The Batman feels right at home with some of the greatest detective noir films such as Seven and Zodiac. The twisted plot of The Riddler can be difficult to follow, but as with any great detective story: once all the pieces come together, the whole picture is very satisfying.
The film is jam-packed with enough detail and references to fill an entire cave. It would be foolish to expect anyone to notice every detail on a first – or even a second – watch. Some of them have fans speculating about what’s next, and some are completing the mystery. Every detail makes you watch The Batman even more pleasant.
The Riddler… or the Zodiac Killer?
In several interviews, the director Matt Reeves revealed how The Riddler character is inspired by the real-life serial killer: The Zodiac Killer. For example, The Riddler’s costume is based on eyewitness accounts from the Zodiac. There are a few other details that were only picked up by eagle-eyed viewers.
The Riddler’s cipher is very similar to that used by the real killer. Even more interestingly, the first card addressed to The Batman is a parody of a card the real Zodiac Killer sent to the police. The Riddler’s card features a cat with the words “from your secret friend”. The Zodiac also sent a card from a cat, but this one said, “From your secret friend.” This detail makes Paul Dano’s chilling performance even more disturbing.
The Riddler in plain sight
The Riddler seems to be all over Gotham and always one step ahead of Batman. Part of the film’s scare comes from his appearances taunting The Dark Knight from face-to-face calls or hiding in the shadows.
However, there is one appearance by the villain that has eluded most audience members. In the wide shot of the streets of Gotham outside the Iceberg Lounge as Batman and Catwoman leave, The Riddler can be seen in his apartment window, apparently taking pictures. Absolutely scary.
HUSH: one of the bat’s greatest adventures
There are many references to Batman comic book stories, but two are the most important. The first is a nod to “The Long Halloween” (1996), where Batman hunts down a murderer known as Holiday (funny because he only kills on Holidays). The first murder takes place on Halloween in the comic – hence the title – as does the Riddler’s first murder in the film.
The projected video of Riddler in the abandoned orphanage is the most glaring reference. The video features the name of a doctor named Edward Elliot, the grandfather of Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend Thomas Elliot. In the comics, Thomas Elliot became a bandaged villain named HUSH. This reference is brought home when the word HUSH is pasted on the video.
It’s Batman’s brain on Venom. Questions?
During the film’s climax, Batman is shot in the chest by one of Riddler’s followers and is unable to move. When Catwoman is attacked, Bruce pulls out a suspicious green tube and injects it into his leg, giving him a burst of strength and energy, which he uses to pounce on the goon and smash him to a pulp.
Some viewers assumed this fluid was simply a modified steroid concocted by The Dark Knight, but the detail of the vile being green seems too specific not to be Venom: an addictive drug in the comics used to increase strength and madness. . Venom is canonically what beloved villain Bane uses to keep himself alive and kicking. Before that, he was introduced in “Batman Venom” (1993), where Bruce was seen struggling with an addiction. Could either of these plot points be used in a sequel?
Not the first time Batman was on Vengeance
The line “I am Vengeance” was the catchphrase for this film. It may seem unique to Robert Patterson’s iteration of the hero, but the line references Batman: The Animated Series. In episode 3 of the first season, Batman says, “I am Vengeance. I am the night. I…am…Batman!”
This iconic line was a defining moment in the animated series for the caped crusader; likewise, the central theme of The Batman revolves around the idea of revenge, so the line takes on a whole new meaning in this story.
Holy Secret Entrances, Batman!
This one is a deeper cut. Fans of the 1966 live-action Batman show remember the classic bust of william shakespeare this doubled as the passage to the secret entrance to the Bat Cave. While the grounded and dark themes of Matt Reeves Batman have no connection to the goofy and light tones of the 1966 show, there is a small connection between them.
A similar bust of Shakespeare can be found on the first floor of Wayne Manor in the new film. Although Bruce or Alfred are never seen raising their heads, fans may find some solace in the thought that the bust may still be the switch to a secret entrance. Without further proof who can say?
The mystery of the end credits
Fans who stuck around until the end of the credits were disappointed by the lack of an actual final scene. All that’s there is a close-up of The Riddler’s computer with the phrase “Goodbye” and a flash of a website: Rataalada.com. What mystery awaits those who have the courage to visit the site?
It turns out that nothing more. The website has been up for months, slowly releasing Riddler’s numbers. These ciphers have given the community clues to understanding almost the entire Cipher alphabet; the only missing letter is ‘J’. Fans seem to think this is a Joker reference, but his short appearance in the film makes this detail an unnecessary tease. The only other thing found on the website is a download of the video Riddler plays for Batman in the orphanage.
A weight removed from the chest of the bat
The most crucial detail of the theme of The Batman slipped by apparently everyone. Although never stated in the film itself, Matt Reeves recorded that Batman’s chest plate is welded from the same gun used to kill his parents. This sad detail plays into Batman’s character arch for the selfish revenge wrestling film.
The beginning of the film shows Bruce as a slave to revenge. He literally keeps his parents’ murder close to his heart in the form of the chest plate. At the film’s climax, he uses the chest plate as a knife to cut an electrical wire; he electrocutes himself and loses the plate. The last scenes of the film keep this continuity of the chest plate missing from the Bat suit. This detail seems too much on the nose not to be intentional. By the end of the film, Batman has let go of his vengeful spirit to become the hero Gotham needs. giving up and losing his chest plate symbolizes his character change. What a great way to end the movie.
NEXT: How Long Was The Riddler’s Plan In The Works
Another weird sketch from the SNL comedy trio.
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