Thematic Shift in Batman Begins

Published: 2019-07-17 17:38:04
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The film, Batman Begins, witnessed a shift in themes as opposed to previous films that focused more on portraying traditional altruistic themes. This was informed by the failure of its predecessor, Batman & Robin (1997), at the box office, which dwelt on depicting Batman as a fairy-tale whose actions are influenced by supernatural powers. Christopher Nolan, the mastermind behind Batman Rises resorted to picking up a darker and more realistic approach to the film in an attempt to make the audience more sympathetic to the characters (Batman and Bruce Wayne). This entailed digging further into the characters past in order to come up with a relatable and compelling story. Hence, this film dwelt on the genesis of Batmans fears and how this propelled him to become the heroic figure that he is.

In Batman & Robin, there were subtle hints at erotic innuendos that were reflected in Batmans costumes (adding nipples to Batmans and Robins suits). A lot of factors came into play in killing or diminishing the Batman franchise, especially under Warner Bros era. Firstly, the themes focused on entertainment and heroic depiction of the comic figures, therefore, there was no human touch to the characters, and this made them seem utopian. The only emotional touch to the film was Batmans flailing romance with Robin.

Christopher Nolans fresh revival of the franchise gave hope many; he managed to make Batman/Bruce Wayne human again. He diverted the characters focus from the death of his parents (which had become a tired storyline) to more realistic themes such as the origins of his fears and how he goes about conquering them and also exploring the role of a paternal figure in Batmans life. For instance, though Batmans biological father passed away, he finds a fatherly figure in who greatly influences how he perceives justice in the world. In addition, a short explanation is given on the split personality theme: Bruce Waynes alter ego, Batman. There is a discrepancy between Bruce Wayne, who has a certain neurosis to make sure that crime does not exist and Batman, who eschews the due process of the law.

This dynamic shift in themes not only gives the heroic film a fresh face, but it personifies the societal expectations and pressures of those we consider influential among us. Batman Begins also managed to use technology to its advantage. Unlike its predecessor that relied heavily on visual effects, Nolan injected traditional stunt work as opposed to computer-generated imagery.

The theme that appears to be recurrent in the film is that of fear. Bruce Waynes past is visited, from his fall into a pit and a rather grotesque encounter with bats, to the death of his parents. Nolan reiterates this notion by stating that the main ideology behind the film was, a person who would antagonise his innermost fear then attempt to become it. The films exploration of aspects of fear and how it affects a persons character made it more relatable to the audience. This psychological approach is an issue that affects every other human being. Everyone struggles with fear, events or persons that instil this fear vary from one person to the next. Also, what sets an individual apart is how they confront and deal with their fears. This then becomes the premise of the film, how Batman manages to confront his fears and rises above it CITATION Jen05 \l 2057 (Chaney, 2005). Another theme explored is Bruce Waynes dual personality and how it affects his actions. A further look proves that Bruce always strives to do the right thing that is then extrapolated to Batman and how he handles crime.

Nolans ability to make Batman, a superhero with wholly human attributes, sets the movie apart from other super-hero films that mostly dwell on highlighting the superpowers of the characters. The film remains compelling because it tells a story of a common man who goes the transformative throngs of life just like anybody else. Hence, it is successful in earning the love and trust of comic fans that can now identify with the comic hero they greatly love.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Chaney, J. (2005, October 18). Batman': A Decent, If Not Heroic, DVD. Retrieved from The Washington Post:


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