Liam Neeson Explains Why He’s ‘Not A Fan’ Of Superhero Movies, But How Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy Hooked Him Anyway

Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In 2005, three years before he starred in Taken and was shocked by its success, Liam Neeson starred in Batman Begins as Henri Ducard/Ra’s al Ghul, Bruce Wayne’s mentor-turned-enemy. While Batman Begins was arguably one of the most important superhero movies of the 2000s, it turns out that Neeson is “not a fan” of the genre as a whole, but there was something special about the first installment of Christopher Nolan’s installment in the Dark Knight trilogy that hooked him in anyway.

We’re coming up on 20 years since Batman Begins opened in theaters, and while Christian Bale, the man who brought Batman to life in that movie and its two sequels, returned to the superhero movie realm last year to play Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder, Liam Neeson hasn’t followed suit. While speaking with Rolling Stone, the Schindler’s List actor shared that he simply doesn’t like this particular cinematic genre for the most part, saying:

I'll be honest: All these superhero movies? I'm not a fan. I'm really not. I admire them because it's Hollywood with all their bells and whistles and technology, which is phenomenal, but they all seem to me to be just the same story. You can say, 'OK, you did do Chris Nolan's.'

It’d be surprising for a Hollywood star of Liam Neeson’s caliber to not have starred in a superhero movie this far into the genre’s popularity streak, though it’s not unheard of (just look at Leonardo DiCaprio). But at least Neeson did lend his acting talents to one superhero movie, as well as cameoed in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises as a vision of Ra’s al Ghul that Bruce Wayne sees while he’s recovering from his back being broken by Bane. Nowadays though, while Neeson is impressed by the technology used in these superhero movies, he finds such features to be narratively repetitive. 

As for what attracted Liam Neeson to do Batman Begins, when the Rolling Stone interview mentioned the noir elements infused into the Dark Knight trilogy, the actor responded: 

You took the words right out of my mouth. They had a noir feel to them. And Chris Bale and Gary Oldman? Come on! What a cast. And Michael [Caine] and Morgan [Freeman]? My god!

It’s appropriate for Liam Neeson to be talking about noir elements considering his latest movie is Marlowe, where he plays the latest cinematic depiction of Raymond Chandler-creation Phillip Marlowe. But looking back to the past, the noir of it all and his costars are enough for Neeson to think back fondly on his time working on Batman Begins, but that experience was enough to scratch his superhero movie itch. Neeson has also said he has no interest in doing a Qui-Gon Jinn spinoff for Disney+, feeling that the Star Wars brand has become diluted because there are so many spinoffs.

Marlowe is playing in theaters now, and while Liam Neeson’s upcoming movies include Retribution, In the Land of Saints and Sinners and Thug, it’s unclear for now if any of them will be among the 2023 new movie releases. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises can all be streamed with an HBO Max subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.