Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy are widely regarded as not just the best superhero features, but also as some of the greatest films that we've ever seen. Whether you're a fan of the origin of Batman Begins, or the love letter to Michael Mann's Heat in The Dark Knight, or the definitive conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises, there's so much to savor and appreciate.
Gotham, on the other hand, is a series that's divided fans and critics since it first debuted in 2014. Even so, it's actually done a host of things better than Nolan's films did. No, we aren't trolling; Gotham has gotten many elements about the mythos right that Nolan didn't.
10. Makes Bruce Wayne The Center Of The Story
One of the biggest criticisms of Nolan's trilogy is how it focused more on the villains than the hero. It's true. If you think of every film, the first conversation you'll have will be about Ra's al Ghul, the Joker, or Bane. It's hardly ever about Bruce Wayne and his influence on the story.
In Gotham, Bruce is at the heart of everything. While you might have an opinion of David Mazouz's portrayal, you cannot deny that he's a major part of every storyline. Much like Smallville made Clark Kent the center of its storytelling, so does Gotham with its young Bruce.
9. Introduces A Host Of Villains
Nolan introduced a fair amount of Batman's rogues in his films. In addition, he did well to avoid the pitfalls of cramming as many villains as possible for fan service, since we've seen several superhero films collapse under the weight of too many antagonists (yes, we're talking about you, Spider-Man 3).
Due to its serialized format, Gotham is able to introduce, remove, then re-introduce villains as it chooses. Many dreams have come true as we've seen the Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman all on screen at the same time. It's as if 1966's Batman series has come to life in the 21st century.
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8. Gives Selina Kyle A Backstory
To be fair, no one was convinced when Anne Hathaway was announced as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises. Michelle Pfeiffer was (and is still) seen as the gold standard for anyone who portrays Catwoman on screen. Nonetheless, Hathaway converted many haters into fans, with her unique portrayal of the sneaky cat burglar.
What The Dark Knight Rises didn't do was give her an origin story. It decided to assume that the audience knew everything there was to know about the character. On the contrary, Gotham has provided us with a layered backstory for Selina – even though the current "cat powers" angle might annoy a few fans.
7. Builds A Strong Relationship Between Bruce & Alfred
Whereas the Batman films before had relegated Alfred Pennyworth to nothing more than a tea-bringing butler, Nolan introduced Alfred as Bruce's most trusted confidante and ally in his series. This Alfred was one who assisted the Caped Crusader in his crusade, even though he secretly hoped that Bruce would give up his crime-fighting ways.
In Gotham, we see a tougher Alfred, more in line with Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's Batman: Earth One comic book series. In this version, Alfred isn't afraid of fisticuffs and he's the one who taught Bruce to stand up for himself and how to throw a punch.
6. Shows Jim Gordon Working With The GCPD
In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Jim Gordon didn't trust the GCPD. He'd rather put his faith in a masked vigilante than anyone else at the station. Mind you, looking at the state of Gotham City, do you blame him for questioning what the cops were doing?
While Gotham's Gordon has also been guilty of being a lone ranger at times, he shows more of a desire to work with others – especially Harvey Bullock, who was completely absent from Nolan's films. In this iteration of the character, Gordon realizes that he can't save Gotham City alone and will need as many allies as possible.
5. Refuses To Be A Slave To Canon
Making superhero shows or films can be daunting. Most of the fanbase reject anything that isn't canon, and they will let you know their feelings on social media. Despite this, Nolan ignored the noise and tweaked more than a few elements to suit his reimagining of Batman.
Following Nolan's example, Gotham hasn't just snuck in a few extra things; it's kicked the whole door down. It refused to be confined to the world created before its arrival and continues to reinvent and surprise fans with new and unexpected angles. It's brave and admirable, but it's also proven to be the show's downfall in the long run.
4. Isn't Afraid To Get Silly
While a lot of people blame Zack Snyder for the early serious tone of the DC Extended Universe, it was actually Nolan who brought a more grounded and edgier tone to superhero films with his trilogy. Seeing the financial success, Warner Bros. naturally veered in that direction initially.
When Gotham debuted, it was a mixed bag of emotions. In time, though, the show embraced its silly premises and isn't afraid of venturing into the ridiculous. It knows exactly what it is and is unashamed of proudly waving its freak flag. It looks as if the days of serious superhero programming are reaching an end.
3. Focuses On Bruce Wayne As An Actual Human Being
There's a belief that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is the real person. It's something that has been tackled in several mediums and makes for an interesting debate. In Nolan's trilogy, he touched upon the actual person beneath the suit, but he was more interested in exploring the Batman as a symbol.
From the get-go, Gotham was always going to be different as it needed to explore who Bruce was without the suit. In this time, we've actually gotten to understand who he is and his motivations. It's shown us that there's more to him than meets the eye.
2. Introduces The Graysons
Look, many directors try to avoid the whole Robin side of the Batman lore, because they feel it's difficult to depict on the big screen. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan only alluded to the existence of Robin in the form of John Blake, as he ignored the history of Dick Grayson to this universe.
Well, Gotham isn't dodging the Graysons. We've already seen Dick's parents introduced, confirming that the Graysons are indeed part of this universe. While we haven't seen Dick appear (and we're unlikely to), it's good to know that Batman will have a dependable partner in the near future.
1. Keeps Swerving Us With The Joker
While Nolan's Joker didn't have a backstory (well, at least a truthful one), he terrified Gotham City with his anarchic behavior and lust for chaos. This guy was bonkers and you knew he wasn't going to stop until he got what he wanted. In a way, he did win, because he turned Harvey Dent.
In Gotham, we're still not sure if Jeremiah Valeska is even the real Joker. Everyone was convinced that his twin brother, Jerome, was truly the Clown Prince of Crime on at least two occasions and that rug was pulled out from under us. The producers have really toyed with our emotions, and it's been fun.Visit CBR.com