Why Would Anyone Live in Gotham?

It's almost as bad as living in Detroit.

Rob Feeby Rob Fee

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

If you’ve ever read a Batman comic book or watched one of the movies (even the abomination that is the Clooney Batman), you know that Gotham is a huge, thriving metropolis with approximately 10 million residents. But … why? Why would anyone live in this god-forsaken orgy of crime?

Instead of delving into the depths of corruption and mayhem in all of the comic books, let’s keep it simple and just focus on “The Dark Knight” trilogy. First of all, the economy is basically built on one family: the Waynes. Not since Lebron James in Cleveland has a city been this dependent and fully reliant on a person than Gotham is on the Wayne family.

In “Batman Begins,” we see the most wealthy, successful family in Gotham at the opera. When they decide to leave a little early, the exit leads straight into skid row. Isn’t this the nice part of the city? How is it so run down that you put the nicest opera house in what looks like “Silent Hill”? No wonder his parents got murdered. It looks like the first level of “Bioshock.”

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises
We then cut to 14 years later, at the parole hearing of his parent’s murderer. He gets released but one of Falcone’s assassins immediately kills him IN THE COURTHOUSE. If that wasn’t enough, Bruce Wayne also had a gun he’d brought in in order to kill him. Are there no metal detectors or security screenings to get into this place?

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

I can’t go to the DMV without some sort of screening, but these guys walk around the courthouse strapped up like Neo and Trinity when they broke Morpheus out of jail. Hey Gotham, maybe spend $200 on a new security system? I don’t know … just a thought after numerous homicides inside a government building.

Bruce Wayne leaves for a while to train with the guy from “Taken” and learns the art of executing peasants before returning to good ol’ Gotham. When he gets back, almost every cop is corrupt, and the most thriving industry in the city is Arkham Asylum, which is run by this guy:

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

Imagine going in for an interview at that place.
Question one: Do you have a burlap sack to put over your head?
Question two: How familiar are you with toxins that cause hallucinations?
Great, you’re hired!

To make Gotham even more of a tourist hotspot, the toxins that the Scarecrow was using in the asylum to make everyone freak out and see visions of a Guillermo Del Toro movie has also been dumped into the city’s water supply. Hooray, free drugs for everyone!

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

How would anyone choose to stay in Gotham after something like this? Your kid has a glass of water before bed and a few minutes later starts screaming because he sees a monster under his bed. You go in there after brushing your teeth and instead of being able to calm him down, you start tripping out because you just saw melted Shrek krumping under your own bed.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect you if you drink it, only if it’s inhaled. Whew, that was a close one. Oh wait, the guy from “Taken” is back with a microwave emitter, which will vaporize all the water and cause everyone to go insane. Can that go on the front of the tourism brochure? Gotham: No more toxic water, but lots of drug-induced murders!

Batman chases the criminals onto the elevated train and, of course, the pursuit ends with the villains being killed in dramatic fashion. The train and tracks get blown up!

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

“Sorry, I’m going to be a little late for work tomorrow, the main means of transportation for the city exploded.” That’s always a great way to boost the economy. If you think that’s bad, wait until you see what happens in the next two movies!

“The Dark Knight” starts out with a huge bank robbery. It’s not completely uncommon for banks to be robbed, but do you realize how many dead bodies were discovered at the crime scene? The Joker kept having his assistants murder each other. No way I’m going back to any bank chain where the corpses of multiple clowns were discovered. Are you kidding me?

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

The Joker then kills the Commissioner and blows up the judge presiding over the mob trials.

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises
batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

He also tries to kill Harvey Dent, but is unsuccessful. Great, now all the leaders in the city have been murdered. Shouldn’t this be a sign to move? There’s no way the housing market is on the rise when every city official is being murdered. If that wasn’t enough, during a police parade the mayor had an assassination attempt on him.

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

Why would you ever leave your home? This place is a nightmare! We then have a series of explosions, including one that blows up attorney Rachel Dawes, one that conveniently blows off half of Harvey Dent’s face and another in the police station that kills numerous police officers and frees just as many criminals. Oh great, no protection and unlimited criminals! Where do I buy a vacation home? Oh, did I also mention that the hospital gets blown up?

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

At what point do you say, “Hey, maybe we should move out of this awful city”? Was it when you were driving to the hospital because your wife went into labor, only to get there and realize it had been blown to pieces? Looks like we’ll be canceling that water birth and replacing it with a “floorboard of a Chevy Cobalt” birth.

Again, this is bad, but the next movie gets much, much worse.

Things have actually calmed down! Eight years have passed since Wreck-It Ralph plowed through the city and it’s almost recovered in full. That is, until this guy decides to visit:

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

There are many questions surrounding this new criminal including:
Where is he from?
How does he eat?
Why does he have a Glade Plug-In attached to his face?
Seriously, how does he eat?
Is it a soup-only diet?

Bane decides to go all-in on Gotham and attacks the Gotham Stock Exchange, which basically cripples the finances of the city.

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

What was that conversations like for families when they sat down to check their investments that night? “Hey honey, did you check out our stocks? According to this, we no longer own our home and nothing we possess is of any earthly value.” So long eight years of peace. After this, Bane just goes nuts. He gets all the police officers trapped underground by using this trap:

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

Then Bane blows up the Gotham football field, killing all of the players, but sparing Hines Ward.

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

This may have been the most insulting crime of all, because Hines Ward hasn’t been able to run like that in 5 years. If I have to watch a football field implode, the least you can do is give me the joy of seeing a Pittsburgh Steelers player go down with it.

After this, Bane holds THE ENTIRE CITY hostage and threatens to detonate a nuclear bomb if anyone tries to leave or enter.

This is the worst city in America, by far. It’s now Bedlam and you’re living like Mad Max. Batman is off doing P90X in a desert sewer while everyone in the city is foraging for food while trying to avoid being murdered. Eventually, Batman comes back, encourages the police to fight Bane’s criminals in the street like some sort of bizarro “Thriller” outtake, and takes the nuclear bomb into the ocean to detonate it and contaminate the world’s water supply for years to come.

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

At this point, you’ve been rescued, but good lord! How on Earth could you choose to stay in this hell hole after all you’ve been through? It’s not like one isolated incident happened, or one terrorist attack – your city was exiled from the world! Did people just go back to work the next day? What’s your biggest industry now? Cleaning the dead bodies off the street? There’s not enough FEMA assistance in the world to make me want to be in that city for a minute, let alone live there! Save your emails, Travelocity, there’s no deal good enough to promote tourism to Gotham. Great job, Batman, you saved the city. It looks splendid:

batman, gotham city, batman begins, the dark knight, the dark knight rises