This blog is dedicated to analyzing the color schemes and palettes in the live action Batman Trilogy (2005-2012) and the Batman Arkham video game trilogy (2009-2015). This blog studies "Movie Barcodes" from the source material and divides those barcodes into color palettes. The color palettes from each work will be studied, compared, and contrasted.
The Dark Knight Trilogy is widely viewed as one of the most critically acclaimed live action Batman Film Series ever made. All three films dominated the box office, and breathed life back into the Batman franchise, garnering new interest for comics involving the Dark Knight.
A Movie Barcode involves compressing frames of a film into one image, resulting in a Barcode like image. These images allow people to see the presence of color in the films and overall tone of the films. Barcodes have been popular in analysis of several types of media including the popular TV series Breaking Bad.
Below is a barcode for the entire Dark Knight Trilogy acquired from the movie barcode tumblr. You can see the blues and the autumnal tones from Batman Begins in the first third of the bar. In the second third of the bar, there are more flashes of bright colors including white and red, which are part of the joker's color scheme. In final third of the image, we see a darker, more muted color scheme that fits with Bane's color scheme and the altogether darker feeling of the third film.
But let's break things down a little more.
Here is the barcode for Batman Begins.
There are three defining features in this movie barcode that show key parts of the film. The blue in the beginning, which shows Bruce Wayne's training with Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassins in the snowy mountains. The surprising thing about the scenes where Bruce trains with the League is that they're actually tinted to appear more blue than white.
The second key feature we see are the colors towards the end of the film. There are a lot of oranges and browns. In fact they're almost autumnal in hue, announcing no one else, other than scarecrow. The use of the oranges shows the seasonal associations that come with Scarecrow's character and balance out the blue we see in the first part of the film.
And of course, the third key feature we see is the obvious darkness throughout. Batman is known as the Dark Knight for a reason, and the barcode shows just how dark the film's color scheme is. Which is further proven below with the color palette generated for the film
In the color palette we see generated for the film, we see that the dark colors indeed take over. But we also see an orange tinted black and a dark blue color featured in the dominant colors in the film, showing the importance of Bruce's League of Assassins training and the important presence of the villain Scarecrow.
The Dark Knight could easily be considered as one of the best Batman Films to date. The color scheme in the Dark Knight is also one of the more colorful in the trilogy.
There are a few dominating colors that we see from looking at the barcode for the Dark Knight, we see a lot of white, red, and green, the main colors of the joker. Whether or not it's intentional, the presence of the joker's colors in the overall color themes in the film show how big his presence was in the Dark Knight.
Despite the colors in the barcode for the film, the main colors we see in the color palette generated for the film are varying shades of black, white, and gray. This is more representative of the film's "The hero becomes the villain" themes. The color palette for the film has less of a presence of the Joker and more of a presence of the gray area between the black and white morality we often times see in films.
The Final film in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy shows Batman in a dark place after the events of the Dark Knight. Probably the bleakest of the three films, it shows Gotham being taken over and threatened by Bane and forces Batman to retrain in order to defeat one less villain before a self sacrifice. It was Nolan's goodbye to the Batman saga after the massiveley successful Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight Rises has an interesting barcode in terms of how the trilogyended. The overall tone that most of the film has is bleak. Batman is retired and Gotham has beent taken over by a villain. The barcode reflects the darkness that leads up the the end of the film, and then the brightness as Batman takes up the cowl again and gives Gotham hope, ultimately saving Gotham. The film shows what all ending saga's show at their end, a dark climax, but a bright, hopeful ending with the promise of a good future.
Like The Dark Knight, the barcode for this film was much brighter than the color palette that was generated. The Dark Knight rises did have a darker tone that is accruately represented by the color palette we see above. The film shows Bruce Wayne in a darker state that eventurally leads to him retiring the cowl, but gives viewers hope for a new caped crusader in Gotham. While the Barcode shows more of the film's brighter moments, the color palette reflects the overall dark themes and tones yet again.
Following the success of the Dark Knight Trilogy, the Arkham Trilogy was a series of games where players fight off classic Batman villains. The game series was well praised for it's writing, voice acting, and gameplay. The goal of looking at the Arkham Trilogy was to compare the color schemes in a video game to the color schemes in the movie. I was expecting the games to have an overall darker color scheme, but I was actually surprised by the result. I would also like to note that I disregarded the Arkham: Origins game and instead chose to follow the games that followed the main timeline in the Arkham story. I also have not played all these games, I was mainly looking at them for color contrast in two different types of media.
Arkham Asylum follows Batman as he fights off the Joker in order to keep him from blowing up the Asylum and releasing its inmates into Gotham. With a good plot to introduce players into the world of Batman, Arkham Asylum was met with positive reviews from critics, getting a 92 from Metacritic.
One thing that's interesting to note about this barcode (and all the video game barcodes) is that there's a pale streak that runs slightly above the bottom, showing the subtitles from the game. The barcode has consistent dark tones with light tones and color throughout. Asylum's barcode features lots of splashes of green and red, matching the Joker's signature colors.
The bright variety of colors in Asylum's barcode aren't as well reflected in the color palette, which is taken over by black's and grays. We do see thatt there are green tinted grays and a bit of a light blue-gray.
Arkham City was a great sequel to Asylum, winning critical acclaim, and Game of the Year in 2011. The game used an open world layout, where the player was able to go wherver they wanted in the game within certain limits. It also had a variety of DLC. Arkham City has Batman fight a variety of villains including the Joker, Penguin, Clayface, and Ra's Al Ghul. The game continues to elaborate the plot in the Arkham Trilogy but doesn't fully elaborate on it, instead, letting Arkham Knight tackle the intricate plot that Arkham Asylum and Arkham City have set up.
Arkham City has a darker barcode than Asylum, but it also has lighter areas in it for longer sustained periods of time. The lighter areas are areas of the game where Batman fights Ra's Al Ghul in
Arkham City's color palette has some of the lightest shades in a Batman color palette so far, but the darker shades of gray dominate yet again. Arkham City has a darker tone, forcing Batman to work with a villain in order to beat them.
Arkham Knight is the highly praised finale to the Arkham game series. While it met issues with the PC release of the game, Arkham Knight had great gameplay (inculding the much praised open world gameplay from Arkham city). Taking on the plot of Death in the Family and Under the Red Hood and packed with DLC, Arkham Knight is one of the best Batman video games and arguably, the best in the Arkham series.
The longest of all the barcodes, and by far the most colorful, Arkham Knight probably had the most color diversity of them all. There were a few things that contributed to this. One was the legnth of the game movie. With all the DLC in the game, the shortest game movie that was available on youtube was four and a half hours long. The wide color spectrum matches the variety of enemies Batman fights in the game and the varied tonality of the plot throught the game.
This color palette is probably one of the most colorfully diverse of all the media looked at in this blog. Arkham Knight was packed full of color, content, and plot, and the color palette accurately reflects this.The use of blue and orange (colors opposite of each other on the spectrum) show how wide the colors vary during the game. And of course, the black shows us that this is, of course, a Batman game.
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