Howdy howdy, my fiendish friends! I have returned once again with another character breakdown. This one is all about the Riddler from the newest DC movie; The Batman. This will be pretty heavy in the spoiler territory, so don't read it if you plan on seeing the movie blind. Or do; I'm not your dad.
Anyway, for those who are sticking around:
This is the Riddler's first movie debut since the Jim Carrey version back with Bat-nipples. The Carrey version is everything you'd expect out of the actor; campy, insane in a silly way, boasterous, you know all that stuff.
This ain't the same Riddler. This Riddler is much darker and more insane in the horror movie aspect. In fact, if this movie just tweaked a little, it could probably be rebranded as a Batman horror movie. But let's keep that door closed for now, otherwise this post will get off track pretty fast.
The Riddler is an interesting character. He gives off major Jigsaw vibes in the beginning; what with the puzzles that will kill people and all. He's very precise when it comes to the puzzles (as expected) but not much else. He doesn't get the motives of other people. In this case, he doesn't get the motive of Batman and assumes they're both playing the same game.
He was not happy to find out he was wrong about that one.
But this movie had a very good framing of the villain being the hero's fun-house mirror. Both characters were labeled as orphans, both use the tragedy of their childhoods to justify their actions, both are highly intelligent. And both focus on the corrupt and the criminals, all while wearing a mask to be who they truly are deep down. There is only one main difference and that falls into financial privilege.
I don't know if you know this but Bruce Wayne is rich. Like, has enough money to fuel his insane lifestyle choices while also still having hush money levels of rich. I know....shocking. His parents also funded the orphanage where Riddler grew up. And, knowing this, the Riddler was not happy to be in Wayne's shadow after Martha and Thomas were killed. Rightfully so, considering the orphanage was not exactly well funded, especially after the deaths.
And this here breeds resentment. A poor child who fell through the system's cracks and became worse because of it. A story of a villain being one of the first victims. It's a common beat to a really fucked up song. And in the end? You get an adult too deranged to see the amount of fucked they are causing in attempt to unfuck the world.
Do I agree with his methods? No, absolutely not. Do I see how he could get to the conclusion? Yeah, absolutely.
He may be completely bonkers, but you can kind of understand where he's coming from. He was someone society ignored and allowed to fall in a world where the rich just keep getting richer and more corrupt while everyone else is either doing horrible things to make a living, or the victims of either the rich or said criminals.
It also kind of helps with both the empathy and the creepy aspect that he is kinda baby-faced. He looks like someone you wouldn't immediately suspect of cruel and complex plans. That person who was “so sweet” or “just a quiet guy.”
And that always makes it worse. When it's the face of someone you could see on the streets without thinking twice, it reminds you that monsters can be anywhere. They don't usually give themselves away.
A story is only ever as good as its villain. It's a sentiment I will always hold onto. This Batman had a great villain. It was really nice to see the Riddler being something actually scary. Because, let's be honest, very few things are scarier than a puzzle that has not been solved.
But! That is the end for today. Hope you all enjoyed this movie as much as we did here. We'll probably be talking about it for another month or so. But until next time!
Fare thee well!