Top 10 Differences Between The Gothams Of Nolan And Burton

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4. Soundstages vs. On location

A quick glance on IMDB reveals perhaps the most vital difference between these filmmakers’ approaches: clicking on filming locations for Burton’s 1992 BATMAN RETURNS reveals that the entire film was shot in Burbank CA (which is Burton’s hometown, by the by), while Nolan’s 2008 sequel THE DARK KNIGHT includes such diverse locations as Hong Kong, London and Chicago. This is just another ingredient in the larger distinction between these two universes, one that makes them virtually incomparable: Tim Burton set out to make a comic book film (but a comic book film his way), while Christopher Nolan’s intentions surpass the comic book element and place Batman (and Gotham) in the context of our reality. Re-watching the Burton films, it’s extremely clear how everything looks artificial, but it was made to be so. The Nolan films looks like they could have actually happened, just outside on the street (and to that end, be careful of anyone you see traipsing around in rubber suits or with clown makeup on).

Author: Dan Heching

Photo Credit: Batman-News
lightAmazingly, Bruce Wayne is about to don his Batsuit for the seventh time in a little over 20 years, with the role of Batman becoming a nouveau-James Bond of sorts—a grand total of 4 actors have portrayed him thus far. When the original BATMAN came out in 1989, superhero films were far from guaranteed successes; effects and makeup still hadn’t quite risen to the standards of what the deliriously imaginative comic creators could come up with. Nevertheless, Tim Burton’s BATMAN was a commercial and (mostly) critical success, enough to ensure delivery of the (arguably) better sequel BATMAN RETURNS three years later. Fast forward (remember that?) to 2005, and MEMENTO director Christopher Nolan resuscitated the franchise with the much more realistic BATMAN BEGINS, which in turn was also followed by a superior sequel, THE DARK KNIGHT.


While comparing the drastically different Batman universes of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan might seem a fruitless endeavor, an interesting way to explore them is through the directors’ treatment of the Dark Knight’s beloved Gotham City. 


Author: Dan Heching10. Product Tie-ins: Coca Cola vs. Mountain Dew9.  Jack Nicholson vs. Heath Ledger8.  The Bat-Signal7. Greys and blacks vs. Washed out ochres6.  Henchmen5. Crowds of Gothamites
4. Soundstages vs. On location3. New York vs. Chicago2. Pat Hingle vs. Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon1. ‘Stylized’ Dark vs. ‘Bleak’ Dark