for a vigilante, while Ramirez replies that Batman has changed Gotham City for the better. As they are heading back, Allen declares his intention to leave the MCU, and Ramirez pulls into a vacant lot to confront Allen. However, the two get caught in a gang war with The Russian and Sal Maroni. Maroni's men are gunned down, and Maroni takes refuge behind Allen and Ramirez's patrol car, which The Russian subsequently destroys with a rocket launcher. Ramirez and Maroni manage to get clear in time, while Allen is rescued by Batman, who proceeds to take out The Russian and his men. Maroni then threatens to kill Ramirez, but he, too, is dispatched by Batman. Batman recognizes Allen and Ramirez as Gordon's hand-picked officers, remarks that Gordon is a good judge of character, and disappears.
An accident involving WayneCom satellite's gyroscopic electromagnetic guidance system ends up with Lucius Fox creating a device with the satellite's gyro and an advanced motion sensor that will electromagnetically deflect small-arms fire. Bruce Wayne takes the device and attends a charity golf tournament being held by developer Ronald Marshall. He discusses the mysterious death of a woman, Teresa Williams, who had opposed some of Marshall's plans. During the tournament, Wayne secretly takes Marshall's PDA device. Later that night, as Batman, he hijacks a boat owned by Sal Maroni, and drives it alongside a boat owned by rival gang leader The Russian. He roceeds to attack both gangs at once, with assistance from his new device. He attempts to force a truce between the two gang leaders until he can get evidence against them, but is disrupted when one of Maroni's men fires at him. The bullet deflects and instead hits one of The Russian's men. Distressed, Batman takes the injured man to the hospital. Later, he returns the device to Fox, stating, "...it works too well; I'm willing to put my life on the line to do what I have to. But it has to be mine, no one else's."
The police respond to a riot in a cathedral where Cardinal O'Fallon was giving a sermon. According to eyewitness testimony, the Cardinal was abducted by a large lizard-monster and taken down into the crypts below the cathedral. Lieutenant Gordon, Crispus Allen, and Anna Ramirez investigate; Gordon has a brief conversation with Batman, who agrees with Gordon's theory that the Scarecrow's fear toxin is behind the riot as the doctor has been at large since the riot at the Narrows (during the event of Batman Begins). Batman gives Gordon an earpiece that will allow them to stay in contact and descends below ground, trying to find Cardinal O'Fallon and his abductor. A homeless man living in an abandoned subway station identifies the abductor as Killer Croc. Batman and Gordon briefly discuss the villain's past, but are cut off when Killer Croc himself shows up, under the influence of the fear toxin, and attacks Batman. Batman defeats him, but not before sustaining a bite that transfers some of the toxin to him. He then finds Cardinal O'Fallon being put on trial and sentenced to death by the Scarecrow, who is unhappy with O'Fallon's efforts to help the homeless. Batman leaps in to defend the Cardinal. Using the methane already present in the room, he sparks an explosion that destroys several water pipes, flooding the area and allowing him to escape with the Cardinal. Gordon appears in a helicopter to retrieve the Cardinal and offers to help Batman as well, but Batman refuses, saying, "Maybe next time."
Continuing on from where In Darkness Dwells left off, Batman is shot in the stomach by a man hallucinating in the sewers of Gotham. He cauterizes the wound and attempts to get out from underground, reflecting on his experiences with managing pain as he does so. First, he remembers volunteering with a relief effort by assisting a doctor in performing surgery without anesthesia. Next, he reflects on the lessons he learned from a woman named Cassandra. Cast out of her community for disguising herself as a boy in an attempt to join a religious sect, she teaches him to minimize his pain to the point where he can control it for over several months. One night, several young men harass Cassandra, who takes their blows without seeming to feel them. Bruce steps in to defend her, not only demonstrating his ability to withstand their attacks, but defeating them all with his martial arts skills. Cassandra then tells him to leave, saying that he has learned what he came to learn. She then comments on how Bruce's pain was beyond her, or possibly even his, ability to handle, but how it also appeared to be leading him down a path he desired. In the present, Batman ends up in a gutter, where he discovers a cache of guns in garbage. This gutter happens to be below his mansion, as Alfred arrives and tells Batman to give him his hand so he can pull him out. Batman, arms full of guns, replies that he can't.
Bruce Wayne has a flashback to the murder of his parents. In his penthouse, he examines the firearms he took from the underground tunnel's gutter (during the event of Working Through Pain) which he intends to turn in to the police. Wayne admits to Alfred that even though he vowed never to use them in the memory of his parents, he can still understand the temptation to use one. Meanwhile, in another city, an assassin known as Deadshot carries out an assassination on a local mayor with a spectacularly difficult shot from a ferris wheel literally miles away from the man and returns to his tropical base. There, one of his associates hires him to carry out a hit in Gotham. It is revealed that The Russian has put out a hit on Lieutenant Gordon, and Batman is called in to protect him. Batman gives Crispus Allen Ronald Marshall's handheld PDA device (which he stole as Bruce Wayne in Field Test), containing a link to encrypted e-mails proving that Ronald Marshall hired Deadshot in the past. He then follows Gordon's motorcade, with Alfred providing satellite-imagery assistance using the new WayneCom satellites. Deadshot attempts to shoot Gordon from a moving train, but Batman deflects the bullet. Deadshot then gleefully reveals that Batman was his real target the entire time, and that the threat against Gordon was merely a ruse to draw him out. He opens fire as the train enters a tunnel, and as Batman attempts to charge Deadshot, he is injured, falling off the train. Deadshot advances to where he saw Batman fall, gloating, but is ambushed from behind and disarmed. He and Ronald Marshall are arrested. Wayne confides to Alfred about how similar the fight in the tunnel seemed to the night his parents were murdered, and comments that "I've been trying to stop those two bullets all my life." He expresses discouragement, and Alfred agrees, but adds that he thinks Bruce has a higher purpose. Bruce then looks up at the sky and sees the Bat-Signal.
- "You wanted me, here I am."
- ―Batman [src]
The film begins with the Joker robbing a mob-owned bank, and systematically double crossing his accomplices so he can have all the money. That night, multiple Batman impersonators interrupt a meeting between mobsters and the Scarecrow. The real Batman shows up and subdues everyone, but injuries suffered during the confrontation lead him to design a new, more versatile suit of armor. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate bringing new district attorney Harvey Dent in on their plan to eradicate the mob, and the possibility that Dent will become the hero to the people that Batman cannot be. At the same time, Bruce Wayne and Harvey are both competing for the love of Rachel Dawes. The mob bosses meet to discuss how to handle Batman, Gordon, and Dent, while a Chinese mobster accountant, Lau, lets the gang leaders know he has taken their money to Hong Kong to prevent the police and the district attorney from seizing it in an imminent bank raid. The Joker arrives and proposes to kill Batman for them, and also tries to convince them that Lau will give them all up to the police if he is caught.
After Batman successfully abducts Lau in Hong Kong and delivers him to the Gotham City police, the mobsters agree to pay the Joker half of their money in return for killing Batman. The Joker tells all of Gotham that if the Batman does not turn himself in to the police, that more people will die each day. When the Joker begins killing off public officials, including Commissioner Loeb, despite the best efforts of the police and Batman to stop him, Wayne decides to turn himself in to the police. Before he can do so, Dent publicly admits to being "the Batman" to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to kill Dent during transport, but Gordon and Batman intervene in time to stop and arrest him. With the Joker in custody, Batman interrogates the Joker until he reveals that Rachel and Dent have been taken to opposite sides of the city, far-enough apart that Batman does not have time to save both of them. Batman speeds off to save Rachel, while Gordon and the police head after Dent. Unknown to them, the Joker has switched the locations, sending Batman after Dent and Gordon after Rachel. With the help of a pre-planted phone bomb, the Joker escapes with Lau in tow. Batman arrives and rescues Dent just as both buildings explode, although the left side of Dent's face is burned during the explosion. Gordon does not reach Rachel in time and she dies in the explosion. In the hospital, Dent is driven to madness over the loss of Rachel, which he blames on Batman, Gordon and the Joker. The Joker frees Harvey from the hospital and convinces him to exact revenge on the cops, mobsters, Gordon and Batman.
While "Harvey Two-Face" confronts the corrupt cops and the mobsters one by one, flipping a coin to decide their fates, the Joker burns Lau along with the mob's money. The Joker then declares that he will rule the streets and that anyone left in Gotham at nightfall will be subject to his rule. The Joker plants explosives on two ferries of evacuees and gives the passengers on board the chance to destroy the opposing vessel, one full of prison convicts and another with civilians, in order to save their own lives. Batman tracks the Joker to an uncompleted skyscraper. Batman prevents the Joker from blowing up the ferries when both vessels' occupants decide they would rather not sacrifice the lives of the passengers in the other vessel for their own.
Following a brief hand-to-hand fight ,in Which the Joker wins but Batman pushes Joker out of the window but saves Joker by grappling him, the Joker acknowledges that Batman really is incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Harvey's madness upon the city. The Joker had lost. Batman finds Gordon and his family with Dent at the building where Rachel died. Two-Face proceeds to judge Batman, himself, and Gordon's son through the chance of a coin flip, which he sees as the only fairness left in the world. Two-Face shoots Batman in the stomach, but before he can determine the boy's fate, Batman tackles him over the side of the building, saving Gordon's son. As Dent lies motionless on the ground, Batman and Gordon decide that the Joker would win if anyone found out about Dent's corruption and madness. Batman convinces Gordon to let him take all the blame for Dent's murders in order to preserve the former district attorney's image as Gotham's hero and give the city hope. As Gordon destroys the Bat-Signal, a manhunt is issued for Batman.
- "I'm not afraid, I'm angry."
- ―Batman [src]
During the eighth anniversary of the Dent Act, a day where they celebrate an Act which put the majority of criminals in Blackgate Prison, Bruce watches from the manor and skips participating in the celebrations. As this is happening a maid, later to be revealed as Selina Kyle, is stealing Bruce's mother's pearl necklace from his private quarters. Bruce sneaks up behind her and confronts her, but she over powers him and escapes with the necklace. During an investigation of the safe, Bruce discovers that the real target was his fingerprints and not the necklace. He returns to the Batcave for the first time in years and runs an analysis, only to be confronted by Alfred who asks him to return to life.
Opting to retrieve his mother's pearls, Bruce begins to track the thief via a GPS locator that was planted onto the pearls. He follows her to a gala where he encounters Miranda Tate and later Kyle herself. He recovers the pearls after learning of a new threat to Gotham, but Selina is able to steal his car by claiming to be his wife. Shortly afterward, Wayne is visited by John Blake at Wayne Manor who tells him about the attack on James Gordon and reveals to him that he knows Wayne is actually Batman. He warns him about another threat known as Bane and asks him again to return as Batman. As he leaves, Bruce informs Alfred of his decision to see the Commissioner and schedules an appointment with an orthopedic specialist after a meeting with Lucius Fox regarding Wayne Enterprises.
After learning that the cartilage in his knees has completely depleted, he uses this opportunity to break into the Commissioner's room with a mask on and Gordon tells him about the underground army Bane is building. Returning to the cave, Bruce puts on a sophisticated leg brace which returns his ability to walk without a cane. Against Alfred's advice, he dons his cape and cowl again and goes out to Gotham. As this is happening, Bane goes to a stock exchange and uses Bruce's stolen finger prints to place a number of risky investments in his name. Bruce now as Batman chases after Bane and his mercenaries; however, he causes more problems with the police force opt to pursue him rather than the criminal as he was still the accused murderer of Harvey Dent. Batman escapes into the Bat, a giant aerial craft made by Lucius Fox, and flies away.
He finds Selina Kyle holding John Daggett hostage and sees a group of Bane's thugs making their way towards her to kill her. She and Batman fight off the thugs until Bane himself appears, causing them to flee. Batman takes her to a building and tells her he would like a meeting with Bane. She quietly sneaks away leaving Batman confused. Bruce goes back to the Batcave and is confronted by Alfred, who tells him that he doesn't want to bury Bruce as he's "buried enough members of the Wayne family." Alfred threatens to quit if Bruce doesn't hang up his suit. Bruce retorts by saying he has nothing outside of Batman and that Rachel Dawes, his childhood friend, was going to be his future. Alfred then tells Bruce about the letter to Bruce from Rachel saying that she was going to marry Harvey Dent even if Bruce stopped being Batman and that he burned it to spare Bruce the pain. Bruce becomes angry and accuses Alfred of lying and tells him to leave, to which Alfred does in grief.
Awaking the next morning, Bruce is stunned to learn that Alfred is no longer at the manor. Meeting with Fox at the Manor, Fox informs him that his company is losing money fast due to Bane's use of Wayne's fingerprints and that he needs to go with the least risky option which is Miranda Tate or Wayne Enterprises will close. They decide to reveal the green energy project to Tate which was, in reality, a fully operational fusion reactor that was capable of powering Gotham for an indefinite period but could easily be converted to a nuclear bomb. Tate agrees to accept guardianship of the Reactor and Wayne Enterprises. While at a meeting at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce is forced to remove himself from the board as he is no longer in a position of leadership over the company.
After a brief meeting with Selina regarding Bane, he returns to the Manor to find Tate there waiting. The two share an intercourse before Wayne leaves to find Bane. Exploring the underground tunnels, Batman and Catwoman eventually locate Bane's hideout. Kyle has, however, double-crossed the Batman and locks him in a chamber with Bane himself. Batman then starts to fight Bane, clearly losing to his superior power and the fact that the mask he wears provides him with a drug that allows him to feel little to no pain. Batman still continues to fight and even uses an EMP device to turn off all the lights; however, this has no effect on Bane due to his position as the new leader of the League of Shadows and his undergoing the same training with Ra's al Ghul as Bruce Wayne. Bane quickly finds and beats Batman even further; then he breaks Batman's back over his knee and starts ruthlessly beating his face until his mask breaks off. Bane orders his men to take Bruce Wayne to the Pit, a prison Bane controls in the Middle East.
Bruce awakes from his unconscious state and finds Bane looking over him, informing him that he is going to complete what Ra's al Ghul started and is going to force Bruce to watch Gotham's destruction. He tells Wayne that he will be kept alive until Gotham's destruction, at which time he will be allowed to die with Bane specifically stating "You have my permission to die" at the time of Gotham's destruction. A doctor, who is also an inmate in the prison, says that he is going to help fix his back and hangs him up until Bruce can learn to stand. Bruce, while doing this, has a vision of Ra's al Ghul who tells him that the child that was actually Bane and that Bane was his son. Bruce later regains his ability to stand and sees men trying to escape the Pit. He tries to do so himself, but is too weak. He starts training, but continues to fail.
While Bruce is resting for his next attempt the doctor that lives next to him tells him the story of how the child became incarcerated in the Pit and later escaped. Bruce realizes, from the story, he must attempt to escape the same way the child did. He tries a final time, remembering his own fall into the cave, and reaches a ledge where all fall. Bats fly out of a hole next to his head and Bruce feels a surge of strength go through him and he leaps off the ledge and grabs hold of the next standing stone. He continues his climb upwards and makes it out of the Pit.
He travels back to Gotham where he finds out that things have gotten much worse. He finds Selina, who saved a child who was being mugged, and tells her that he could help give her the Clean Slate - a device capable of removing all traces of a person from official documents and databases. He agrees to give it to her on the condition that he helps him free the cops that have been trapped underneath the city. She reluctantly agrees and Bruce allows himself to be captured in order to locate Fox, who helps him get back his equipment from the Warehouse and a disruptor that will prevent the bomb from detonation. Upon retrieving his gear, Batman goes to the river in order to rescue Commissioner Gordon. Defeating the thugs, he tells Gordon to light a flare and put it on the fuse which leads up to a giant bat shape on the bridge, much to Bane's surprise.
Batman then starts to liberate the cops from the sewers and Gordon organizes them into an army to fight Bane's mercenaries. The start an all out war in the middle of the streets and Batman and Bane confront one another on the steps of Gotham's City Hall. Batman starts to gain the upper hand as he starts punching away at Bane's mask. He saves Miranda who had been taken hostage and interrogates Bane to tell him who has the trigger which will set off the bomb that would destroy the city, paraphrasing Bane's own taunt in the pit. Miranda then appears and stabs Batman before telling him that she is actually Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul. She revealed that she was the child who climbed out of the pit and that the man who helped her wasn't Ra's but actually Bane who was rescued by Ra's for saving his daughter. She fixes Bane's mask and Bane straps a rope around Batman's neck. Batman pleads with her not to set off the bomb but she ignores him as she only wanted revenge upon the man and the city that destroyed her father. She leaves to go find the bomb and secure it in a place where no one can get to it, although Gordon is already at work trying to defuse it. Bane is about to kill Batman when Selina comes through on the Batpod and shoots Bane, killing him.
Batman uses the Bat and flies after Talia while Catwoman goes after the escort tumbler vehicles. He shoots the truck she is in off the road and confronts her. Talia, who is mortally wounded, tells him that she overrode the bomb so that nothing could stop it and flooded the compartment holding the stabilization equipment. Batman realizes that she is telling the truth and that it needs to be taken somewhere safe; realizing the only option is to take the bomb into the Atlantic Ocean. Selina kisses him goodbye and Gordon asks Batman who he is and he tells him by reminding him of the night of his parent's death stating; "A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy's shoulder to let him know that the world hadn't ended". As Gordon realizes Batman's identity is Bruce Wayne, Batman flies away with the bomb attached to the Bat. The city watches in horror as Batman flies away with the bomb, making it to a safe distance before the bomb detonates.
Following the apparent death of Batman, he is identified as a hero and a monument is erected in his honor in the center of city hall. Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, a small memorial service is held in Bruce Wayne's honor by the few men that knew the truth of his identity as Batman. A short while afterwards, Lucius Fox discovers that the Bat, which had a failing autopilot, had actually been repaired six months prior. Alfred, at a cafe in Florence, recalls as recurring dream he had during Bruce's first disappearance regarding finding him happily at a cafe in Italy with a wife. As Alfred sits he looks up to find Bruce sitting with Selina across the cafe. He smiles and nods at him, as does Bruce.
To be added
- Batsuit: Bruce wears a protective suit/armor as his alter-ego, Batman; to hide his identity from his enemies when he goes out fighting crime.
- Batmobile: Bruce uses the Batmobile; when he is out on patrol as Batman.
- Batpod: Bruce uses the Batpod; when he is out on patrol as Batman.
- Bat: Bruce (occasionally) uses the Bat; when he is out on patrol as Batman.
- Utility belt
- Grappling gun
- Thomas Wayne - Father; deceased.
- Martha Wayne - Mother; deceased.
- Alfred Pennyworth - Employee, guardian and friend.
- Rachel Dawes - Childhood love interest; deceased.
- James Gordon - Friend and ally.
- Lucius Fox - Employee, friend, and technical support.
- Robin Blake - Ally and successor.
- Ra's al Ghul/Henri Ducard - Teacher and enemy; deceased.
- Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow - Enemy.
- The Joker - Enemy.
- Harvey Dent/Two-Face - Friend turned enemy; deceased.
- Bane - Enemy; deceased.
- Selina Kyle/Catwoman - Enemy turned love interest and ally.
- Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul - Lover and employee turned enemy; deceased.
- Nolanverse (3 films)
- Animation (1 film)
- Before Christian Bale was cast as Batman, many other actors were considered for the role, including Ashton Kutcher, Heath Ledger, Keanu Reeves, David Boreanaz, Hugh Dancy, Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill and Jake Gyllenhaal. While Bale won the part, Christopher Nolan liked Murphy's audition so much, he cast him as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow. Heath Ledger would eventually be cast as the Joker in the next installment.
- Bale's audition involved having to wear Val Kilmer's Batsuit from Batman Forever.
- Christian Bale lost his voice three times during filming after altering his voice while playing Batman.
- Christian Bale had previously screen tested and was considered for the role of Robin in Batman Forever.
- Christian Bale's trailer didn't have his name on the door but said "Bruce Wayne" instead.
- On the set, the costumed Christian Bale constantly had two people trailing him to keep the Batsuit smudge-free.
- Christian Bale having lost 65 pounds to play his anorexic 120 pound character in The Machinist, had to regain that weight and then some to play the muscular Batman/Bruce Wayne. Bale gained 100 pounds in 6 months, describing the experience as an unbearable physical ordeal.
- Christian Bale refused to be in The Dark Knight Trilogy if Robin had been included in it.