Why Rocksteady's Arkham Trilogy Is Superior To Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy
Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies is widely regarded as one of greatest comic book adaptations of all time. It's an impressive sentiment, especially when one considers the plethora of comic-based films in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe that have been released since Batman Begins in 2005. Yet, despite its commercial success and critical accolades, there are still inherent problems with the Dark Knight trilogy that even fan theories can't solve.
On the video game front, another adaptation of the Caped Crusader received an equal amount of praise, in the form of the Batman: Arkham series. The release of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009 shifted the gaming landscape, and created one of the only truly spectacular licensed franchises. You can even argue that Rocksteady Studios' adaptation of the World's Greatest Detective is actually superior to Nolan’s trilogy of films.
Batman Uses His Entire Arsenal In The GamesPhoto: Rockysteady Studios
Seeing as Batman is one of the few comic book heroes who doesn't have any real superpowers, he is forced to rely on his combat prowess, quick wits, and arsenal of gadgets to defeat enemies. The games allow players to utilize a large array of weapons and items. These range from remote-controlled Batarangs to more generic examples like explosive gel and smoke bombs. There are more than a dozen different pieces of technology for Batman to equip on his utility belt in these titles.
The movies, on the other hand, restrict the Caped Crusader to far fewer gadgets. Save for a few tools here and there, Nolan's Batman tends to stick to hand-to-hand combat.
The Games Showcase Batman's Varied And Intense Combat Styles
In the movies, Batman uses a somewhat limited combat style to tackle the enemies he comes across. The hero is far more athletic in the games. Rocksteady designed their combat system to match perfectly with how Batman fights in the comics.
Rather than just wailing on foes, Batman's strikes are timed and purposeful in the Arkham series. Successfully taking down an opponent requires careful precision and a balance of attack, defense, and well-timed counters.
The Games Are A Better Portrayal Of Batman As A Hero
Bruce Wayne's character arc in the Nolan trilogy sees him transform from a superhero who fights crime to a symbol of hope and inspiration to the people of Gotham. He even makes choices in The Dark Knight Rises to stress the importance of Batman, and to convince others of the need for a protector.
Batman takes a totally different stance in the comics and the video games. While he is undoubtedly a hero, he chooses to fight crime out of a sense of duty and operates entirely out of fear rather than trying to provide inspiration. Rocksteady’s games capture this motivation faithfully, portraying Batman as a truly fearsome foe.
The Games Showcase Batman’s Intellect
Bruce Wayne might not have genius level intellect like Lex Luthor, but he's still one of the most intelligent characters in the DC universe. His real talent lies in the fact that he is something of a polymath. He is highly competent across a number of different disciplines, and is unmatched in his ability to adapt and develop new skills.
Nolan’s films don't provide too many circumstances for Batman to show off his intelligence. However, the Arkham games let the player control the hero in tense and arduous situations, where he has to rely on brains alone to come up with complex plans or to take down his enemies.
Batman’s Stealth Skills Are Actually Demonstrated In The Games
One of Batman's many strengths is his mastery of stealth. This allows him to disappear into the shadows, remaining out of sight so he can ambush his enemies and take them out quietly. This skill is rarely showcased in the Nolan films, and whenever it is, it's from the perspective of the criminals.
Players only see Batman's point of view in the games, as they plot out every specific movement to remain undetected.
The Games Retain Some Of The Whimsy Associated With Batman
Nolan’s trilogy is praised for its gritty tone. This helps it stand out in the crowded superhero genre, and gives it an element of realism that allows viewers to immerse themselves in a more modern Gotham. Yet, by taking this more serious approach, it losses some of what makes Batman stories special.
The comics and other media have always contained some elements of humor and fantasy, giving the property a somewhat whimsical feel at times. Rocksteady managed to capture this essence more effectively, adding color and lightheartedness, and ensuring it wouldn't take itself too seriously.