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The Many Observations of
Batman Begins

part 3: Source Material Stray: How faithful is Batman Begins to the source?

The following is a look at the faithfulness of Batman Begins to the source. It should be noted that like Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm, Christopher Nolan has created his own Bat-universe by taking aspects of Batman lore from both pre and post crisis. Unlike Spider-man or most Marvel characters, DC characters have often been revised and rewritten over the years especially after 1985 when DC decided to restructure their timeline.

Here is the scale that will be used to judge the changes

1:Minor Change, little to no effect
2:Not in the film but would have been nice to have
3:Neutral: Doesn't matter either way
4:Major change from the source


1. Bruce Wayne has a childhood friend in Rachel Dawes who along with her mother lived in the manor

Verdict: 3-Neutral.

In the past few years Jeph Loeb introduced a childhood friend Tommy Elliot in his story "Hush" and Ed Brubaker had Bruce being friends with Lew Moxon's daughter a few years back. As far as Rachel and her mother living in Wayne Manor, it is a very minor change.

2. The Waynes go to see an opera on the night they are killed
Comics version: They go to see The Mark of Zorro

Verdict: 2:Not in the film but would have been nice to have: Since the editorial of Denny O' Neil, it
has long been established that the Waynes went to see The Mark of Zorro and this is quite popular          with many fans. It is a little disappointing they didn't use this since many fans are quite aware of it

3. Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham at the age of 20
Comics take: He leaves at the age of 14
Verdict: 1:Minor Change, little to no effect

4. Bruce meets Ra's during his journey abroad
Comics take: Bruce meets around his fourth or fifth year

Verdict: 4:Major change from the source
In the comics, Ra's meets Bruce as he has been observing him for sometime. Obviously with what Ra's has in mind, he needs a more mature and experienced Bruce.

5. Joe Chill knows Falcone and is killed by his lackey after Chill agrees to testify against him
Comics take: Chill and Falcone never met.

Verdict: 3:Neutral: Doesn't matter either way. Chill has gone through many changes in the comics, in one version he was killed by his fellow hoodlums when he tells them he is responsible for the existence of Batman. Later he was portrayed as a hitman working for crime boss Lew Moxon. He is killed by the Reaper in Batman: Year Two

6. Gordon doesn't appear to be from Chicago and is a sergeant when Batman starts
Comic Take: Gordon is lieutenant and has transferred from Chicago under mysterious circumstances
Verdict: 1:Minor Change, little to no effect. Gordon does become lieutenant in the end of the film.

7. Harvey Dent is no where in sight.
Comic Take: Harvey is assistant D.A when Batman starts

Verdict: 2:Not in the film but would have been nice to have. Perhaps Harvey will appear in the sequel where he'll be Rachel's assistant (speculation wise) if Harvey does appear then, it would fit in perfectly along Batman: Year One where Lieutenant Gordon and a young Batman team with Harvey.

8. Jonathon Crane is a professor who experiments on inmates at Arkham
Comic Take: Crane did the same but at Gotham University

Verdict: 1:Minor Change, little to no effect. Crane's modus operandi and characterization are true to the comics. Perhaps he did work at Gotham U and came to Arkham after he was fired?

9. Bruce is 29 when he becomes Batman
Comic Take: According to Batman editorial, Bruce is in his early to mid 20's when he starts. Batman: Year One pegs it at the age of 25

Verdict: 1:Minor Change, little to no effect. Four year difference shouldn't be too much. A lot better than him starting at the age of 35 as in Batman

10. Lucius is a demoted exec at Wayne Enterprises
Comic Take: Lucius is an intelligent individual with Business smarts

Verdict: 1:Minor Change, little to no effect. Lucius' character is still in spirit to the comics and he does end up running Wayne Enterprises.

11. Batman glides with a special cape
Comic Take: Batman swings and runs across rooftops

Verdict: Neutral. This decision is made for two reasons a) he has used gliding tools before and b) Even though he's been doing it longer, film audiences are more use to seeing Spider-man swing across the city and might perceive Batman doing as copying Spider-man

12. Flass is fat out of shape boob
Comic Take: Flass is a tall built former marine

Verdict: 1:Minor Change. It appears that casting changes resulted in Flass looking different

13. Commissioner Loeb is black/Alfred, Thomas Wayne and Carmine Falcone don't look like their comic counterparts/Scarecrow doesn't have a costume

The reason I grouped all these characters together is because their appearances are not like those in the comics and to some people, characters who don't look like their comic counterparts aren't considered "right" Look at it this way, Does Kirsten Dunst look like Mary Jane? What about Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor? Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane? Not all characters will resemble their comic counter parts but as long as one or two are done right (In this case, Batman, Gordon and Ra's) this isn't much of a problem.

It should be noted that this list isn't meant to undermine or put down Batman Begins but to show that even good comic book films have some changes that very few people may notice. Superman: The Movie and Spider-man are also not entirely faithful to their sources but yet are considered great films.