It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. This is the tale of two Batmans.
One Batman is DC Comics' Dark Knight—a wealthy man so torn by grief, revenge, fear and anger that he chooses to build his empire not only above the streets of Gotham but also underground in a cave. He studies, he trains, and he builds himself into a superhero by pure resolve so he may do what others cannot: defend the defenseless and give hope to the hopeless.
The other Batman was born in the 1966 movie and TV show and showed up again in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). He's the Kitsch Batman. These style-over-substance campy portrayals show just the basic outline of the real character—he's a guy in a suit with lots of toys but none of the internal drama. But, hey, he has enough Bat Shark Repellent and bat nipples to spare.
The real difference between these two Batmans comes down to a seemingly simple question: Why does he do what he does? What really drove him to become the Caped Crusader who lurks in the night? Dissecting the issues involved in what pushes a man this far—compassion, fear, choice, anger, revenge and justice—makes Batman more than a campy caricature. Sadly, that question has rarely been asked in Batman movies. Thus, we don't see who this guy is: a gritty and tough creature of the night who has as much going on in his head as with his fists. The only time we've really seen this Batman in film was in Tim Burton's 1989 version when two crooks sat on a roof and told a ghost story of a man-bat who can't be killed. But then, the Batman franchise slipped back into over-stylized visuals over story. The Dark Detective was gone.
Until now. There is a scene in Batman Begins where a group of thugs ...1