Ten years ago, Batman was a Warner Bros. property that had run its course, and needed a reboot delivered with fresh, creative insight. That job landed in the lap of Christopher Nolan, and on June 15, 2005 his vision of The Dark Knight arrived with “Batman Begins,” and it was a game changer. Gone were the toy-sale-oriented incarnations of the past, and instead there was an adult, thematically rich approach that went far beyond its darker surface. Speaking with Forbes, Nolan reflects on how he and screenwriter David Goyer decided to tackle the iconic character.
“I think the idea that Bruce Wayne perceived of Batman as a symbol that could rally the good people of Gotham was something that very much came to David Goyer and myself as we explored the logic behind his actions. We were setting out to try and tell a more realistic version of the story, and of the origin story, than had been done,” Nolan explained. “The origin story had never been addressed in films. What Tim Burton had done very brilliantly with his very Gothic, very idiosyncratic version of Batman, didn’t necessarily address the idea of a more real world and coming up with more real world explanations for what Batman is.”
Looking back, Nolan says his approach was lucky enough to arrive at the right time, which allowed his picture to be such a success. “When we first came to the film and as we started to make it, it was very clear to us that we had found a gap in pop culture, that this great iconic figure — Batman — had been treated incredibly successfully in the past in film, particular the Tim Burton 1989 film which was a phenomenon. But he had never been given the origin story, it had never been told,” he said. “The idea of building a hyper-real character in a real world, and sharing patiently how the character joined that world, seeing where the Batmobile comes from and the Batcave — it had never been done. We felt a great sense of opportunity. We also felt a great sense of responsibility, because if you find a gap like that in pop culture, you know you have to do right by it.”
It’s been quite a journey for the character who gets rebooted again next year in “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” But first, why not give “Batman Begins” a re-watch this weekend, or start off a Batman marathon with this one hour, forty-five minute documentary, “Making Batman Begins.”