The Batman’s distancing from the rest of the DCEU brings interesting possibilities, amongst them catching an elusive real-life killer.
By Raul Velasquez
Published 14 hours ago
Although Warner Bros. may still be dealing with the repercussions of passing on the chance to continue working on the Snyderverse, the studio still has a big non-DCEU project to look forward to next year with The Batman. As leaks and official updates start to come out, it¨s becoming more obvious why Robert Pattinson¨s debut as Batman simply can¨t coexist with the rest of DC¨s heroes.
The Batman¨s 2022 promo calendar revealed not only Pattinson¨s first clear image as Bruce Wayne, but it also showed early images of Paul Dano¨s Riddler, who¨s looking nothing like the Edward Nigma fans had come to know. Perhaps the biggest reason for the Riddler to get such an extreme makeover lies with director Matt Reeves¨ decision to veer Batman towards an even more realistic territory than what Christopher Nolan achieved with his own Dark Knight Trilogy.
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Reeves’ reasoning behind this comes not only from the dark source material chosen for The Batman, but also due to the fact that the movie is set to work as an origin story for most of the eccentric foes a young Bruce Wayne faced at the start of his vigilante career. That¨s probably why instead of the colorful and comical Riddler that has stuck around for so long, Dano¨s portrayal was quickly singled out by fans as something that clearly had to be inspired by the Zodiac Killer.
Since the late 60s and early 70s, the Zodiac killer became one of America¨s most notorious serial killers after committing several murders in the state of California, which to this day remain officially unsolved. Just like the Black Dahlia case played a small part in L.A. Noire¨s plot, pop culture has fully embraced the Zodiac killer with films like David?Fincher’s Zodiac, sporadic appearances in American Horror Story, and wild conspiracy theories during presidential campaigns.
Suffice to say, the Zodiac continues to fascinate media almost as if it were still 1971 and who better to solve such a mystery than the world¨s greatest detective, Batman. Aside from this new Riddler sharing a similar description to that given by surviving victims of the Zodiac killer and recreated by sketch artist, both criminals share a penchant for handing out cryptic clues to law enforcement, the single trait Dano admitted may be all that¨s left of the old Riddler in The Batman.
Considering the other two villains are The Penguin and Carmine Falcone, plus a young aspiring Catwoman, it¨s clear Reeves is looking to fill Gotham City with the kinds of crimes that are not foreign to the real world, hence why a Zodiac Riddler fits better with the tone of the film than a Jim Carrey type of performance. This is something Nolan pulled off masterfully with his Scarecrow, Harvey Dent, League of Shadows, and of course, the Joker.
The Batman¨s trailer already shows a Riddler that¨s more about the actual killing rather than having it all be about the fun and games he has with Gotham, so in all likeliness, his cat and mouse game with Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon will probably leave a more prolific murderous spree that exceeds anything seen before in a Batman movie, let alone that of the real Zodiac. This is why he¨s the perfect villain for a film that early on looks more about detective work, rather than Batman just punching his way through everything like Ben Affleck would do.
One thing, however, is that this realistic Batman world would deprive Reeves¨ film and any direct sequels from is using more over-the-top villains like Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, and Clayface, just to name a few, because their superpowered nature would simply clash with the rest of the world that surround them. On the bright side, Nolan¨s movies proved that in order to build one of the greatest villains of all time, superpowers or the lack of them are definitely something directors and audiences are willing to overlook, as long as the rest of their character arc makes them somewhat redeemable or simply psychopathic enough to bring out something different to Batman.
Gone are Frank Gorshin’s Riddler from the 60s, Jim Carrey’s spandex-clad villain from Batman Forever, and?Gotham’s Ed?Nygma.?The Batman’s approach wants to bring something so new to the franchise that writers had to go get a serial killer from which to borrow inspiration. In doing so, Reeves and company have managed to turn of one the world’s most silly villains into an absolute force?to be dealt with.
It’s far from certain this formula could work well enough for The Batman, yet the risk seems worth it. After all,?the Zodiac killer continues to be an incredibly popular crime story and already wore an outfit that wouldn’t be misplaced?among the Rogues’ Gallery, so welcoming to Gotham seems like the next move for a harrowing story before the Riddler winds up in Arkham Asylum again. If it ends up failing then Zack Snyder can keep telling?off Warner Bros. during his late-night appearances.
The Batman is currently scheduled for release on March 4, 2022.
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