Features and Columns · Movies

Which ‘Batman’ Film Had the Best Gotham?

Your answer may vary depending on your love of German Expressionism.
Batman Gotham
Warner Bros.
By  · Published on May 9th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that takes a look at the different iterations of Batman’s home base, Gotham.


Listen, I love a good horoscope as much as the next depressed twenty-something. But hear me out: people’s favorite live-action of Gotham City may be the more accurate way to suss out someone’s personality. Batman’s crime-riddled stomping grounds have worn a variety of concrete faces in their time on the big screen. Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) both borrow heavily from German Expressionism and the same Art Deco futurism on display in the likes of Metropolis. The result is a city that feels both comically exaggerated and undeniably dark, a combo that aptly summarizes what Tim Burton’s caped crusader is all about. Then,

In Joel Schumacher’s Batman films, Gotham has a massive scale with far more colors. It’s off the rails and doesn’t take itself seriously, which is fitting for Schumacher’s larger-than-life, funhouse deal. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has a Gotham that is literally just Chicago, firmly rooted in realism in direct response to its more expressionistic predecessors. Todd Phillips’ Joker made the not entirely original, but welcome, decision to make Gotham look like 1970s New York City as seen through the early filmography of Martin Scorsese.

This brings us to our most recent cinematic Batman outing, which, as the video essay below argues, features the best live-action Gotham to date. As the essayist argues, Matt Reeves’ The Batman is more concerned with the relationship between the titular hero and his home city than any other live-action effort. This is, after all, the first big-screen iteration of Batman we’ve seen that lives in the heart of the city rather than in a mansion on its outskirts.

Regardless of what your preferred Gotham may be, the video essay makes a compelling argument for why the 2022 film’s rainy city reigns supreme. Check it out for yourself (you may want to bring an umbrella):

This is your warning: the video essay below contains some spoilers for 2022’s The Batman.

Watch “The Batman Has the Best Gotham”:


Who made this?

This video essay on which Gotham is the best Gotham (and why arguably it’s in 2022’s The Batman is by Greg Kon, a filmmaker and writer based in Canada. Kon runs the video essay channel CinemaKon, which covers everything from film to writing advice. You can subscribe to CinemaKon on YouTube here. And you can follow Kon on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).