This movie chronicles Batman's early experiences in his crime-fighting career. I've seen a lot of Batman beginning movies, but I think this one hits the nail on the head regarding his career the best. It doesn't show him as polished from the beginning, it really shows his learning curve, which I don't think is shown as well in others where it just shows flashbacks.
Getting into the story, we see Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham city from abroad. The story also shows detective James Gordon’s introduction to Gotham city, where he transferred form Chicago after some corruption in that department. The story follows both as they start down their divergent paths. James Gordon is met at the train station by Detective Flass who shows him around the city. Gordon is disgusted by Flass' methods of intimidation and strong-arming of criminals. I would say the movie takes place in the 30s judging by the style of clothing worn by a majority of the characters.
Bruce Wayne’s first attempts at stopping crime fail miserably until he realizes that he should use fear to intimidate criminals. He dresses up like a bat because that is a creature that gave him fear is a child and he wishes to share that fear with the criminals he hunts. Bruce Wayne is disgusted by the rampant corruption in his city, plus he has a significant amount of grief over his parent’s death, which is why he decides to fight crime. Detective Flass talked to the Gotham Department's Commissioner, Loeb, and tells him that detective Gordon is not getting with the program. I feel that this indicates that he believes that every cop has his price. I think this also indicates that he’s never met an honest cop in Gotham city before. A few weeks later, detective Gordon rushes to the scene of a hostage negotiation because of his understanding. The hostage negotiator uses unorthodox, forceful tactics that would most likely murder all the hostages if given the opportunity. However, Detective Gordon rushes inside and diffuses the situation.
A few weeks after that, Bruce Wayne who's now calling himself Batman, interrupts a high-level meeting between Commissioner Loeb and some rich people mixed in with mobsters. Bruce Wayne cuts the power to the residence, and he reveals himself by candlelight. He speaks in a rough tone to inform the bunch of mobsters and rich individuals that their feast on Gotham City ends tonight. Then he exits by putting the lid over the candle, thus plunging the entire place into darkness.
After this, Commissioner Loeb orders Batman to be hunted down by whatever means necessary. Batman also visits the residence of Carmine Falcone and his son. However, Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman, is already there. She attempts to steal a vase. Both individuals are shot at, although Catwoman ends up slashing one of the criminals across the face with metal tipped gloves. It is later reported a newspaper that this Batman character has a sidekick, Catwoman. Kyle is infuriated that she is considered a sidekick to Batman. Her character in this movie seems to be a mix of all incarnations from previous movies with Catwoman all mixed into one character.
It is later reported on the news that Batman was cited an abandoned building. Commissioner Loeb orders Brandon, the hostage negotiator and leader of the SWAT team, to take out Batman by any means necessary. The SWAT team burst in and fires at anything that moves. Batman is wounded several times, but managed to evade the SWAT team while escaping under the cover of a swarm of bats. By this point, James Gordon has gotten a new female partner, Detective Essen, who deduces that the only person with the finances to pull off the Batman disguise is Bruce Wayne. So, James Gordon and his wife visit Bruce Wayne after the SWAT team incident and noticed that Bruce Wayne is wearing leg casts and claims that he got injured skiing in the Alps. Wayne is also with a high-class escort so that his line will be more believable. He claims that he has no time to be a vigilante. Gordon’s wife is disgusted by the billionaire. But I believe James Gordon's suspicions are strengthened by this meeting.
After the meeting, the movie goes into James Gordon's personal life betwen his wife and Detective Essen. He's wracked by guilt over the fact that he has been conducting an affair with Essen behind his wife’s back. I believe this affair was a result of the stress about his wife being pregnant and the new job.
The movie sedways to Commissioner Loeb, who puts Gordon on night duty where his ex-partner and a group of cops in black masks attack him and beat him savagely. A few days after detective Gordon's child is born, some mobsters kidnap Gordon’s child and try to kill the child by throwing it off a bridge. Bruce Wayne jumps off the bridge and saves the child from drowning. Bruce Wayne hands the child back to its mother.
After this, detective Gordon hunts down Detective Flass and finds him outside of a gambling establishment. Gordon challenges Flass to fight, Gordon beats him savagely and throws him in a dumpster as a lesson not go after detective Gordon’s family again. Later in the movie, Commissioner Loeb steps down while dealing with corruption charges. Also, he is on the verge of being put in prison for multiple crimes over the years because he seems to have used the police SWAT team as ihs own personal hit squad. James Gordon is elevated to Commissioner, and after that, he's making his way to a rooftop to meet with Batman over a new criminal calling themself The Joker. While this happens, there's a monologue playing where Gordon says that his wife and himself are going into counseling, which is where the movie ends.
I think this movie's ending shows the start of the most solid partnership in DC comics.