The League of Shadows has been around a long time (ref: http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/League_Of_Shadows). Its base is roughly halfway around the world from Gotham. However, it seems like they focus their anger on Gotham.

I can't think of any mention (in the Dark Knight movie series anyway) of them attempting to destroy other cities. Yet, in Batman Begins they try to take Gotham down; and in Dark Knight Rises Miranda specifically says she is finishing her father's work.

So: is there really a focus on Gotham, and if so, why? Is there an explanation in the movies or comic books?

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    How many real world villains target New York? For some reason that place attracts the criminal mind.
    – Chad
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:31
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    Don't forget, they wanted to take revenge from Bruce too.. Nov 21, 2012 at 16:04

3 Answers 3


In Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul gives this explanation after training Bruce and preparing him to return to Gotham:

As Gotham's favored son you will be ideally placed to strike at the heart of criminality... Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries.

And later on when the two face each other once again, he says:

The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome. Loaded trade ships with plague rats. Burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence we return to restore the balance.

Gotham, it would appear, epitomizes everything that is wrong with western civilization in the eyes of the League of Shadows: "suffering... injustice... corruption... decadence." It's a symbol, a hub that they intend to destroy so that some degree of balance may be restored to society.

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    It's interesting to consider...I think that Bane and Ra's al Ghul ultimately succeeded in their aim, but in a way that didn't require the absolute destruction of Gotham. The corrupt political structure has been entirely swept away, and the city has a new foundation myth to draw strength and wisdom from. The scene with the cops racing into gunfire gave me chills (like it was supposed to). Aug 7, 2012 at 14:03
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    “Burned London to the ground” my arse, Liam. Dec 14, 2013 at 11:35

At least in this continuity Gotham somehow stands out from other cities.

From the transcript:

Ra's al Ghul / Ducard:

Tomorrow the world will watch in horror as its greatest city destroys itself.


Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence we return to restore the balance.


You're defending a city so corrupt we have infiltrated every level of its infrastructure.

Somehow (perhaps due to corruption) the city stands out as an example. Maybe it is because everyone knows everyone in the city is crooked, and yet no one does anything about it.

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    The fact that the League let Moscow stand speakes tons about their lack of clue. Dec 15, 2013 at 17:52

Gotham, specifically the central town was the burial ground of an evil Warlock in ancient times, they say his evil seeped through the earth reaching ground of Gotham city to poison it with the warlock's evil essence, Warlock came into a new being called Doctor Gotham


I havent made connections between Doctor Gotham and the League of Shadows but i believe Batman or the Dark Knight knows of this. I believe he see gotham as innocent and killing the people wont bring back the intended peace, there has to be a reserve way to fight this evil, this is why he is the saviour of Gotham

Perhaps further installments in the Dark Knight Saga will lighten this part of the story

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    I don't think that the supernatural approach fits well (or at all) in Nolan's Batman trilogy.
    – Kreann
    Sep 5, 2014 at 13:53

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