The Batman 2’s Joker & Riddler Team-Up Tease May Be Too Much
The Batman’s ending teased a Joker and Ridler team-up for the sequel, but that may be too much for The Batman 2 to pull off. While The Batman introduces a new, younger version of the caped crusader, the Matt Reeves film is not an origin story. Instead, The Batman follows a “year two” Batman, which allowed the film to feature or at least tease several of Batman’s rogues. Compared to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy or the DCU’s Batman, The Batman established a larger universe of characters with one film only. However, as exciting as having Batman’s rogues gallery on the big screen would be, nailing a Joker and Riddler team-up won’t be easy.
Throughout the comics and the 1966 Batman series, the Riddler and the Joker have teamed up to take on Batman several times. However, having both Riddler and the Joker as the main villains in The Batman sequel is far more challenging, as both characters can often steal each other’s show. No villain or storyline has been confirmed for The Batman 2, but the tease at the end of The Batman strongly suggests that Riddler and Joker will team up at some point. The Batman’s Joker still isn’t the Joker according to actor Barry Keoghan (via GQ), but the link between two of Batman’s greatest foes has already been formed.
The Batman Sets Up Joker & Riddler Working Together
Almost 30 years after Batman Forever, the Riddler returned to the big screen now reimagined as a Zodiac killer type of villain. Neither the iconic line “riddle me this” nor the green jumpsuit were part of Paul Dano’s Riddler iteration, which fits into The Batman’s more realistic world. Based on how grounded The Batman’s versions of Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin all were, it is safe to say Barry Keoghan’s Joker will also be a more realistic take on the Clown Prince of Crime. While the best look at Barry Keoghan’s Joker came from a deleted scene that may not even be considered canon, The Batman’s ending did enough to set up this universe’s Joker.
Barry Keoghan is not credited as the Joker in The Batman and the actor’s face is barely seen, but the movie makes no mystery that Riddler’s new Arkham friend is the iconic clown. The Batman’s ending establishes that the Joker, or at least the person who will become the Joker, is already in Arkham – probably thanks to Batman. There is an instant bond between Riddler and the Joker, and for a moment The Batman forgets its more serious tone and embraces the chaotic dynamic of two of Batman’s most famous villains. Not much is revealed about Keoghan’s Joker in the scene except that he is proud of the Riddler’s feats.
The Riddler’s plan may have failed thanks to Batman’s unbreakable spirit, but the villain did leave his mark on Gotham. The imprisoned Joker appears to be a fan of what the Riddler accomplished in Gotham in so little time, which makes sense considering that unleashing a flood in Gotham is something the Joker would probably do. The Batman’s deleted Joker scene reveals that the Joker studied Riddler’s crimes at Batman’s request and that the Arkham inmate quickly concluded what was behind the serial killer’s intentions. With the two now living in the same Arkham corridor, The Batman sets up a Joker and Riddler team-up in which both villains are dangerously smart.
Keoghan’s Joker & Dano’s Riddler Might Be Too Much For One Movie
The Batman’s Riddler and Joker scene is intense compared to the rest of the movie, which works for a single scene but may be too much for an entire film. While most Batman movies feature more than one villain, the idea of two or more antagonists teaming up to defeat Batman is often associated with more silly, less serious takes on the character. For example, Adam West’s Batman (1966) sees Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, and the Penguin teaming up to destroy Batman in a movie where the villains primarily set the tone. Batman Forever, which sees Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tomy Lee Jones’ Two-Face competing to see who is the more chaotic villain, is another example.
Although The Batman 2 would hardly make the same mistakes as Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, having two A-list Batman villains played by exceptional actors in the same movie is risky. That bold combination can lead to great films such as Batman Returns and The Dark Knight, yet it can also lead to a Batman Forever scenario in which Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones end up overshadowing anything else the film had to offer. Recently, Dark Knight trilogy Batman actor Christian Bale pointed out how Batman’s villains can often be more appealing than Batman himself, which is a challenge for Batman films.
How Joker & Riddler’s Team-up Can Work After The Batman
Perhaps the best way for The Batman’s universe to pay off its Joker and Riddler team-up tease is saving it for the third movie. While The Batman’s ending sets up a No Man’s Land type of Gotham in which Batman’s rogues gallery can thrive, The Batman 2 is still too soon for a Riddler and Joker team up. An argument can be made that The Batman 2′s main villain should not be the Joker, let alone the Joker teamed up with Riddler. Instead, The Batman 2 can explore several other Batman villains who never had a chance on the big screen, such as Hush or the Court of Owls.
That considered, The Batman set up a larger enough universe for the sequel to explore more than just one villain. In the comics, a Batman adventure often involves several rogues, many of which have small roles. That is something The Batman 2 can incorporate now that the first film has introduced four major Batman antagonists. For example, Batman could interact with Riddler and Joker in Arkham while investigating a completely different case. That would make The Batman’s universe feel even richer, and it would honor Batman’s rogues gallery comic book trope that the Batman movies have for the most part ignored.
From Burton’s Batman to Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Batman’s solo movies have played out in a very episodic way. Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow was the only Batman villain to appear in three successive movies, and that is something The Batman’s sequels can change thanks to characters like Joker and Riddler. Those two could be recurring characters in the world of The Batman, gradually building up to a movie in which Batman would have to face both the Joker and the Riddler. Another possibility is having Joker outside of Arkham in a more Joker-centered story first and teaming up with the Riddler later.
Finally, an interesting way to have both Riddler and Joker as main characters in The Batman 2 or The Batman 3 would be to adapt DC Comics’ Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles. Instead of a traditional team-up, The War of Jokes and Riddle saw the Batman villains competing for the soul of Gotham. Two characters with similar intelligence and resources, Riddler and Joker made Gotham into their battlefield. Even if The Batman’s sequels do not adapt that particular storyline, having Batman caught up in the middle of a war between Joker and Riddler can work even better than just a simple team-up.
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