The Real Tragedy of Arkham Knight

I reviewed the game on my other blog earlier this week. It was satisfying in its conclusion, for its gameplay (batmobile controls aside) and for pretty much bringing the epic series to a natural end resulting in the unveiling of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Yet there is tragedy in the game – and I don’t mean the (supposed) death of Bruce Wayne and the destruction of Wayne Manor. Nor do I mean the slow way in which he is becoming the Joker due to the injection of infected blood in previous generation title Arkham City.

I don’t even mean the revelation of the identity of the Arkham Knight and Batman’s own complicity in the creation of the persona for the character. No, I mean this very short scene starting at around 1:15.

In the instant of the reveal of the identity of Batman, we are hit with a cold reality about what is truly important to people.

“I don’t care who you are, [GESTURES AT TELEVISION SCREEN] but they will.” – Scarecrow

Batman has just saved Gotham again, this time from both the titular Arkham Knight, and in stopping Scarecrow from dispersing his fear toxin. He’s saved the eastern seaboard of the continental US. Yet for the public watching the news, on social media and elsewhere people are far less concerned about Batman’s safety, far less concerned about how he has saved Gotham time and time again, not concerned about the implication of the revelation of his identity and what it might do to him, to his family and their safety. In that instant all that matters is that the villain of the piece is about to show them who Batman really is.

And that is the real tragedy of the finale of the story of The Arkham Trilogy – how we treat people down with such glee, how the big scoop is the sensation of breaking a person’s need and desire for privacy, and not how this person is the hero of the hour. Scarecrow does not care who Batman is, but he knows why the revelation is important; he delights in watching the vultures swoop.

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