Batman Begins (2005)

Warner Bros.

The Batman franchise was in shambles after 1997’s Batman and Robin, and Christopher Nolan seemed an odd choice to revive it: He was best known for the low-budget indies Following and Memento, as well as Warner Bros’ Insomnia, all of which were fairly cerebral crime thrillers filled with questions about morality.

But that turned out to make him the perfect person to reinvent Batman and explain how the orphaned Bruce Wayne became the world’s greatest detective. Borrowing from Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, Nolan imagined how Batman might come to exist in the real world, justifying every outlandish accoutrement, from his cape to his pointy ears. Christian Bale was a perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman, and the rogue’s gallery was cast with old hands and rising indie stars like Cillian Murphy, who finally got a starring role in a Nolan film with Oppenheimer, nearly two decades after he played The Scarecrow in Batman Begins.

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