Batman: Arkham City is a game that I finally got around to playing and – a few days after starting – beating. I kinda loved it. There was a ton to do even outside the main storyline, the Rogue Gallery was out in full force, and you got to play around with all those funky bat-gadgets. Sure, there were some control niggles and just figuring out how to get out of the sewers took me over half an hour, but overall… would recommend. A-.
There’s one thing I can’t get over, though. Batman, the hero/protagonist/good guy of our tale, is the GRUMPIEST cat this side of Grumpy Cat (who actually appears quite happy when still shots aren’t taken out of context). The one time he tells a joke (after being saved by Catwoman) was something like, “Thanks. I think I broke a nail back there,” and it was delivered with more acid than many of the harshest insults I’ve ever heard. Luckily, Catwoman quickly shuts that down: “Leave the one-liners to me.” So maybe it’s not that Batman doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s just that his sidekicks won’t let him have a sense of humor…?
No, no, no. One glimpse of how he treats Robin when he shows up to help proves that ol’ Brucie boy isn’t a comedian trapped in a jerk’s body. He’s just a jerk. And yeah, I know your parents died, and the people you’re supposed to be protecting are dying all around you, and YOU are currently in the process of dying, but that’s no reason to be such a grumpy-puss.
Ever since those Nolan movies – no, even farther back… Ever since they made Joker super evil back in the 80’s, there’s been this grimdark kick going around the Batman universe. Whereas The Avengers showed how to make a fun, action-packed super hero movie with lots of funny banter and good guys saving the day, Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight showed how a comic book movie can be affecting in severely different ways. However, if those movies were both made into video games, wouldn’t the Avengers game sound like more “fun” in the literal sense? There’ve been some lighter moments (Batman Forever! Brave and the Bold!), but this Batman… angry, snappy, downright mean… in a less interesting game, he could sink the whole ship by himself.
I’m a Deadpool guy, and an amateur stand-up comic. I like light; I like fun. Arkham City‘s Batman is neither of these. He’s just in Arkham to get stuff done, and always by his own personal, uncompromising code. (DON’T joke about it.) It’s the same problem I have with Dexter. I don’t mind if you base a TV show about a serial killer that only kills other serial killers, but at least have him deliver some pithy one-liners while he’s doing it.
That’s why, when I heard about the new Batman game, Arkham Origins, coming out this October with a Silver Age slant, I was excited (recent screenshots, however, indicate that this is probably not the case). Combine this with the Adam West-based Batman ’66 comic coming out this summer and you have a lot of potential for fun! Humor! Ka-POW! On the other side of the spectrum, however, the big studio execs just gave every single future DC movie to Christopher Nolan and killed off Robin in the comic books. So the dark stuff won’t be ending any time soon.
It’s just… it wouldn’t kill you to smile once in a while, Batman. Especially when I’m pretending you be you for 20 hours. The Joker seems like he’s having a blast, and his face looks not entirely unlike ground beef throughout the whole game.