The Best Movie Character Introductions Part 2

Louise promised that my list would be more sensible – and while I can’t exactly promise that I can say that my picks have a more mainstream feel. The major reason for this is that the pretentious part of my brain couldn’t remember many great art-house introductions, so I’ve gone with some crowd-pleasers that each have a slightly different flavour to them. Let’s begin.

I’m Batman: Batman Begins

It’s the first pick and I’m already cheating, as Bruce Wayne has been in this movie for almost an hour by the time this scene rolls around. But this is a superhero story so the alter-ego gets his own introduction. Before I go on though, a little debate: Is a man dressed up as a giant bat to fight crime as crazy as the moon-visiting man in Fozzy Bear’s finger? This is the top quality content you come to us for; here at No But Listen we ask those important questions.

I suppose picking a Batman example is on brand since I spent a great deal of the last year writing about him, and there are a few great introductions from his cinematic cannon to choose from. There’s Michael Keaton’s monstrously original “I’m Batman” moment, there’s Bale in the Bat-pod in The Dark Knight Rises – even Batfleck running into the rubble of Metropolis in BVS is striking. The reason why this scene from Batman Begins takes the cake is that director Christopher Nolan has expertly built both Bruce and us up to this moment. We have the take down of Gotham’s main organised criminal in Don Falcone, we have the amalgamation of the skills that Bruce learned from the League of Shadows and, most importantly, Nolan shoots this scene as if Batman where a horror villain and these flunkies are the less-than-sexy teens he’s picking off one by one. And you don’t get to hear enough of the voice to ruin him yet.

Ryan doesn’t know how to be stealth: The Nice Guys

The reason I love Shane Black when he does his own thing (which is usually some revisionist version of film noir) is how he can call out the simplest scenes as movie bullshit by turning them in their head. Case in point is our introduction to Ryan Gosling’s Holland March in The Nice Guys. Gosling at this point in his career is best known for playing internal tough guys full of existential dread (see Drive, Only God Forgives, and the vastly underrated A Place Beyond the Pines), so when we see him in the requisite private investigator gear trying to break in somewhere by using the tried and tested method of breaking a window, things should go to plan.

Except this is a Shane Black movie, so instead of breaking in and getting whatever it is he’s looking for, Holland cuts his arm on a broken shard of glass nicking an artery while he’s at it. What ensues is a comedic masterclass of editing and performance from Gosling as we cut to Holland writhing about in the ambulance in a complete panic and undercutting any PI cool he might have cultivated. And the movie only gets better from here.

Thor by Lightning: The Avengers

I know I’m stealing the above line from Batman Forever to describe a character entrance from The Avengers but I can’t think of any better way to put it. We’re in Germany as Loki is doing his bad guy thing, giving us our first look at both Cap and Iron Man in both full costume and ready to fight: Tony even hacked into Black Widow’s jet to give himself some ACDC entrance music. It’s a cool moment, and they catch Loki and everything seems like it’s going to plan. Then the lightning begins. I’ll admit that my picking Thor’s entrance here is for no other reason than it’s really fucking cool. Just look at it, and tell me that’s not extremely cool. Right? Right. Glad we agree.

By Kevin Boyle

Header Image: Youtube

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