The Batman Is Fixing A Dark Knight Trilogy Gotham Mistake


Matt Reeves’ The Batman looks set to avoid one of the few mistakes made by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, by making Gotham a true character.

Matt Reeves’ The Batman looks set to avoid a Gotham City mistake made by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. Currently scheduled for a 4 March, 2022 release date, The Batman will be the third live-action Batman franchise to be produced this century. Given the incredible success of The Dark Knight Trilogy, though, the bar has been set incredibly high for the movie, which will star Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Since the movie is still in production, not a great deal is known about The Batman‘s story – though what has been revealed so far is enticing. The film will follow a Batman in his second year of protecting the streets of Gotham, veering away from the origin story of something like Batman Begins, but not going as far with an established Caped Crusader as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did. That’s not the only notable different between The Batman and Nolan’s trio of movies, though, as it looks set to take an alternative (and arguably better) approach to Gotham.

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Related: How The Batman Will Be Different To Every Previous Dark Knight Movie

In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gotham looks and feels like a major U.S metropolis; filmed in Chicago and adorned with big, gray towering blocks of concrete, then this Gotham could easily be Chicago itself, New York City, or another similar location. It would be unfair to say Nolan’s movies got Gotham wrong, but they focused much more on the fight for Gotham’s soul. Because of that, the onus was on its criminals and its protectors, and the city itself never felt like a living, breathing character the way it does in DC Comics, nor was it brought to life as its own unique, aesthetically weird and fascinating thing in the way Tim Burton’s movies did it. The Batman is more emo than Gothic, but it nonetheless looks to be fixing the Gotham mistakes of previous movies in this sense but giving it far more character.

Gotham in The Batman Movie

Rather than just being big city America, The Batman‘s Gotham, which was teased in the trailer but surely has even more to offer, promises a blend of grandeur and grimness. There’s clearly a hierarchy in the city and a sense of opulence, but you don’t have to go too far to find its grimy underbelly; parts of the city look run down, and where they collide with the more affluent areas is where there’s real narrative mileage to be found in Gotham, because they show the place for what it truly is.

Gotham is a reflection of Bruce Wayne’s duality: like he’s more at home with being a loner fighting crime in a cape than he is mixing with the hoi polloi, so too is Gotham’s rotten core its true self. The projection of wealth, prosperity, and goodness is exactly that, and it doesn’t take much to scratch that surface away and reveal what’s underneath. That’s something Burton’s movies did brilliantly because they showed the grotesque side of Gotham, and it’s something that was never quite as overt in Nolan’s movies because of its design choices. The Batman looks to be getting back to that sense of style and place: as nicely exhibited by the face-painted thugs Batman gives a beatdown to, or the fact that the Batcave is in a dilapidated train station, as well as the chaos that is seemingly unfolding amidst the corruption, this is a Gotham City where anything (and indeed, anyone) could happen, and that’s how it should be.

Whereas The Dark Knight Trilogy did a great job of filling its Gotham with compelling characters, the city itself looks to be one here. There’s a strange mood and energy to it that’s not truly been seen since the Burton era (with Joel Schumacher’s leaning too much into camp territory), making it all the more believable that a billionaire would dress up like a bat to fight crime, or that a criminal would leave riddles for him to solve while murdering people. In just a few small glimpses, The Batman‘s take on Gotham feels more alive, more unsettling, and has more of a personality than anything seen in other Batman movies this century.

Next: Every Batman Movie Ranked, Worst To Best

Key Release Dates

  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)Release date: Dec 25, 2020
  • The Suicide Squad (2021)Release date: Aug 06, 2021
  • The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
  • The Flash (2022)Release date: Nov 04, 2022
  • DC Super Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
  • Aquaman 2 (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
  • Shazam 2 (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023

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Updated: November 23, 2020 — 4:30 pm

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