Matt Reeves’ The Batman will feature some big villains from Batman’s universe, but the one set to be the main antagonist is The Riddler – and in the trailer, he’s briefly seen borrowing a trick from The Dark Knight’s Joker. The superhero genre hasn’t lost any force and continues to be very popular with viewers, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe continue to dominate this realm. However, the DCEU has had to go through some major changes, and some characters are even branching out to universes separate from it, as is the case of Batman.
After Ben Affleck’s Batman failed to connect with the audience in Batman v Superman and Justice League, Warner Bros. decided to give the Caped Crusader another chance but in a world outside the DCEU. Directed by Matt Reeves and now with Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, The Batman will serve as a reboot of the Batman movie franchise and will follow a younger Bruce Wayne in his second year as detective and vigilante in Gotham City. The Batman will also feature some notable villains from DC Comics: Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and Edward Nashton/Riddler (Paul Dano), the latter being the one serving as the main antagonist.
The teaser and trailer for The Batman have focused heavily on the Riddler but without revealing much about him, including his face, which has been hidden or obscured so far. As a result, there have been a number of fan theories on what the Riddler’s plans are about and his connection with Bruce Wayne, as he has been shown directly targeting him, suggesting he knows that Bruce and Batman are one and the same. The teaser and trailer have given the audience a good taste of the type of villain the Riddler will be and the overall tone of the movie, and there’s one brief scene in The Batman trailer that sees the Riddler using one of The Dark Knight’s Joker’s tricks but with a modern twist.
The Batman trailer includes a scene showing a TV screen broadcasting the news, and they’re all about the Riddler’s actions, as he decided to livestream his latest crimes. In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the Joker (Heath Ledger) did something similar when he held a Batman impersonator hostage and made a video about it, which was later shown on the news. The Joker used this video to show what Batman has done to Gotham and its citizens and to push the Caped Crusader to take off his mask and turn himself in to restore some order, and every day he didn’t, people would die. The Batman’s Riddler is going after corrupt officials (as seen in the teaser, where he killed Mayor Don Mitchell Jr), and a livestream is a modern twist to the Joker’s hostage video trick. This also shows how ruthless this version of the Riddler is, and how far he can go to get his message across and spread fear in Gotham.
Whether this was intentional or just a coincidence is unknown, but it wouldn’t be surprising if The Batman has some references to past Batman movies or if it took inspiration from them for certain scenes and moments. The Riddler and the Joker having similar ways to terrorize Gotham talks volumes about Dano’s character in The Batman, who could be at the level of Ledger’s Joker in terms of genius, evil, and chaos.