Scarecrow (Batman Begins)
Cillian Murphy ushered in a new age of Batman as one of the comic book’s most terrifying villains, Dr. Jonathan Crane, also known as The Scarecrow. What makes Scarecrow so terrifying is that he simply amplifies the fears we have in our own minds. He turns his victims against themselves with paralyzing visions and thoughts, and there’s no running away from yourself.
Dr. Crane’s original application for The Scarecrow was as a treatment for Arkham Asylum inmates. The fear he created using his mask and the noxious hallucinogenic gas it emitted was supposed to help the criminal patient “rehabilitate”–but instead it was a tool for keeping him in power over his victims.
Christopher Nolan’s rendition of Scarecrow was a little more stripped down than the original comic, which might have been what made him even more frightening in Batman Begins. He holds true to the original design, but Murphy sheds light on the character’s actual complexity.
Murphy’s portrayal of Dr. Crane and Scarecrow sheds light on this character as a psychological professional, an addict, a megalomaniac and at his core, a man who’s trying to change the world. That last bit sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?