The HoloFiles

The Batman Features The Best Live-Action Gotham Yet

By Josh Bate

The Batman is now in theaters, meaning that fans can see many of the unique aspects of Matt Reeves’ new film. Aspects like Batman as a detective are explored on screen for the first time here, as the Dark Knight was previously seen as just a crime fighter compared to an investigator.

Another unique aspect of the film is the setting, with Gotham City feeling like a comic book more than any other iteration before it. Ultimately, the Gotham depicted in The Batman is the best on screen, live action adaption of the city yet, as it truly feels lived in and is incredibly immersive, with all of the villains co-existing naturally.

The Batman is a moody, atmospheric film, stemming from the title character’s mental state. Robert Pattinson is a quiet, darker version of Batman, and his Bruce Wayne is no different. Wayne is troubled by his parent’s death and most likely struggling with PTSD and a form of depression, and possibly even suicidal ideation given his lack of care over whether he lives or dies while fighting crime on the streets of Gotham. The city reflects this, with its constant rain a particular feature throughout. When it’s not raining, there’s a beaming yellow sunlight, something that also reminiscent of the comics.

Unlike previous Bat-films, like Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Batman used several cities to create Gotham. The real life locations of Liverpool, Glasgow, London, and Chicago are combined to form this city that is a delicate combination of old and new. Some of the skyscrapers look modern, as do the big advertising screens that occupy the sides of the buildings. However, there’s a Victorian-era aspect to a lot of the architecture too, as highlighted by the Wayne residence, which is a tower rather than a mansion in this film. Continuity wise, combining four different cities to form Gotham could have been jarring, especially if Reeves and co. failed to pull it all together to form one fictional location. However, they do more than just pull this off, as Gotham feels lived in and real just from a visual standpoint alone.

Another major aspect of Gotham in this film that makes it even more of an iconic location are the villains. Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, and even Joker all exist within the city, but it’s entirely natural. To have several iconic antagonists all operating at the same time could make the city overstuffed or, at the very least, unharmonious, but this isn’t the case at all. Rather, the balance of Gotham’s criminal underworld is perfect in this film, because as the Riddler takes central stage as primary antagonists, other players like Penguin still have an important role without taking up too much time.

Every version of Gotham has been exciting in its own way, from Tim Burton’s comic book iteration to Christopher Nolan’s hyper-realistic city, but the location’s new look and feel in The Batman is the best yet.

The Batman is in theaters now.

Images courtesy of DC and Warner Bros.

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