Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento) helms this prequel to the Batman films based on the DC Comics series, explaining how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale, American Psycho) the billionaire prince of Gotham whose parents were killed in an alleyway mugging transformed into the crime-fighting superhero. With flashbacks to his privileged childhood, young Master Wayne, as he is called by the butler Alfred (Michael Caine), develops a terrible fear of bats when he falls through the backyard garden into a hidden cave. As a young adult, Wayne lives among the League of Shadows, a mar! tial arts group in the mountains of Asia. His leaders Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) and Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) teach him strength, endurance, and unfortunately evil, against which he naturally rebels. Returning to Gotham and reinstating himself as a dapper socialite and the rightful heir to his parents' enterprise, Wayne quickly devises his secret identity, commanding help from the gadgetry expert Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). With one eye on his childhood playmate Rachel (Katie Holmes, Dawson's Creek) now a beautiful woman and dedicated lawyer and the other on his mission to save Gotham from criminal corruption, Batman makes his fledgling debut. But when the blue-blooded mastermind Dr. Crane (Cillian Murphy, Sunshine)taints the water system with a hallucinatory substance, Batman realises he has met his first true opponent. Director Christopher Nolan's sequel to his own 'Batman Begins' sees Gotham's avenging angel squaring-up to a new kid on the block - psychotic prankster, the Joker (Heath Ledger, in the role that won him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). In the space of a year, Batman (Christian Bale), aided by Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), has managed to rid Gotham's streets of the organised crime gangs that once ravaged the city. Things seem to be looking up, although on the personal front, Bruce Wayne discovers he has a rival in his affections for main squeeze Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in the shape of the new D.a., who, as a political climber, likes to keep his cards close to his chest. But just when the authorities think they're finally making progress in their fight against crime, the appearance on the streets of a sinister new figure, with a demented grin and a passion for chaos, causes panic among the good people of Gotham, and leads to a battle of wits between Batman and the Joker which threatens to get extremely personal.