Played by: Katie Holmes, above; Maggie Gyllenhaal
Relationship: Her mother was a maid at stately Wayne Manor; spent her childhood with young Bruce Wayne; went on to become assistant district attorney of Gotham; she knows he's Batman; unrequited on-again-off-again romance; off-again after she's killed by the Joker in "The Dark Knight."
Hurdles to romance: His arrogance, need for secrecy; his intense workaholic connection with his night job; her intense desire to bring down the mob.
Integral to plotline? Certainly. Rachel is the human anchor, the normal life Bruce will never find time to know. Nevertheless, despite the character's being well-written, Holmes' portrayal in "Batman Begins" lent a very light emotional anchor (it's as airless as Paltrow is weightless); Gyllenhaal's turn, however, suggested a bit more — a character moving on, but always glancing backward. (That said, Vicki Vale, a photojournalist played by Kim Basinger in Tim Burton's 1989 version, was pure fluff.)