Batman’s Gotham City from The Dark Knight to Gotham Knights

With the attractive expansion of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson the batman universe, it is once again an exciting time for the character in the theatrical space, and the recent release of WB Games Montréal’s gotham knights has once again highlighted how the city itself is such an important backdrop. As cheesy as that might be to say, Gotham City really helps elevate tales of the Dark Knight when he’s treated as a metaphorical character in the world of his.

The grim noir crime town that seems perpetually dark and stormy is the foundation that serves the broader Batman mythos, be it Christopher Nolan’s standard setting The dark knight trilogy or the hallowed one by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm Batman: The Animated Series. And even though Gotham is often characterized by such moody adjectives, there have still been several engaging iterations through mediums to fulfill the aforementioned and respective roles.

From the page to the big screen

Batman, and by extension Gotham City, have a long history in the cinematic space, even if it wasn’t as prominent in decades past. Perhaps the first major theatrical portrayal of the character and his world was in director Tim Burton’s duology, which comprises the film directed by Michael Keaton. bat Man Y batman returns.

While Burton and his depictions of the Caped Crusader himself in his corner of the DC universe don’t exactly hide the fact that they don’t pay homage to the source material that paved the way for them, it’s hard not to respect the filmmaker’s trademark vintage goth. eccentricity. That goes double for the protagonist and Gotham City. One could even argue that Burton’s Gotham has more character and flair than Nolan’s iteration.

He oozed bad humor in a way that, ironically, would be right at home in a DC comic book series. Throwing a taste of holiday aesthetics into returns made it an aesthetically more memorable embodiment of the city.

Split image of haunting Batman against the backdrop of Gotham City in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Still, Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman and the city around him served its purpose: the first blend of modern grit and realism in a live-action interpretation of the brooding superhero. Of the three films in the revered trilogy, Batman Begins It arguably feels larger than life.

It may seem jarring to some fans how the aesthetic noticeably changes from Batman Begins a The dark knight Y The dark knight rises, but these representations are still at the service of the atmospheres of each film. The grimy gothic style of begins it fits right in with a gritty film that still balances a pinch of the comic book medium’s inherent brand of campiness.

The stylized nature of begins works just as well for a plot surrounding an international terrorist group comprised of ninjas trying to plunge Gotham City into a fear toxin-induced hell as it does the Michael Mann-style crime drama setting for a story detailing the exploits of a mad anarchist, or a war epic.

Split image of Batman overlooking Gotham and the neon lights of Gotham Square.

However, Reeves the batman, with special thanks to cinematographer Greig Fraser, feels like a nice return to form when it comes to portraying Gotham City as a background character. It is perhaps the liveliest performance since Burton’s duology.

This Gotham City injects the perfect amount of gritty realism with an overall feel that seems straight out of the pages of Frank Miller’s seminal book. Year one comic book.

Gotham feels alive, if only a little bit, which fits perfectly with that setting. The city is connected to its own IV like a lifeline, while at the same time it functions as an excellent stage for the heroes, villains, and everyone else that populates it.

Batman has always felt like a character who could justify an entire cinematic universe of his own, with the help of his supporting cast and hometown. the batman encapsulates precisely that, which makes his future on screen so exciting.

Animation on the small screen

Split image of Batman on top of a building and the Gotham Cityscape.

Similarly, Batman also has an extensive history in the television space. Still, the one that arguably means the most to most longtime fans is the heady world created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm in Batman: The Animated Series and thereafter

The DC Animated Universe, and especially the Dark Knight part, are practically sacrosanct to longtime fans of the hero. And it’s a strong argument to have, like the animated seriesthe successor shows that he begat, and the beloved Ghost Mask they are commonly hailed as the most faithful representation of the character when the source material is taken into account.

A big part of that is, once again, the making of Gotham City throughout. It was an ingenious art direction on the part of the creative team as they took the urban aesthetic of the 1940s and the stylistic approach of art deco to create the affectionately dubbed “dark deco” that the animated series popularized police blimps, the use of black, gray, and red, and more, proved to be the perfect cocktail for a lively noir crime atmosphere that stood the test of time.

It’s a gold standard in many ways, whether it’s because of the visuals of Gotham or how it lends itself thematically to Batman storytelling, and the next caped crusader The animated series (also partly directed by Timm) has a lot to live up to.

in the world of games

Batman overlooking the neon lights of Gotham in Arkham Knight.

When it comes to games, Batman didn’t really come into his own until Rocksteady came along and did a long-awaited, Nolan-esque reinvention of his universe with the Arkham Serie.

arkham asylumSetting-wise, it was literally a slice of Gotham City, taking place exclusively in the titular asylum and the island it was built on. However, it was City and the evolution of open-world game design that gradually pushed Gotham to reach the potential of its bleak splendor in between.

arkham knight it was that potential fully realized, with the power of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and then-modern PC hardware bringing to the screen a magnificent neo-noir version of Gotham City. In terms of history, it also helped that the Arkham The games have been praised fairly consistently across its four entries, counting the WB Games Montréal prequel, for being a slightly aged video game version of what Dini and Timm accomplished with the animated series.

Split image of Red Hood and Nightwing overlooking the city in Gotham Knights.

It’s another high standard to meet, but for what it’s worth, the team at WB Montréal put a lot of development time into their latest effort at gotham knights. This is his second foray into Gotham City, and it’s even more challenging in a way, since it’s a Gotham City with no Batman to venture through.

The burden is now on the shoulders of his extended family of bats to fill the hole left by his mantle. Although it may not be as visually stunning as the open world of arkham knightthe art base for WB Montréal’s action RPG is in the right place.

Arguably a combination of neon and grime is one of the best ways to put the city on display, and the efforts of the developer team here have resulted in the largest open world Gotham City in gaming to date.

But as tempting as Gotham looks with these hints of haunting art elements, each shows how versatile it is as a setting and how it will always be a mainstay in Batman lore.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s various Batman movies and shows are available to stream now on HBO Max and WB Games Montréal’s. gotham knights It is available now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

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