Top 10 Differences Between The Gothams Of Nolan And Burton

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8. The Bat-Signal

On a purely visual level, Gotham serves as the backdrop for the Bat-Signal: the bright Batman logo appearing in the night sky as a call for help from the Caped Crusader. A more rounded version is used in a rather marketing-heavy way in the Burton films, appearing with much pomp and circumstance in the last shot of BATMAN RETURNS as Michelle Pfeiffer looks on. A much more angular, horizontal Bat-Signal in the Nolan franchise has more of a functional purpose: in THE DARK KNIGHT, Jim Gordon projects the updated Bat-Signal to warn Gotham criminals of Batman’s continued presence. The Bat-iconography serves its purpose, scaring the bejesus out of various riffraff (as well it should; Christian Bale is a lot scarier than Michael Keaton).

Author: Dan Heching

Photo Credit: Catfan
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