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Ra's al Ghul
Ra's Al Ghul
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Name Ra's al Ghul
Other Aliases Henri Ducard
Alignment Anti-hero
Depicted By Liam Neeson
Josh Pence
Appeared In Batman Begins
The Dark Knight Rises
"When I found you in that jail, you were lost. But I believed in you. I took away your fear, and I showed you a path. You were my greatest student. It should be you standing by my side, saving the world."
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

Ra's al Ghul was the main antagonist of Batman Begins, and a mentor and teacher to Bruce Wayne under his real name Henri Ducard and later became his arch-enemy as Bruce stood in the way of the League of Shadows destroying Gotham. He was the father of Bruce's later romantic interest and foe Talia al Ghul.

BiographyEdit

Origin and Early LifeEdit

Originating from an ancient part of the Arabian world, the man who would later be known as Ra's al Ghul served a skilled mercenary under a powerful warlord, eventually falling in love with and secretly marrying the warlord's beautiful daughter. Out of a sense of dishonor, the warlord had the mercenary condemned to a nearby hellish prison known as the Pit, a place the mercenary developed a fear of as a child due to the demons rumored to torture the prisoners already in it, but exiled him instead. The mercenary understood that this was because his wife secured his release, but unbeknownst to him, the true price of his freedom was that she and their unborn daughter Talia had to take his place in the Pit, where the other inmates eventually attacked and murdered the mother when the prison doctor forgot to lock the door to their cell. Traveling to Bhutan, Ra's then joined the League of Shadows and rose through the ranks quickly until he became the League's leader. When time came for his fear to be conquered, Talia came along after spending the early years of her life locked up in the Pit with her mother, having just escaped with the assistance of a fellow prisoner called Bane, and brought her father back to enact vengeance. There, he rescued Bane, who was badly mutilated by the other prisoners for aiding Talia's escape. The League took both Bane and Talia in to begin their training in the martial arts, but due to the constant reminder of the fate his wife suffered, Ra's excommunicated Bane. It was for this reason that caused Talia to have resentment towards her father until his death. 

Batman BeginsEdit

Mentoring Bruce WayneEdit

"If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely. A legend, Mr. Wayne, a legend."
―Ra's Al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

Ra's al Ghul found Bruce Wayne in a Bhutanese prison, where he presented himself simply as Henri Ducard, an associate of Ra's al Ghul, and offered him a "path." After Bruce is freed, he climbed to the monastery home of the League of Shadows, where Ducard was waiting with Ra's al Ghul and a band of mercenaries. When asked if he was ready to begin, Bruce replied that he could barely stand. As a test, Ducard attacked Bruce and explained that death would not wait for him to be ready. After he defeated Bruce, Ducard asked him what he feared.

"To manipulate the fears of others, you must first master your own. Are you ready to begin?"
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

After Bruce recovered, Ducard began training him in every aspect of ninjutsu. Ducard was a very skilled warrior and a stern teacher. Throughout his training, Bruce was unable to best Ducard, but came extremely close during a sword battle, fought upon a frozen glacial lake. However, Bruce forgot to take full notice of his surroundings and Ducard broke the ice beneath him for the victory. While Bruce recovered from the cold water while sitting with Ducard around a fire, Ducard explained that his wife's death taught him that there are those in the world that must be mercilessly fought and vengeance was his release. Ducard was unable to understand why Bruce couldn't avenge the deaths of his parents.

At the end of his training, Ducard forced Bruce to face him while slightly drugged. Ducard hid among several of the men while Bruce attempted to locate him. He lept out at Bruce from his hiding place and managed to wound Bruce slightly on his arm. Bruce, however, gave an identical injury to two of the other ninja, and tricked Ducard into capturing the wrong person. Bruce revealed the trick and defeated his mentor.

"Ra's al Ghul rescued us from the darkest corners of our own hearts. What he asks in return is the courage to do what is necessary."
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

As a final test, Ducard handed Bruce a sword and ordered him to kill a man accused of murder, but Bruce refused. Bruce believed that he could not fight evil with evil methods."Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share," Ducard told Bruce. Bruce told him that it was necessary to separate him from his enemies. Ra's al Ghul explained that Bruce must do what is necessary to fight evil and revealed that they had trained Bruce with the intention of him leading the League on a mission to destroy Gotham City, which they believed had become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. Bruce subsequently knocked Ducard unconscious and he set the League's fortress aflame. He engaged Ra's al Ghul in a sword fight and left the man he believed to be Ra's al Ghul for dead as part of the floor above fell upon him. Ducard was then rescued by his pupil as the fortress collapsed and Ducard was then left unconscious in the mountain village by Bruce.

Attack on GothamEdit

"No one can save Gotham. When a forest grows too wild, a purging fire is inevitable and natural. Tomorrow, the world will watch in horror as its greatest city destroys itself. The movement back to harmony will be unstoppable this time."
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

Months later, Ducard unexpectedly reappeared at Wayne Manor, and revealed that he was Ra's al Ghul, and not the man who Bruce left for dead at their headquarters. Bruce told him that he saved Ra's' life and Ra's said, "I warned you about compassion, Bruce." In the ensuing confrontation, Ra's elaborated on the League of Shadows' exploits throughout history. Ra's explained the League's plans to use a fear toxin invented by their partner Dr. Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow) to infect the city with a fear toxin, and watch it destroy itself in a state of panic. He said that the League had attempted to use economics as a means of destruction in their previous attack on Gotham, which created the Gotham Depression which led the murder of Bruce's parents when Joe Chill attempted to mug them after the loss of his job. Their deaths subsequently prompted the industries to band together and save the city. He explained that the destruction of Gotham City is merely another mission by the League to correct humanity's recurring fits of decadence. Ra's then had his henchmen burn down the manor as a falling log knocked Bruce unconscious. Ra's stated that, "Justice is balance. You burned my house and left me for dead. Consider us even." Ra's left the manor and boarded a waiting SWAT vehicle that contained the Wayne Enterprises stolen microwave emitter weapon.

DeathEdit

"If someone stands in the way of true justice, you simply walk up behind them, and stab them in the heart."
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

With the aid of Alfred, Bruce survived the fire, and confronted Ra's al Ghul as Batman. Ra's commented that Batman took his advice of using "theatricality" too literally before he escaped and continued with his plans. Batman caught up with him again, and the teacher and student had one final battle on a runaway train that contained the microwave emitter. Ra's' arrogance was ultimately his downfall after Batman defeated him in combat and revealed that he had no intention of stopping the train. Jim Gordon assisted Batman in taking out the steel support system that held up the train track using Batman's Tumbler vehicle; Batman told Ra's that Ra's had failed to be mindful of his own surroundings. He informed Ra's that he would not kill him, but that he wouldn't save him, the hero left Ra's for dead on the train. Ra's meditated before he died as it ran out of track and fell moments later into a parking garage and the microwave emitter the train contained exploded.

"I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you."
―Batman before sacrificing Ra's

AftermathEdit

Following his demise, the League of Shadows, though greatly diminished and defeated, pressed on. Talia al Ghul learned of the events that transpired surrounding her father's fate and swore to avenge him by continuing his mission of ridding the world of Gotham City. Having assumed command of the League, Talia appointed Bane as the field commander of their ground forces.

The Dark Knight RisesEdit

"You yourself fought the decadence of Gotham for years, with all your strength, all your resources, all your moral authority. And the only victory you could achieve was a lie. Now you understand. Gotham is beyond saving. And must be allowed to die."
―Ra's al Ghul to Bruce Wayne[src]

While Bruce was recovering in the Pit, he hallucinated his old mentor and foe Ra's al Ghul as he tried to make sense of what he had been told and what brought him to this point in his life. Ra's expressed his disappointment that Bruce doubted that Ra's would return, and he claimed to be immortal through another method–one that produced an heir. Bruce deduced that Ra's was the mercenary whose wife was taken from him and who fathered the only child to escape from the Pit.

RelationshipsEdit

PersonalityEdit

Ra's al Ghul, unlike his comic counterpart, was just an ordinary man with his own beliefs and his own ideals, in charge of a centuries-old cult. He is highly intelligent and smart, an intellectual genius. Ra's is also highly philosophical and rather enthusiastically describes his beliefs. He is extremely charismatic and a brilliant leader of the League of Shadows. He was also highly manipulative and engimatic, able to make allies of Johnathan Crane and several other criminal masterminds in and outside of Gotham. He is idealistic, but flat-out delusional and an extremist when it comes to enforcing injustice. Ra's was rather shameful, as he excommunicated Bane from the League of Shadows because it reminded him of the horror he left his wife to die in. His only weakness was that he cared about his daughter, Talia. Ra's was rather arrogant and ruthless, and treated his enemies with little degree of respect. He was also confident in his abilities to go against a fully transformed Batman, who had used Ra's' training to enhance his skills enough to be able to finally defeat him.

AbilitiesEdit

Ra's al Ghul was an expert martial artist. He was extremely skilled in hand-to-hand comat with talents in ninjutsu, taijitsu and Capoeira. He was able to bring down Bruce Wayne during their first fight, and also able to hold his own for a long time against his old student, but he was defeated because he didn't acknowledge that his student had planned ahead. He was also an expert swordsman, enough to be able to lead the League of Shadows and to beat Bruce Wayne. He was also highly agile and had good reflexes and stamina.

ParaphernaliaEdit

Equipment Gas mask, ninja sword, bladed gauntlets, smoke pellets.

Weapons Ninja sword, bladed gauntlets, cane sword.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Liam Neeson was only on set for two hours when he shot his cameo in The Dark Knight Rises, and Christopher Nolan did not tell him any plot details.

TriviaEdit

  • In trailers and promotional material for Batman Begins, Liam Neeson was always credited as Henri Ducard and Ken Watanabe as Ra's al Ghul, leading viewers to believe that Ducard, as in the comics, was to serve as a mentor figure to Bruce Wayne in the film's early scenes. According to Nolan, since Neeson is commonly cast as a mentor figure, the realisation that Neeson was the film's main villain was intended to shock viewers.
  • Ra's al Ghul had a major impact on the plot of the Nolan film trilogy, both as Bruce Wayne's mentor and as a villain. He taught Bruce the means he would use to fight injustice as Batman, means Ra's intended him to use to destroy Gotham City. The emergence of Batman in Gotham then led to the emergence of The Joker. Bruce Wayne's final test as Batman was to stop Ra's' daughter Talia and Bane from finishing Ra's work of destroying Gotham City.
  • Though Ra's is not seen or mentioned in The Dark Knight, Bruce quotes him by saying that criminals are not complicated.
  • Liam Neeson and Josh Pence previously appeared together in the film Battleship.

External linksEdit

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