Many people believe that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight represent two of the finest superhero movies ever made. Both were beautifully shot in the architecturally stunning city of Chicago, a magnificent stand-in for Gotham City where the Batman universe is set.
Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham City has been a metropolis inhabited by a surprising number of white people. Very few Black people have been seen (save the prisoner who selflessly tossed the detonator into the river in The Dark Knight ) in Nolan’s Gotham City, perhaps because, like in the real world, massive segregation exists.
Our problem with vigilante style movies is that the bad guys are always white guys, because a movie that showed a white hero fighting Black crime would be way to realistic and obviously racist. People enjoy escapism, and they enjoy taking a reprieve from the real-world of continous Black crime andimmersingthemselves infictional world where all crime is committed by sharply dressed white people.
Perhaps things are about to change.
News has now come out that Nolan’s third Batman film, Dark Knight Rising , will be filmed not in Chicago but Detroit:
According to Reel Chicago, The Dark Knight Rises will not follow Batman Begins and The Dark Knight buy shooting in Chicago. Here is what they had to say…
“Detroit won out over Chicago as a location for writer/director Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman entry, The Dark Knight Rises. Instead of shooting here, as originally announced, the movie will film in Detroit. Starting in May, it also will shoot in New Orleans, and two locations in the UK.”
Michigan has become a popular location to shoot recently, due to enticing tax incentives for filmmakers. Recently Tranformers: The Dark of the Moon, Scream 4, Real Steel and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas have all filmed there. The Dark Knight Rises may also shoot in Los Angeles and New York, but some shooting in Chicago has not been ruled out.
Chicago is a city with a population that is roughly 33 percent white and has a thriving economy compared to Detroit, a city without a major grocery store. Detroit has a population that is 90 percent Black, so one wonders what the title Dark Knight Rising actually means.
The fictional world of Nolan’s version of Batman have been breathtaking to look at, from the CGI of Batman Begins to the gripping cinematography in The Dark Knight that showcased the vitality of Chicago. The same can’t be said of Detroit, a city at war with itself as Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre showed in their depressing photo essay Detroit in Ruins.
Saving a buck in the economic downturn is one thing; trying to film a movie in a city where the Pontiac Silverdome sold for a few pennies above $500,000 is another.
Perhaps the third Batman will take the storyline from No Man’s Land, a Batman story arc telling the story of a massive earthquake devastating Gotham. It’s obvious that Detroit represents a city that would need little CGI to showcase that devastation.
As we have learned with Hurricane Katrina, the No Man’s Land story makes sense in Detroit, since explaining where all the white people in Gotham went wouldn’t be necessary.
One hopes Christian Bale remembers some of his earlier roles in dealing with thecities inhabitants.
Detroit is truly No Man’s land and it is our hope that The Dark Knight Rises uses this storyline to help explain the move from stormy, husky, brawling intimidating Chicago to gloomy, destitute Detroit.
Perhaps Nolan is trying to set a dramatic example for us by filming in Detroit, for we know that is all that will shake people from their apathy.