While we’re still reeling from the news of the Batman and Robin split, we’ve been reminded of another Batman villain who also had a rocky relationship with the Dark Knight: the Riddler.
The enigmatic villain has returned in all his classic black and white glory for the new movie, The Riddler. Starring Robert Pattinson, the film tells the story of a brilliant but deadly con man who concocts a sinister plot to challenge Batman’s (Pattinson) tenacity and prove his guilt. Can the Dark Knight overcome the fiendish puzzles and defeat the Riddler?
Here to tell you all about the new The Riddler movie is senior editor Kate Taylor. She’s been a movie buff for as long as she can remember, and to this day still spends most of her time watching films. So it’s only natural that she’d become slightly obsessed with the Batman universe, as it were. Nowadays, not only does she watch films regularly, but she frequently writes about them as well. When she’s not consuming Hollywood’s latest offerings, you can find her scouring the world for film-related content. She also loves a good trivia question so feel free to ask her anything about movie history.
The Joker and The Riddler: Two Of Batman’s Greatest Villains
When you think of Batman, there are two cinematic figures that always come to mind. The first is the Joker, and the second is the Riddler. Together, these two colorful characters represent everything that is unique and interesting about the Dark Knight.
From the very beginning, the Joker and the Riddler were intended to be epic nemeses that would fight each other many times over. This rivalry was established in the 1950s animated series, which was based on the Golden Age of comics and featured the voices of some of Hollywood’s greatest actors. In the comics, the Joker and the Riddler are two of Batman’s greatest villains, routinely causing problems for the Dark Knight.
The Joker is one of the most recognizable villains in cinematic history. He had a massive impact on the character, lending his unique charisma and brilliant mind to the character of Batman’s greatest enemy. The Clown Prince of Crime is responsible for all the whimsical murders we’ve come to associate with him in pop culture. He has also been known to be the inspiration for some of cinema’s greatest comedic performances. If you’ve never heard of the Joker, then you truly have never watched a superhero movie.
Although he typically appears as a solo act, the Joker is very often seen with two main accomplices: Harley Quinn and the Penguin. Quinn is the Joker’s revolving door lover who helps him with his mischief. The Penguin is one of the world’s most recognizable comic book characters. Ornithologists believe that his distinctive yellow and black coloring is inspired by the African Penguin. In the movies, the Penguin is mostly known for his hilarious reactions to whatever’s going on around him.
The Riddler is another iconic villain belonging to the Batman universe. Nicknamed ‘the world’s greatest detective’, he had a lengthy career in the 1940s and ’50s comic books. He was the mastermind of numerous capers and the subject of countless mysteries. The Riddler’s cunning and penchant for trickery made him a menace throughout the Golden Age of comics.
The character was brought to life in the 1960s TV series. In it, Jeremy Brett played the role of the Riddler, a character who was very different from his original counterpart. This updated version of the Riddler was much more of a puzzle-solving mastermind who utilized gadgets and hi-tech equipment in order to catch his prey. While this incarnation of the character proved to be very popular, it was still considered a far cry from the original vision of the Riddler.
The Joker and the Riddler represent the two polar opposite poles of the Batman villain archetype. While the Joker is responsible for all the murders and mayhem we’ve come to associate with the Dark Knight, the Riddler is actually an agent of good who sets out to capture criminals and expose them. This duality is what makes the Batman universe so fascinating and unique, and helped establish these two villains as fan favorites.
The New ‘The Riddler’
The new The Riddler is full of twists and turns that will surprise even the most seasoned Batman fans. The plot is mostly driven by Robert Pattinson’s character, a brilliant but deadly con man named Cedric Cebulski. We’re introduced to a very different version of the Riddler, one who decides to right wrongs and set things right. His crusade to do so starts with a challenge to Batman’s (Pattinson’s) tenacity: he sets up a series of puzzles for the Dark Knight to solve, all related to a common theme. The movie is called ‘The Riddler’ because the main character actually solves the puzzles in the end, bringing Batman one step closer to justice. But that’s not all there is to the story. Other Batman villains crop up here and there with the Riddler as an ally, further complicating the story and keeping it fresh for any discerning movie buff.
From Pennyworth To Alderney: Where Have We Spent The Past Years?
A big part of the fun of The Riddler is following the various links that the movie throws at you and trying to figure out where the story could potentially lead. One of the first hints that this is a different kind of Riddler is when we’re introduced to the various places and landmarks that he has visited over the years. Many of them have some sort of connection to the Golden Age of comics or the original Riddler. For example, we’re told that he spent a summer in Alderney, which is the setting for the original ‘Black Pirate’ story published in the 1950s.
This connection doesn’t end there. The name of the movie is an allusion to the famous riddle, “What is the source of all sources?” The clue to solving this riddle is that the answer is ‘self’. So the source of all sources is self. Clever, right?
A Character-Driven Plot
A defining characteristic of the new ‘The Riddler’ is that it is a character-driven story. The movie actually spends more time focusing on the development of its characters and the tension between them, rather than the crimes they commit or the explosions they cause. This is a marked departure from most superhero films, which tend to feature large amounts of battle scenes and set-pieces that get resolved in the final reel. Fans of Batman will especially appreciate this change, as it empowers the story to dig deeper and explore more character moments. It is also a change that will likely draw in and engage a completely new audience.
A Familiar Face In A New Form
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Riddler is its casting. With the exception of a few iconic characters, most of the major roles are played by character actors and cameos. Veteran character actor Joe Pantoliano plays the role of a cab driver, for example, who is the only character to speak in the entire film. The rest of the cast, while fine, are not exactly known for their spectacular acting credentials. This is a very different approach for a major motion picture, but one that lends itself perfectly to developing interesting characters and keeping the story fresh and interesting.
Pennyworth, the titular home of Batman’s butler, also makes an appearance in the movie. The estate is the perfect example of the grand but simple style of English country living. It was inspired by the legendary English butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Mr. Pennyworth is played by the legendary English actor Richard Attenborough. If you’ve never heard of Alfred Pennyworth or Mr. Pennyworth, then you’ve most likely never seen or heard of Batman.
Another interesting aspect of the movie is how it handles the relationship between Batman and his trusted lieutenant, Harley Quinn (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt). There is certainly a history between these two, dating back to the 1960s, but it’s never been depicted on the big screen before now. The new movie does an excellent job of developing this complex relationship and showing us a side of Batman that we’ve never seen before. And what’s more, it does so in a way that is not entirely based on formula, which is a bold and interesting move. Ultimately, this is a movie that will make you cheer for Batman, even if you’re not familiar with the character. His allies are quite literally the coolest humans imaginable, and these cool humans are on a quest to save humanity as we know it.