This is a man who undoubtedly needs no introduction. You know him well for playing Bruce Wayne’s wise butler in the Dark Knight trilogy, an ex-convict in The Italian Job, a British Lieutenant in Zulu, the list is endless. His name is Michael Caine. Born and raised in London in the mid 20th Century, Michael served in the British Army for a year or so before becoming an accomplished performer both on screen and off it in a career that has now spanned 66 years and still counting.
I haven’t had the privilege of watching a whole lot of Michael Caine movies but the ones that I have, the Brit has been extra-ordinary in them. In this article, I am briefly going to be delving into his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the 3rd installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy, particularly during the 2nd Bat-cave scene between his character and Bruce Wayne.
SCENE IN QUESTION.
Pennyworth, in the previous movies, had been on Bruce’s corner through his highs i.e. stopping Ra’s Al Ghul from infecting the entire city of Gotham with the fear-toxin, to his lows i.e. the death of Rachel Dawes courtesy of The Joker. In as much as Batman wasn’t active anymore after taking the fall for Harvey Dent‘s death, Alfred still wished for a better life for Bruce; a life that did not involve him exiling himself from the outside world for 8 years.
Eventually, a new threat comes around in the form of Bane and Bruce being the crusader that he is, feels an overwhelming obligation to return to his Dark Knight ways in order to extinguish this threat. Alfred, however, is having none of it. He believes that Bruce can best help the situation by lending his crime-fighting resources to the relevant authorities in Gotham as opposed to him dealing with the situation the old-fashioned way. In the conversation, he tries to make Bruce understand that he is not cut out to be Batman anymore through not only emphasizing the threat of Bane in a detailed backstory but also making him realise that he is merely a shadow of his former self.
Michael Caine, for me, brought the best out of this scene through his incredible acting; portraying the character’s subtle tone and ideal mannerisms. Alfred is like a father-figure to Bruce but he certainly isn’t his father. He knows he can’t overstep his boundaries and therefore doesn’t have the power to stop Bruce from taking on Bane by himself, he is just a butler. Nonetheless, Pennyworth is wise enough to know that he can turn the tide in his favour through an informative and heartfelt conversation about the situation at hand, giving Bruce the most reasonable solution to the problem. It doesn’t work out for him in the end but his effort in this bat-cave scene as well as the succeeding one was indeed valiant and had pure emotion.