Why Batman Fans Love Matt Reevesā€™ Gotham (But Are Split On Nolanā€™s)

Matt Reeves' The Batman and Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy present two very different versions of Gotham, but one is far superior for Batman fans. In 2005, Nolan gave Batman a new life as a serious and stoic character on the big screen. There were many versions already in live-action, but most were distinctly different from the gritty detective comics that originally inspired them.

From the early versions enacted by Adam West for TV to the colorful interpretations from the '80s and '90s, Batman appeared to be set in a world that was more comic book tomfoolery than drudgery. The villains wore preposterous clothing and Gotham often took a backseat to other elements. All of that changed when Nolan decided to turn Gotham into another character, one that has a tight grip on Batman and the people within it.


Related: Why Gritty Realism Only Works For Batman & Not Other Superheroes

The problem is, Nolan didn't go far enough. Batman Begins certainly introduces a Gotham that has some bad apples, and corruption appears to be a problem that Batman (Christian Bale) recognizes in his city. However, by day, it seems as though those negative influences go largely unseen. In The Batman, Reeves takes the city to new depths as everywhere one turns, crime, violence, and obscene behavior fill Gotham to the brim.

Is The Batman's Gotham Better Than The Dark Knight Trilogy's?

The Batman Concept Art Shows Bruce Towering Over a Gritty Gotham City

The Dark Knight trilogy has received widespread praise for everything from its casting and editing, down to minor details such as color tones and music, but among all the fanfare, the representation of Gotham is largely remembered as unremarkable, too similar to a generic big city in the U.S. The Batman however jumps into its darker narrative with both feet, including in its portrayal of Gotham. The entire film sees Robert Pattinson's Batman ignore minor crimes like shoplifting, drug trafficking, and more as he focuses on the more pressing issues that are causing his city to rot from the inside out.

The Iceberg Lounge, on its surface, is a fairly standard nightclub, but below its public-facing dance hall and bar, exists a club frequented by the most powerful crime bosses and the most elite politicians and officials alike. Everyone in the city appears to be tainted by some dark ominous spirit that causes them to give in to every vice available. Even the primary antagonist of the film finds himself a large cult following that hangs on to his every word, even though those words are encouraging them to commit unspeakable acts of violence and terror. The Batman brings Gotham to life and makes it into a toxic pool that infects everyone and everything within it, causing Batman to wage war, not just on crime, but on the city itself.

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