Netflix’s library is constantly being updated with new films to watch every month, but nothing sticks around forever — except Bright, we can't get rid of that one. With multiple classic movies slated to leave the streaming service in March, you need to watch the movie that arguably redefined Batman before it leaves Netflix for good.
While there have countless several iterations of the caped crusader in movies and television, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins took the character in a new direction. So with the first (and second) film in The Dark Knight trilogy officially leaving Netflix on March 30, let’s take a look back on how the movie influenced the live-action versions of Batman to follow, and why it remains a lesson in overcoming fear.
“Why do we fall?” Thomas Wayne asks a young Bruce following his tumble into what eventually becomes the Batcave. “So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
On the surface, it’s just a comforting line from father to son. However, the scene plays a pivotal role in shaping the remainder of the movie and Bruce’s journey toward becoming Batman.
What’s more, Batman Begins takes a firm stance on the notion of fear and the ways in which it prevents Bruce from moving forward in almost every aspect of his life. It’s no surprise, then, that the first villain Batman faces is Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow, a former psychology professor who experiments with chemicals and hallucinogens to incite fear in his victims.
Batman is often depicted as a hero who’s rarely scared of Gotham City’s criminals, be it petty thieves or diabolical supervillains like the Joker. However, Batman Begins is able to properly articulate that fear and translate it into power, turning the things that scare Bruce — bats, not living up to his parents’ legacy, and failing to save Gotham — into that which fuels him to action. Nolan’s use of fear as a thematic element reinvigorates Batman as a hero who isn’t above human emotion. Rather, his fear is what empowers him, even when he’s at his lowest.
Batman Begins essentially opened the doors to explore a darker, grittier version of Batman onscreen. While previous films depicted the character as brooding (or campy, like in Joel Schumacher's Batman films), he was arguably not as tragic. In addition to that, Nolan’s film helped cultivate the perception of Batman across pop culture, inspiring all future takes on the character.
Christian Bale’s grounded and gravelly-voiced portrayal of the caped crusader seemingly influenced Ben Affleck’s Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Robert Pattinson’s grim-looking take in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. Christoper Nolan’s film even had a large impact on DC Comics’ TV shows, with The CW’s Arrow clearly borrowing from elements depicted in Batman Begins, right down to Oliver Queen’s Batman-lite characterization.
While it’s likely that the film will land on another streamer at some point in the future, possibly HBO Max or even DC Universe, it’s best to watch (or rewatch) it on Netflix while it’s still around. Thankfully, there's still over a month before Batman Begins is out at Netflix, leaving plenty of time to revel in Christopher Nolan’s influential masterpiece.
Batman Begins and The Dark Knight both leave Netflix on March 30.