The Batman films of the 1990s hurt the Caped Crusader's brand in a big way, and it was Batman & Robin which served as the final nail in the franchise's coffin. In the years that followed, multiple filmmakers attempted to bring the character back to the big screen, but it was ultimately Christopher Nolan's vision of a grounded reboot which Warner Bros. decided to move forward with. Written by Nolan and David S. Goyer, the movie debuted in theaters on June 15th, 2005...that's right, it's been fifteen years since Christian Bale first donned the cape and cowl!
With a lengthy origin story delving into Bruce Wayne's relationship with Ra's al Ghul, Batman Begins put the spotlight on the hero's battle with both him and the Scarecrow. Grounded heavily in reality, Nolan managed to bring the DC Comics character into our world, and delivered a version of Batman it was easy to imagine actually existing. That wasn't to everyone's liking, but it set the iconic superhero on a completely new path on the silver screen that ultimately gave us The Dark Knight Trilogy. Nolan (alongside an unmissable Heath Ledger) would exceed all expectations with The Dark Knight, and while The Dark Knight Rises proved to be a divisive finale, Nolan did what no other filmmaker had before him: he ended Batman's story.
As for Batman Begins, it grossed over $48 million during its opening weekend in North America, and eventually grossed over $371 million worldwide. That may seem like nothing by today's standards, but we're talking about a character who had become box office poison by this point, and don't forget that The Dark Knight would go on to break records by grossing over $1 billion in 2008!
Exploring how Bruce became one of the world's most formidable fighters and the creation of everything from his Batsuit to the Batmobile (known as the "Tumbler" in this franchise) proved to be fascinating, and led to an exploration of the character like never before. It was a little rough around the edges in places, but critics and fans alike loved what Nolan brought to the table here.
Funnily enough, yesterday marked the seven-year anniversary of Man of Steel's theatrical debut. That was meant to be Superman's version of Batman Begins, but didn't quite manage to hit the mark the same way Nolan did (despite the trailers being edited in a way that evoked memories of that filmmaker's work). There were even rumours for a time that Bale's Batman would be the one fighting Henry Cavill's Superman in the movie that would become known as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but this trilogy ended in 2012, and Batman Begins proved to be the perfect opening chapter.
We're just really glad Nolan managed to make it so Batman could turn his head in the sequel...