Lucius Fox, a technology specialist and Bruce Wayne's business manager who is well aware of his employer's clandestine vigilante activities; Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a family friend who like Alfred became a surrogate parental figure to Bruce Wayne after the deaths of his parents, and is also aware of his secret identity; Vicki Vale, an investigative journalist who often reports on Batman's activities for the Gotham Gazette; Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's canine partner who was mainly active in the 1950s and 1960s;[99] and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp mostly active in the 1960s who idolizes Batman.[99]
In 2005, Batman Begins was released by Warner Bros. as a reboot of the film series; directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman. Its sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately $158 million,[177] and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release).[178] These record-breaking attendances saw The Dark Knight end its run as the second-highest domestic grossing film (at the time) with $533 million, bested then only by Titanic.[179] The film also won two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for the late Heath Ledger.[180] It was eventually followed by The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which served as a conclusion to Nolan's film series.

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Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order".[92] Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting,[93] a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.[94] Miller is often credited with reintroducing anti-heroic traits into Batman's characterization,[95] such as his brooding personality, willingness to use violence and torture, and increasingly alienated behavior. Batman, shortly a year after his debut and the introduction of Robin, was changed in 1940 after DC editor Whitney Ellsworth felt the character would be tainted by his lethal methods and DC established their own ethical code, subsequently he was retconned as having a stringent moral code.[35][96] Miller's Batman was closer to the original pre-Robin version, who was willing to kill criminals if necessary.[97]

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