Never Before Scene: Batman Begins

BY JASON DAVIS

In Never Before Scene we take a look at the best scenes from our favorite superhero films. From moments that have transformed the genre to ones that made us jump right out of our seats, it’s time we take another look at these performances.

Let’s revisit Batman Begin′s classic Arkham Asylum scene with the Scarecrow. Rachel Dawes goes to Arkham looking for Dr. Jonathan Crane hoping he can shed light on Carmine Falcone’s recent case of insanity. Tired of Ms. Dawes snooping around, Crane decides to take her to the basement and show her how he has been contaminating the water supply with a fear based toxin. He dons the Scarecrow mask and hits her with a concentrated dose of the toxin.

Batman breaks into Arkham to rescue her, and exposes Dr. Crane to the toxin in order to interrogate him. What follows is forty seconds of pure hallucegenic horror never before seen in a superhero film. Under the influence of the toxin we are able to see how Batman appears to Dr. Crane. The Dark Knight transforms into a demon, where his face and cowl melt into one, spewing black bile from his mouth and eyes. Children were taken from the theater crying from this scene to the joy of every young adult in the audience.

Apart from being a stunning feat in makeup and computer generated effects, this scene opened up countless possibilities for the genre. Think about it – audiences were able to see Batman under the effects of a hallucogen. Never had a mainstream superhero been brought into the world of horror, occult and psychosis like this. An obvious film candidate like Ghost Rider hasn’t even scratched the surface of this level of symbology and psychology. It’s a tremendous feat in terms story telling both in narrative and visually. One can only hope that for appropriate characters, the genre embrace the mystical, strange and haunting side of superheroes.

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