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8 Reasons Why The Riddler in Batman 3 Would Be a Bad Idea

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Edward Nigma, we think, might be a looney too far for Christopher Nolan's next Batman outing...

Not...yet...

On April 30, Warner Brothers announced that an official release date for Batman 3 (working title) has been set at July 20, 2012. For eager Batman fans, this pretty much begins a two-year countdown until Christopher Nolan’s remarkable world of Gotham revisits the big screen. As the Caped Crusader’s franchise is arguably the most successful comic book set to film in recent years, there has been the requisite flurry of fanboy arguments over who would be a great villain for Christian Bale’s third and final act as Batman. One villain that has been strongly lobbied for as a possible opponent is Edward Nigma, better known as the Riddler, the evil and shrewd Silver Age genius.

Now just to be clear – I love the Riddler. I love the character. The ‘evil genius’ villain tends to be overdone in literature and cinema, but when it’s done right, it’s brilliant. The Riddler is done right. It’s no fluke that he’s universally agreed to be among the top four or five Batman villains ever among the hundreds of baddies that the Bat has tangled with over the decades. However, as great as the Riddler may be, here are eight reasons why Christopher Nolan would be smart in choosing otherwise for his Batman 3 antagonist.

Jim Carrey as The Riddler in 'Batman Forever' (1995)1. It’s Already Been Done…and Badly

In an apparent attempt to bring Batman back to its goofy Adam West roots, Joel Schumacher pit the Riddler against Batman in 1995’s abysmal Batman Forever (only outdone in awfulness by Schumacher’s next directing “effort” - Batman and Robin). Eschewing Mr. E. Nigma’s traditional brilliance and obsession to be the man to outwit Batman, Jim Carrey instead decided to play him as the long-lost Fourth Stooge. Sure, he was the only film villain to find and destroy the Batcave, but between spending all his time mugging for the camera and trying to fill all of Gotham with neon green question marks, the Riddler may have been ruined on the big screen in the process.

2. After The Dark Knight, A follow-up Riddler Movie Will Just Feel Like a ‘Joker-Lite’ Version

Anyone who considers themselves a fan of the latest Batman incarnation can generally agree that whoever follows Heath Ledger’s incredible turn as the Joker will have immensely huge shoes to fill. So would it be a good idea to pit Batman against an enemy who, to casual fans, will appear to be exactly like the Clown Prince of Crime? Both are apparent maniacal lunatics and delight in using mind games to get under Batman’s skin as opposed to beating him senseless. For those who haven’t followed the comics, the two are far too interchangeable. Casting the Riddler will have millions of moviegoers who don’t know his history asking “so, is this guy the Joker’s son or something?” What’s worse is that while the Joker is genuinely psychopathic, the Riddler is perhaps only at the level of an obsessive-compulsive egotist. One of the worst sins a popular franchise can commit is to appear to be treading water, or (an even larger sin) to regress in tension and scope. As much love as I have for the Riddler, featuring him now would unlikely be anything else but a step backwards.


"Casting the Riddler will have millions of moviegoers who don’t know his history asking “so, is this guy the Joker’s son or something?”"


3. Batman Needs A Villain Who Is a Physical Threat: The Riddler Isn’t That Guy

In Batman Begins, Ra’s Al Ghul pummeled Bruce Wayne quite a bit…until Wayne was fully trained. By the end of the film, Batman was far superior in both strength and training and made short work of his former mentor. Then there is the puny Scarecrow, who hasn’t a prayer in hand-to-hand combat against the Caped Crusader. In The Dark Knight, the Joker relied on goons and trickery to keep Batman off balance. The Nolan Batman has simply yet to encounter an enemy who has the capability to pound him into submission. There have been mental challenges aplenty, but little physical threat. And the Riddler would certainly have no chance to put Batman down for the count. In such an extensive rogues’ gallery as Batman has in the comic books, it would be odd for Batman 3 to contain yet another villain without the physical strength to stand toe-to-toe with Wayne. Not to sound sexist, but the fact that Nigma was once easily beaten in physical combat by Poison Ivy in the comics is all you need to know about his fighting prowess.

Now that's more like it.4. With Rachel Dawes dead, a Female Villain Would be a Better Choice

Perhaps the most tragic side effect of the Joker’s reign of terror in The Dark Knight was the death of Bruce Wayne’s lifelong sweetheart, Rachel Dawes. Now heartbroken and more alone than ever, the Bat could be particularly susceptible to mixed feelings for a female villain. Fans who foresee this turn of events have been vocal in their support of Catwoman making a return to the franchise. Carrying on a love/hate relationship for decades in the comic series, Batman and Catwoman have frequently alternated between near-death battles and romantic rendezvous. Such an opponent could be perfect for Batman at this stage of his “career”, at the end of his emotional rope and torn between growing feelings for the new woman in his life and his duty to rid Gotham City of crime.

5. The Riddler is Anti-Establishment, Not Anti-Outlaw

As shown in the closing moments of The Dark Knight, Batman will likely begin his time in Batman 3 as an outlaw and outcast. The Batcave is ruined, Wayne Manor destroyed. He has framed himself for the murder of Harvey Dent to preserve Dent’s reputation. In short, his life as both Wayne and Batman will be a mess. So what reason would a villain like the Riddler have to make an appearance and pile on the misery? To put it bluntly, he wouldn’t. His obsession is to outwit Batman and ruin him. An already-ruined Caped Crusader isn’t a challenge for the Riddler. In the opening reels of Batman 3, Wayne’s alter ego will be a man on the run, wanted for murder. In such a scenario, it is difficult to imagine the Riddler turning up to take him down a notch. Batman has already been disowned by the law and order elements of Gotham. He no longer has a reputation for Nygma to ruin. The inclusion of the Riddler at this point would be a puzzling choice (pardon the pun).

Carmine Falconi and Sal Maroni in The Dark Knight (2008)6: Gotham’s Gangsters Need More Screen Time and More Respect

The last thing the gangsters in Gotham City need, while being portrayed as holding Gotham City in an iron grip, is another villain to make complete fools out of them. In Batman Begins, crime boss Carmine Falcone is turned into a quivering, straitjacketed lunatic by Jonathan Crane’s Fear toxin. In The Dark Knight, the Joker barges in on a “secret” mob meeting with little resistance and later singlehandedly dispatches mob leaders left and right when they refuse his help to stop Batman. Sal Maroni, the mob leader implied to be currently controlling Gotham, is presumably killed by Two-Face, who simply shoots Maroni’s driver while his car is in motion, causing the vehicle to crash. These are the guys who keep Gotham’s lawmen up at night? Nolan’s third Batman venture might do well to raise Gotham City’s mobsters up to the level of danger that would be presumed in a mob-dominated metropolis. Adding another evil genius to the mix would only serve to relegate the crime bosses to the fringe of the story when they should be at the very forefront.

7. If the Nolan Films Are So Gritty and Realistic, Why Write In Another Gimmick Villain?

Writing the Riddler into Batman 3 would make a supposed realistic and edgy film series a perfect 4-for-4 in somewhat-unrealistic antagonists. Ra’s Al Ghul is a nutty anti-capitalist and anti-industrialist who is part of an ages-old secret society that wipes entire civilizations of the map when they don’t like how they’re progressing (in the comics, it’s even crazier – he’s immortal!). The Scarecrow is basically “the guy in the creepy mask with the insanity gas”. The Joker is a sociopath who takes the guise of an evil clown and, on several occasions, proclaims the positive merits of total anarchy. Yes, these are comic book movies, but for all the talk about Christopher Nolan’s “more realistic” view of the Batman universe, these three guys are characters who are seemingly popular because they are so unlike any actual living people. As fantastic as the first two films are, their villains stand out as gimmick characters, especially when compared to Bale’s flawed and human hero.


"In the end, the Riddler’s quirky brain teasers would not only be just another gimmick, it might be the corniest one yet."


Another country heard from...8. Who Would Play Him?

To be sure, Heath Ledger’s brilliant portrayal of the Joker was a bit of a shock to many moviegoers who didn’t realize his depth and ability as an actor. To find another actor to play the Riddler as effectively would require Christopher Nolan to once again find the needle in a haystack, something that simply may be too much to ask. Robin Williams, Mark Hamill, Adrien Brody, Johnny Depp, and David Tennant (recently of Dr. Who fame) have been a few of the names circulated to be in contention if the Riddler is chosen for Batman 3. All are talented actors to be sure, but the difficulty in playing a villain so similar to the Joker and not ending up being accused of “copying” Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight would be an unnecessary headache for both cast and crew. Every maniacal laugh, crazed look, or hissed line of dialogue by the Riddler’s portrayer would be both consciously and subconsciously compared to Heath’s take on the Joker. With the ghost of Ledger hanging over the production, the bar would be set unfairly and impossibly high if a villain similar to the Joker is chosen. Passing on the Riddler would make such comparisons a non-issue.


 

But we're split - right down the middle...

8 Reasons why the Riddler SHOULD be the villain in Batman 3

See also:

Top 10 most mishandled comic book characters in film

The Top 10 coolest comic-book villains in movies

Lists at Shadowlocked


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Comments 

 
#1 Guest 2010-05-10 20:04
Outstanding first list from a quality writer. I am very excited to see which villian Nolan ends up picking. Either way, I am sure you will be covering the story!
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#2 Danny 2010-05-10 20:12
Great article. I must admit until recently I was a casual Batman fan having very much enjoyed the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I'm playing Arkham Asylum at the moment and I'm really being drawn into it. Even just reading about the origins of all the characters is really interesting to me.
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#3 Guest 2010-05-10 20:47
TOTALLY DISAGREE!!!
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#4 Guest 2010-05-10 22:26
Love the idea of Catwoman. Would much rather see that dynamic played out in the Nolan universe than The Riddler.
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#5 Guest 2010-05-10 23:43
There are some great points on this list, but I think reason #5 isn't entirely appropriate. In recent lore, the Riddler has "reformed," becoming a sort of freelance detective and Gotham Police consultant for crimes. This idea has been pretty popular with writers and fans, as it allows the GCPD to have access to a brilliant detective rivaling Batman's own intellect - (while still not trusted by Batman). With Batman being an outlaw wanted for murder in the Nolan films, it would make perfect sense for the establishment to bring in someone who might be able to out-think Batman: the one person who can crack his secret identity and lay down the perfect traps to catch him. This can be particularly interesting since it exposes a vulnerability in Chris Nolan's version of Batman: Nolan's Bruce Wayne isn't a genius.
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#6 Guest 2010-05-10 23:57
Quoting tinger77:
In recent lore, the Riddler has "reformed," becoming a sort of freelance detective and Gotham Police consultant for crimes. This idea has been pretty popular with writers and fans, as it allows the GCPD to have access to a brilliant detective rivaling Batman's own intellect - (while still not trusted by Batman).


I did consider that when constructing my list. If Nolan had the guts to go with the Riddler's current comic storyline, that would have the potential to be a great movie. But that's the problem with using a character's current storyline - only those readers who are currently reading it would really "get" it. The Riddler's more well-known persona is as a criminal genius, not a P.I.

I think the Warner Brothers execs would be afraid that non-hardcore fans would see a "different" Riddler on the screen than the one they know and be unhappy with the result. And that could result in a drop in box office receipts, the one thing that execs fear the most.
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#7 Guest 2010-05-11 00:06
Riddler trying to find out who Batman is has been done. Riddler being more original is something that should be seen,not caring about Batman's identity,just his intelligence.
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#8 Guest 2010-05-11 07:43
Whatever villain they come up with, I'm hoping and betting on it that it would feel fresh to the viewers. They gave us new villains in Begins and reinvented the Joker and Two-Face in Knight.

Whatever villain will appear in the new movie I'm sure it will feel fresh and original whether they have been done before or not.
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#9 Guest 2010-05-11 09:37
Disagree with article. I think and I'm pretty sure this will be the case that the Riddler and Catwomen will be the villians. Chris Nolan is a marvel and will figure out how to make these chracters highly original. And no one will see Riddler as Jokers son???? The Riddler is a very well known batman villian on his own accord, and I don' think that the chracter has been done justice on the big-screen, Chris Nolan will do this for this classic chracter. Catwomen is another classic batman villian and NEEDS to be included in this series also! The time is right to bring in Catwomen!
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#10 Guest 2010-05-11 16:36
I agree that the Riddler should not be in this movie! And the listed reasons are all good ones! Some better villain choices would be: Penguin, Hush, Deadshot, Black Mask, Bain...
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#11 Guest 2010-05-11 18:14
There are hints in dark knight that it would be catwoman, when wayne talks to fox,'how will it handle against dogs?" 'Should do fine against cats' Also frank miller's comics had two face catwoman as the tandem. So will probably be that, as we don't know if two face is actually dead. we only know harvey dent is. Or you take the batman returns route and have the penguin catwoman double act, with phil seymour hoffman playing penguin. On the riddler, i always liked the idea of eddie murphy as he could be a comical yet evil genius
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#12 Guest 2010-05-11 18:36
One word: Bane.

Not the Bane from Batman & Robin (what a waste) or from the animated series.

The Bane from the comic book. The Bane who releases all the Arkham inmates and in the end snaps Batman's spine.

And there's your lead-in for Batman 4.
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#13 Guest 2010-05-11 19:09
If they did Riddler like he was in Riddle Me That (legends of the dark knight 185-189) then he'd be awesome. I agree with the physical threat, which is why I say go either Bane or Tahlia Al Guhl for the second villain. Tahlia only if they need a woman, something I don't think is necessary. That and I'm tired of Catwoman, she's been done to death. But Riddler and Bane would rock, bat's getting pushed to his mental and physical limits at the same time, epic.
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#14 Guest 2010-05-13 22:11
This is the worst article I have ever read! It makes no sense what so ever. You clearly were not a comic book reader! This is why girls should not comment on guy stuff!

1. It’s Already Been Done…and Badly
I agree this was one of the worst movies in a comic book series. But, in no way destroys the riddler character for hardcore fans.

2. After The Dark Knight, A follow-up Riddler Movie Will Just Feel Like a ‘Joker-Lite’ Version
I could see how this is viable concern for most fans. Ledger did a great job with the joker and people, in some ways, would like to see more joker in the next film. But, the Riddler is different then the joker in how he handles batman. Joker is chaos with plan. The Riddler, on the other hand, is much more methodic and calculating. Cleaver traps and riddles could be twisted to an almost "saw" like experience to deliver the intensity the audience requires. It is easy for us to imagine heath ledger in a green suite with black question marks and say why again? This one will be on the actor chosen to really dig deep and pull something spectacular out for a new view of a great villain.

3. Batman Needs A Villain Who Is a Physical Threat: The Riddler Isn’t That Guy
WRONG! The best thing about batman is he is a detective first! The fighting is just one of his tools in his utility belt. Punching, kicking, throwing, and shooting has been done over and over and over again by Hollywood. Now I wouldn't mind seeing some fight sequences in which the battle flows more like a borne identity tussle, minus the shaky camera. But not the whole movie. If you need a physical movie with Batman, rent Batman and Robin...and shut up.

4. With Rachel Dawes dead, a Female Villain Would be a Better Choice
This portion of the article really gets to me...Rachel Dawes, more specifically Maggie Gyllenhaal, was the worst part of the second movie. She is a horrible actress and did nothing to create a connection with the audience. She tried to hard to be a big character and just came off as annoying and cheesy. I'm so glad she is gone.

5. The Riddler is Anti-Establishment, Not Anti-Outlaw
Ok, well I see you were able to google the riddler before writing this article in order to get your material. But, the truth is these characters have now boundaries. Especially in the hands of Christopher Nolan. These characters can be anything if done correctly. The truth is, we do not know how the director will form the mentality of Batman in the third film. In my opinion, Batman finally took on and accepted the role he was meant to play at the end of the Dark Knight. His challenge should be trying to integrate this new role in his personal life with outside forces, Riddler and society, making it difficult.

6: Gotham’s Gangsters Need More Screen Time and More Respect
The mob presence is only that...a presence. It's like saying the main characters in the next movie should be all the crazy clown cronies that joker left behind. The only way the could be viable threat and worthwhile venture for Batman is if they had a face to represent them. Actually two-face to represent them. I am sure he was not killed from a two story fall in the Dark Knight. I would definitely be cool with a mild cameo still role in the next film.

7. If the Nolan Films Are So Gritty and Realistic, Why Write In Another Gimmick Villain?
If character in Batman is a gimmick villain lady! That's why its a comic book! People don't want to see an evil joe the plumber! They want horribly disfigured, psychotic, chaos willing evil geniuses. Every Batman character has a gimmick.

8. Who Would Play Him?
Finally a good point in your article. What I don't understand...or I guess what you may not understand is the Riddler is not a crazy laughing paint on your face psycho like the joker. He is very calm and calculated. His riddles are designed to test your wits and stress your emotions. What I'm guessing your problem is the only knowledge you have of the Riddler is what you have read on the internet and Jim Carreys awful preformance in Batman Forever. You see that stupid version of a goofy Riddler and think.."How is that going to work?" We'll ma'am it wouldn't work if that's the way you were to go with the character. In fact, that's why it didn't work in that film. There are a few animated cartoon version of the Riddler that do a decent job. Batman the animated series for example. That's why this cartoon won so many awards. Also the new Batman: Arkham Asylum provides a voice cameo from the Riddler that may steer in the right direction. As for who will play...Not sure but they better take the role seriously.

Now the last problem I have was not one of your eight points but a quote, "Casting the Riddler will have millions of moviegoers who don’t know his history asking “so, is this guy the Joker’s son or something?”"
Shame on you! Shame on you!!! This is the worst quote of all time and the exact reason why movies like catwomen, Batman and Robin, and Spiderman 3 become such crap. The new Christopher Nolan take on this important story became such successes because the did not care about "millions of moviegoers who don’t know his history". Hollywood tries to make movies for teeny-boppers and old people who don't know anything about the story in order to reach a larger audience. Next thing you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mr. Freeze, and everywhere you turn there is a stupid one-liner. I'm glad if millions of movie goers don't understand what is happening in a well designed movie for a true fan. If the director did setup the movie to cater to the masses, these "fans" would still walk a way and forget in a week. But, true fans would never forget and the stale taste in their mouth can only be washed out with sweet success of a true devotionalist director...

p.s. I know "devotionalist" is not a word!
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#15 Guest 2010-05-13 23:01
Dustin, thanks for the comments. First, let me assure you that I am, in fact, a man (it's 'Gabriel', not 'Gabrielle'), and a pretty huge comic book fan to boot. So while I understand that reading comics does in no way make me an "expert", I AM entirely familiar with the Batman of the comics and his nemeses. I don't want to bore you, or any other readers, by specifically answering every single point you made, so let me pick from a few highlights, if I may.

"'Batman Needs A Villain Who Is a Physical Threat: The Riddler Isn’t That Guy.' WRONG! The best thing about batman is he is a detective first!"

-- I agree that the Batman in the comics is a detective first. After all, his first appearance was in Detective Comics #27, but as far as the Nolan Gothamverse, he hasn't exactly done a whole lot of detective work per se. Lots of scenes where he plugs info into a computer and waits for it to give him an answer, but not much walking the beat and rustling up witnesses. I was just pondering how nice it would be to see him up against somebody who could take him down with muscle and not just with elaborate comic-booky traps.

"Rachel Dawes, more specifically Maggie Gyllenhaal, was the worst part of the second movie. She is a horrible actress and did nothing to create a connection with the audience."

-- I agree that the Rachel character wasn't portrayed very well, by either actress. I didn't say otherwise; I was just talking about where Bruce Wayne's head would be, as a character. The girl he loves is dead, so it would make sense to introduce a semi-evil women to mess with his head, like Catwoman or Talia Al Ghul.

"The mob presence is only that...a presence. It's like saying the main characters in the next movie should be all the crazy clown cronies that joker left behind."

-- I don't necessarily want a mob character to be the next main villain. I just find it a little amusing that everyone in Gotham is supposedly frozen in fear of the mob element and yet every villain that has come along so far has easily been able to toy with the supposedly-powerful mob network.

"Shame on you! Shame on you!!! This is the worst quote of all time and the exact reason why movies like catwomen, Batman and Robin, and Spiderman 3 become such crap. The new Christopher Nolan take on this important story became such successes because the did not care about "millions of moviegoers who don’t know his history". Hollywood tries to make movies for teeny-boppers and old people who don't know anything about the story in order to reach a larger audience. Next thing you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mr. Freeze, and everywhere you turn there is a stupid one-liner."

-- I couldn't agree with you more, actually. Those three movies you listed are all terrible for the exact reasons you outlined - writers and directors that don't understand the source material and just make the whole film a slapstick disaster. I was merely saying what a Riddler film might be perceived as by the moviegoers that aren't aware of the Riddler's backstory. As far as I'm concerned, The Dark Knight was my favorite movie of 2008 and Heath Ledger as the Joker was probably the greatest comic book villain ever put to film. I am just concerned, as any fan is when he sees a comic book film actually done really well, that there isn't a big letdown later in the series. And there's a good chance that Nolan will pick the Riddler and do it right. That wouldn't surprise me at all.

Thanks again for the constructive criticism. :)
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#16 Guest 2010-05-13 23:03
My good man up above. Indeed, you may disagree with the reviewer's point of view but you could have been a little bit more subtle in your views...Just saying.
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#17 Guest 2010-05-14 08:52
I disagree. Reading this article convinced me that the Riddler
is perhaps the best choice for the next film... next to a version of the Red Hood. As long as Jim Carrey/Frank Gorshin antics were banned, the Riddler would lead Batman around town chasing false leads. Bringing him as a consultant for the GCPD is simply brilliant. Say he comes in to catch Batman, realizes how corrupt Gotham is and exploits it, pulling crimes, pinning those on Batman, all while taunting Batman.. sounds good.
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#18 Guest 2010-05-22 03:56
Ra's Al Ghul's daughter, Catwoman & Black mask. It's a wrap
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#19 Daniel Jerz 2010-05-23 18:06
i can see your perspective of this, but the Riddler is my all time favorite villain and I have been wanting to see him done correctly in Nolan's universe ever since TDK. I understand your reasoning, but there is one thing that you have forgotten. The recent history of the Riddler on the correct side of the law. From rumors I've heard, Gordon is forced to hire him to track down Batman. If he can pull off his genius on the right side of the law, and manage to slip back into crime, it could be as big of a hit as Heath Ledger's Joker. just some food for thought
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#20 Jack 2010-06-16 22:30
#1. Joker's already been done too. And Nolan's Batman films aren't canon, so Batman Forever shouldn't even be considered as comparable evidence. If anything, Ledger's Joker had more to lose since Nicholson did a decent job in the original Batman, but as I said... not canonical.

#2. Not really. Batman will start the next film hunted by the entirety of Gotham for the murder of Harvey Dent, the city utterly frightened by the Joker, Arkham inmates running around in costumes and masks committing crimes for fun, and civilians dressing as Batman to go vigilante. The Riddler was always Batman's most intelligent and cunning foe... it would not be hard for this film to escalate to heights above the Joker's crime spree.

#3. The only believable physical threat would be Bane and the only version of Bane that was decent was Knightfall (excluding the Azrael storyline). Plus, I disagree on principle. There's no resolution to a strongman villain besides working-out more of bringing a bigger gun to the party. Batman has always been about the mental game... willpower and intelligence beats the villains, not brute strength. A "physical" villain would suck for this reason alone.

#4. Hollywood will insist on a crappy, "hot" actress who doesn't understand the role, instead a decent, mildly attractive one who does. Even if they don't, Catwoman isn't strong enough to carry her own story and would breach your reason #2.

#5 No, he isn't. The Riddler isn't anti-establishment. The Riddler is anti-social. He believes he's more intelligent than everyone and the world can't compete with him. He's too smart and the rest of the world is pathetic. That's always been his philosophy and anyone who knows the Riddler character knows this well. Go watch "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" from the animated series and call me in the morning.

#6. Not really. The groundwork for the gangsters has not only already been laid, but it's been shown to be the reason why Gotham is in shambles. The point of the Batman is that he escalates the situation... You're never quite sure if the situation in Gotham would be better or worse without him. Almost his entire rogues gallery consists of villains he "created" himself simply by existing. The gangsters have become the least of Gotham's problems, although they still remain in some capacity or another.

#7. "Gimmick characters?" Alright. Not only are your INCREDIBLY over-simplified depictions of the Batman's villains inaccurate, they're downright misleading. Ra's Al Ghul was not a "nutty anti-capitalist and anti-industrialist who is part of an ages-old secret society that wipes entire civilizations of the map when they don’t like how they’re progressing"... he was a cold and calculating assassin who understands the human condition and had a polarized viewed of justice and morality. They didn't wipe civilizations off the map because they didn't like the way they were "progressing"... They did it to send a message to the world. Take the most decadent, corrupt place on the planet at the right time and destroy it to send a message that "evil cannot prosper and here's why." It had nothing to do with civilizations taking too many left turns. The Joker isn't "wearing the guise of an evil clown"... he's laughing at a joke only he understands, because people have grown comfortable in their inane, boring little lives. He pushes anarchy because he, as Alfred puts it, "likes to watch the world burn." And the Scarecrow isn't just a guy with insanity gas. He's a deeply disturbed doctor who enjoys experimenting on people to sate his God Complex and is obsessed with the fears of others. The gas is merely a tool by which he extracts that fear. He actually delights in tormenting and torturing people... not because he's zany and wears a creepy makes, but because he actually enjoys watching people reduced to feeble, terrified simpletons.

The Riddler would be perfect. The Joker succeeded in turning the city against itself by preying on the impulses of Gotham and tearing down their paragons. The Riddler would build on that to hold the city in his iron grip while laughing from atop the rubble by shredding the protections of the people, using those systems against the people of Gotham, and elevating himself to positions of power. Nothing "gimmicky" about it... just using human nature to control the populace.

#8. I actually think David Tennant would be perfect.
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#21 Brian 2010-06-18 21:34
you have good strong points but remember that the nolans portrayal of gotham city is based off of the original dc comics where the story is darker and more terrifying. I believe nolan will pick a good riddler and i can already see how the story will go. Batman is disowned by gotham and riddler will be the one to catch him with all his tricks and goonies up his sleeve. True I was actually kinda hoping the next villain would be a female role as it would make a lot of sense with the death of rachel dawes. Either catwoman, poison ivy, or even because of the death of the joker, Harley Quinn would be good picks.
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#22 AceOfKnaves 2010-07-13 12:27
Quoting Jack:
#1. Joker's already been done too. And Nolan's Batman films aren't canon, so Batman Forever shouldn't even be considered as comparable evidence. If anything, Ledger's Joker had more to lose since Nicholson did a decent job in the original Batman, but as I said... not canonical.

#2. Not really. Batman will start the next film hunted by the entirety of Gotham for the murder of Harvey Dent, the city utterly frightened by the Joker, Arkham inmates running around in costumes and masks committing crimes for fun, and civilians dressing as Batman to go vigilante. The Riddler was always Batman's most intelligent and cunning foe... it would not be hard for this film to escalate to heights above the Joker's crime spree.

#3. The only believable physical threat would be Bane and the only version of Bane that was decent was Knightfall (excluding the Azrael storyline). Plus, I disagree on principle. There's no resolution to a strongman villain besides working-out more of bringing a bigger gun to the party. Batman has always been about the mental game... willpower and intelligence beats the villains, not brute strength. A "physical" villain would suck for this reason alone.

#4. Hollywood will insist on a crappy, "hot" actress who doesn't understand the role, instead a decent, mildly attractive one who does. Even if they don't, Catwoman isn't strong enough to carry her own story and would breach your reason #2.

#5 No, he isn't. The Riddler isn't anti-establishment. The Riddler is anti-social. He believes he's more intelligent than everyone and the world can't compete with him. He's too smart and the rest of the world is pathetic. That's always been his philosophy and anyone who knows the Riddler character knows this well. Go watch "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" from the animated series and call me in the morning.

#6. Not really. The groundwork for the gangsters has not only already been laid, but it's been shown to be the reason why Gotham is in shambles. The point of the Batman is that he escalates the situation... You're never quite sure if the situation in Gotham would be better or worse without him. Almost his entire rogues gallery consists of villains he "created" himself simply by existing. The gangsters have become the least of Gotham's problems, although they still remain in some capacity or another.

#7. "Gimmick characters?" Alright. Not only are your INCREDIBLY over-simplified depictions of the Batman's villains inaccurate, they're downright misleading. Ra's Al Ghul was not a "nutty anti-capitalist and anti-industrialist who is part of an ages-old secret society that wipes entire civilizations of the map when they don’t like how they’re progressing"... he was a cold and calculating assassin who understands the human condition and had a polarized viewed of justice and morality. They didn't wipe civilizations off the map because they didn't like the way they were "progressing"... They did it to send a message to the world. Take the most decadent, corrupt place on the planet at the right time and destroy it to send a message that "evil cannot prosper and here's why." It had nothing to do with civilizations taking too many left turns. The Joker isn't "wearing the guise of an evil clown"... he's laughing at a joke only he understands, because people have grown comfortable in their inane, boring little lives. He pushes anarchy because he, as Alfred puts it, "likes to watch the world burn." And the Scarecrow isn't just a guy with insanity gas. He's a deeply disturbed doctor who enjoys experimenting on people to sate his God Complex and is obsessed with the fears of others. The gas is merely a tool by which he extracts that fear. He actually delights in tormenting and torturing people... not because he's zany and wears a creepy makes, but because he actually enjoys watching people reduced to feeble, terrified simpletons.

The Riddler would be perfect. The Joker succeeded in turning the city against itself by preying on the impulses of Gotham and tearing down their paragons. The Riddler would build on that to hold the city in his iron grip while laughing from atop the rubble by shredding the protections of the people, using those systems against the people of Gotham, and elevating himself to positions of power. Nothing "gimmicky" about it... just using human nature to control the populace.

#8. I actually think David Tennant would be perfect.


+1
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#23 Mike 2010-07-19 14:51
I think harlequinn would be good fit in batman 3.
Not only has she never been done but they could write
it in the script that she would be avenging the jokers death.
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#24 itemforty 2010-07-19 15:19
I think doing the Riddler like he was done previously IS a bad idea. However, I think you could definitely do it right. Get Crispin Glover to play an Austistic Riddler, and have it placed in the middle of the insanity of a city all trying to destroy Batman. Could be amazing.

Also, Shannyn Sossamon for Catwoman. I put no time table on this, but want it.

Also also, never Harlequinn. No one can do her justice.
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#25 Mars 2010-07-19 15:29
Agreed, the bar is set almost impossibly high. However, I heard talk of Daniel Day Lewis as a possibility in the Batman franchise at some point a few months back. now as far fetched as it sounds, I think that if anyone has the experience, the genius, the passion to pull the audience away from the brilliance of Heath Ledgers Joker, its Daniel Day. I honestly think that he would be the only one to be able to equate and maybe even surpass Ledgers performance; (respectively of course Heath). Now, getting Mr. Lewis on contract would be an entirely different story on its own.
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#26 jaysee 2010-07-19 16:37
First off I would like to say how impressed I am with many of the reasons given above. However, I think another angle could be taken regarding the riddlers character. These are all good reasons why the original style of riddler (similar to the joker's mannerisms) should not be used and this is something that I agree with. What if there was an entirely new style to the riddler but in essence the same character? I would love Nolan to play an older character in the role of the riddler, someone like Ian McKellen comes to mind. This could be an elderly professor-like character who would really be able to portray an evil genious who didnt need physical strength, just a powerful mind to create amazing riddles and schemes to trouble Batman.

Also, I liked the idea of a female villan as Wayne will be in a vulnerable state in this movie after his childhood sweethearts death. A version of Poison Ivy or another villan could be brought in as sub-villan along with the riddler as each previous Nolan film has had two villans.
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#27 anoy 2010-07-24 20:17
You forgot Jim Carrey to Play as Riddler. He would be good
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#28 Phil E. Drifter 2010-08-02 23:54
Batman sucks. MARVEL FTW!
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#29 Rockney Bodger 2010-08-04 13:22
I think the reason the Riddler is such an attractive character to include is because the plot that could be spun using the cryptic dialogue he's bound to produce would be mesmerising. An autistic riddler would be amazing, whoever suggested that is a genius... or autistic, much of a muchness really.
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#30 Kylee 2010-08-09 20:53
I agree. I'd really like to see Harley in a movie, but now that they don't have the perfect Joker, why would Harley come in.
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#31 Jean Paul Valley 2010-09-03 03:11
BRILLIANT premise: a re-do of the Riddler would be "...so boring..." Harley Quinn is where it's at, with Talia Al Ghul as the anti-hero to "finish the story" as Nolan put it. Harley=Joker's anarchy and she has the tools at her disposal via Arkham. Talia completes Bruce's persona journey...it's all about the ending
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#32 Keelan 2010-09-15 13:27
First, I'd like to say that I'm in a bit of a rush to do some work and that I have decided not to read anyone's posts as a result, meaning that my comment may or may not be relevant - I just couldn't help but have a snoop around for any info on batman 3!!

I would like to point out that "having been done before" and " the difficulty to follow up a 'similar' character" are not reasons for The Riddler to not be an option. Its being done badly before is an obvious one - any previous movie does not, and should not, have any bearing upon how this film should go about the characterisatio n. Movies already in the franchise are perfect examples; take Burton's Batman and Nolan's latest - both Joker characters are vastly different! (some like and some do not) In fact, Nolan AND Ledger made sure that they made an original character, distinct from Nicholson's so as to highlight new elements of the character. To me, they went in the right direction. The Joker, like any other piece of pop-culture, was an idea that seeped through in my head though I had never read the comic books (just some fan-boy childrens book on the characters - a vague memory) and barely ever a cartoon episode, if I recall correctly. Yet, it seemed to me, that The Joker, realistically, is not just a jolly old guy; that there is a dark, 'evil'-kind of aspect to his mania. Sure I loved the jokes that Burton pulled in his film, but they seemed to lack the murderous conviction that The Joker should seem to have in testing Batman (though that electric handshake was great), and Burton's filming style is very toon-like in its cheap-budget approach which tends to make his films very 'comic-book' like....and for that film anyway, it was less serious. By the same page, I think we were missing many more 'gags' from Nolan's Joker in The Dark Knight. I wanted to see The Joker revel more in his own evil diabolical fun! (More laughs, more tricks -- but fair enough; we did have a hospital, and a jail-bird, blow up. Perhaps I liked Ledger's joker so much that it was frustrating to see the curtain go down...)

Secondly, are not all villains, gimmick villains? They have something about them that stands them out from other people? I guess i'm asking a stupid question here. I can see what you're saying - it's not about making crazy stunts, however, it is to be noted that the concept that Nolan wanted to express in this series is the idea of "escalation", that one crazy stunt leads to another. At what point do you stop? Who and when is it right to apprehend someone for the crimes they do? (is that not the whole point of batman?) This is directly alluded to at the end of Batman Begins between the talk with Jim Gordon.

Thirdly, though there are elements of psychopathy in the comic book's Joker, the movie was still infamously different from the comic book - to make it less 'toon' like. I think we can expect the same thing from The Riddler and have it made a good choice! In other words, expect to not expect what Nolan puts up. We might be satisfied, we might woop, we might be sorely disappointed at the end of the film, but i think that Nolan will make sure that The Riddler fills those shoes that Heath left behind. If The Riddler is to be played that is. I think if anything, he will deter away from "The Joker Side" of the Riddler - and really play on The Riddler's OWN puzzling human character. To this day I have only ever read one whole comic slightly related to Batman: The Justice League, with Alex Ross's art (fantastic). In this, The Riddler is shown to be someone who is diabolical in himself. He IS a riddle. It may be that Nolan will go EVEN darker, and have us conflicted between a love and hatred of The Riddler - we may see dark sides of him when he is in a dark corner by himself, to see revealed to us parts of his humanity that conflict with the things he does, yet compelled at the same time by something else. These are all "real" factors. I mean, just as you said yourself, Rhas Al Ghul was immortal in the comics, and it should be pointed out that the comic books are therefore a lot 'crazier' and much more supernatural and unreal than Nolan's movies. Nolan focuses more on the psychological aspects which we can see in ourselves. Yes we don't see real life Joker's running around but it must be noted that these people Batman combats are exceptional cases who may have a relation to Arkham Asylum but more importantly are still human - having those psychological aspects (aren't necessarily crazy - exception of Joker) and moreover act on their beliefs AS A REACTION to Batman. This is afterall a hypothetical, but Nolan makes it seem quite plausible. The 'fear gas' is given scientific foundation, even if only slightly, and Rhas Al Ghul is just a character who is acting on what he thinks is right - does he go about it the right way? Just because someone might use technical psychological terms for what he does, for instance we might label him a 'monomaniac', it does not necessarily make it true, and does not mean he is crazy just because it is a big technical word containing "maniac" in there. But lol, like i said, with teh exception of the Joker (I think it's safe to agree that he IS a psycho). These are all aspects to label human choices. After all, is not someone who is crazy still a person?

With the rest of your points however, I am quite convinced that it probably isn't a good idea to have the Riddler. What you said about the gangsters is true, but it doesn't seem to be the focus here. It was touched on in the first one because it was about going from one crime and escalating to new heights. The second one jsut ties up some of the loose ends--and the fact that the mob are still the ones with control over the corrupted city. The point is that The Joker manipulates that corruption and causes MORE chaos (chaos that even the mobsters don't like, showing that they're hypocrites - if they want to wreak havoc then WREAK HAVOC! "better class of criminal", to not just wreak chaos for their own benefit because to make chaos is to agree that this chaos should be done to yourself as well. therefore, they don't really like chaos, they are just stupid selfish human beings. The Joker wants to reveal that "bad joke" to the world. Where can Nolan take this after that movie? I have no bloody idea)

I feel like the Riddler wouldn't just play with Batman's mind - he'd try to figure it out while trying to cloud the whole of Gotham in puzzles, getting all Gotham involved (The Jokers goal - remember that The Joker, according to something I read, is more like The Riddler's puppet) - in a similar way indeed to the viral marketing campaign made by The Joker for The Dark Knight, but less....child-like and Jokey. It would be serious, and it would be sly. Slyness and thigns disappearing and things starting to fall under The Riddler's control by riddles and codes ( i think of Mr Smith in the matrix lol - not quite like that. less literal), which is a lot scarier than insane stunts. You would become manipulated by teh strings The Riddler pulls. Riddler as multiple personality syndrome? (Thinking of a dark side to him - trying to always tell the truth, hidden in cryptics which is his better good, going against his bad) Or maybe .....Batman would almost be like a parallel to The Riddler because Batman tries to protect and control things. Batman as Riddler? that would be scary....also wouldn't seem to work. but just suggestions.

It is a shame, because I really do like The Riddler, and I would like to see that character fulfilled in a movie that is bound to be as epic as Nolan's productions. Is it not possible that Nolan could bring in another villain, as rumoured (to fulfil his 3 villain a movie idea), to carry out the rest of the jobs that The Riddler couldn't carry out - i.e. being female (lol) and a physical threat? I do think that The Riddler, being a very popular, well-known and complicated/interesting character, is one that would be....well....desired to be in the film. So taking that as if it were true, could not the second villain be a tough female? Why not? Rumorus are catwoman (don't like the idea) or even your suggestion of Poison Ivy. How about Bane (though not female)? Or maybe even Talia Al Ghul. In this new light, I am actually favourable to that last idea. It is one that has been rumoured, and I thought it was too contrived, but it fills in both those gaps. imagine if rhas's daughter became catwoman! LOL just thinking.......... but yeah that couldnt be...........

btw just read some of the above posts on Talia.........it sounds more likely the more I think about it. And two female villains ie harley would be interesting.......but i dont think harley is as likely as Talia, you'd need The Joker, since Harley is too much of a "consolation" villain = someone trying to fill the gap that was left by the Joker.
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#33 Keelan 2010-09-15 13:31
btw, i had this comment box left over-night while i left half of it typed and i think other comments came in while i was typing.

comment #20 by Jack

Brilliant.
I think we were working along the same lines but you pulled out more points than I did.

All in all, I entirely agree with you

I can't wait for this film
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#34 RE: 8 Reasons Why The Riddler in Batman 3 Would Be a Bad Idea Jack 2010-11-18 06:30
I agree with many of the points you raised.

Riddler will not be able to meet the bar that Heath Ledger raised in his tenure as the Joker

I completely agree that with Rachel gone a Catwoman may have an opening to come in which is entirely possible to write in as a secondary villain since all the previous Nolan Films showcase two villains.

It has been an idea of mine that the Nightfall story arc would be the best adaptation for the third film. There the symbol is beaten down and re-emerge twisted and it is up to the bat to set things right. which would follow correctly with the issues raised in the previous films. Becoming a symbol to inspire but it is twisted.

You can even write in Catwoman in this one.
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#35 RE: 8 Reasons Why The Riddler in Batman 3 Would Be a Bad Idea Tisha 2010-11-19 17:45
Could not agree more with this list!

I do think its time for a female villain and I will agree that Catwoman has been hacked to kibble in the past few years. But it's hard to bring a female villain to screen. Who would play her? Jolie has dropped too much weight in recent years to be the ass kicking wonderwoman we saw in Croft. Beckinsale would be a good choice if she could pull out some of that brilliance we saw in Brokedown Palace. Rachel McAdams could be the needle in the haystack, she showed promise in Sherlock Holmes so maybe given the right directing she could shine in this role.

And I just think it would be too easy to do the Riddler, and it would be hard to find the right actor. I mean Johnny Depp in his Willy Wonka get up springs to mind, but that would be too predictable and frankly it would seem like a Joker spin-off. I mean in the last film we saw the brilliance to the Joker's craziness. So there was an element of the Riddler's brand of screwing with Wayne's mind. Unlike Nicholson's Joker who was just totally out of his mind and sniffing the glue. Ledger's Joker had a method to the madness, and bringing in the Riddler right behind that will seem like the Fat Free version of Ledger's Joker

I do agree that we need mob lesson from Pesci or Busicmi in this next film. These mob guys are laughable and its hard to imagine an entire city under their grip.

Batman does need his tail kicked a few good times in this next movie. I mean he is totally human so it stands to reason that he is going to be the loser in more than his fair share of fights, and the puny figure that is the Riddler just can't deliver that. And we don't need this film to suffer like SpiderMan3 did with too many villains to keep track clogging up the screen.
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#36 Guest Guest 2011-01-19 07:56
Harley quinn would be great for this film.
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#37 Riddler could work Automaton 2011-02-18 07:21
Quoting Guest:
There are some great points on this list, but I think reason #5 isn't entirely appropriate. In recent lore, the Riddler has "reformed," becoming a sort of freelance detective and Gotham Police consultant for crimes. This idea has been pretty popular with writers and fans, as it allows the GCPD to have access to a brilliant detective rivaling Batman's own intellect - (while still not trusted by Batman). With Batman being an outlaw wanted for murder in the Nolan films, it would make perfect sense for the establishment to bring in someone who might be able to out-think Batman: the one person who can crack his secret identity and lay down the perfect traps to catch him. This can be particularly interesting since it exposes a vulnerability in Chris Nolan's version of Batman: Nolan's Bruce Wayne isn't a genius.


Perhaps I'm easily led, but I was at first in full agreement with the writer. However, I didn't know about the 'reformed' version of the Riddler. This is a good case for using the Riddler after all, and takes care of the problem of being too similar to the Joker.

The irony of using a criminal who joins the establishment to hunt down a hero who is seen as an outlaw is perfect. Of course, Nigma must in the end crack and go too far, becoming an outlaw himself, while Batman rehabilitates his image.

At the same time, I see the Penguin as being a moneyed socialite - ugly as sin but as wealthy as Wayne - out to destroy Bruce Wayne while he's down and out, so as to clear the way for his own competing corporate and social interests... so Batman would be assailed on two fronts. Perhaps Wayne could find a new romantic interest... who turns into Catwoman in the next movie.

As for physical threats... I'm sure the Penguin could deliver a mean beat-down on Wayne with a formal walking stick (with hidden taser ability), with Wayne being unable to fully respond without giving away his identity.

Nigma could also face Batman with a heavily armed elite SWAT team in a carefully laid trap, as Batman follows a false trail of clues fed by Nigma.
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#38 Well, whaddya know... Gabriel_Ruzin 2011-07-19 00:39
Now that it's been 14 months since I wrote this list and TOTALLY nailed it - Nolan not including the Riddler, the inclusion of Catwoman, and the necessity of a physical villain (Bane) - everyone who disagreed with my conclusions please form an orderly queue, so that you may apologize and admit my brilliance. ;)

One year until DKR. Can't come soon enough!
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#39 No, it wouldn't, and dexter would be the perfect person Paul 2011-11-30 11:56
dexter would be great!
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#40 RE: 8 Reasons Why The Riddler in Batman 3 Would Be a Bad Idea Daniel Byrne 2012-06-14 16:23
Quoting Guest:
I agree that the Riddler should not be in this movie! And the listed reasons are all good ones! Some better villain choices would be: Penguin, Hush, Deadshot, Black Mask, Bain...


Hush, Deadshot, Black Mask is not commhttp://www.shadowlocked.com/20100510386/lists/8-reasons-why-the-riddler-in-batman-3-would-be-a-bad-idea.html#on batman enemies, the most popular enemies of batman are Joker, The Riddler, the Penguin, Catwoman, Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy and scarecrow

in most comics Bain was sidekick
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#41 To the guy who said girls shouldn't comment on guy stuff... Jessica 2013-08-14 04:13
Clearly none of you "fans" realized that the Riddler character WAS already introduced in The Dark Knight. His name was Kyle Reese (Mr. Reese aka: Mysteries) and he was played by Joshua Harto. Yes, his name was not Edward Nygma (E. Nygma aka: Enigma), but that is the point. It's the same alter-ego. Reese was fired by Lucius after attempting to blackmail Bruce Wayne when he calculates the money disappearing into an area of development previously shut down by Wayne Enterprises (Batman's toys), and thus creates tension between Reese and Wayne Enterprises. They wouldn't have been able to bring in Nygma as a good guy because they already introduced Reese as a bad guy. Nolan left many characters like this that went unused. The villain Zsasz was also briefly introduced in prison. Clearly Nolan thought Harto would have been able to portray Riddler should he choose to delve into that character. Step up your game, boys ;)

To contribute to the conversation:
I would have enjoyed a subtle hint towards Harley Quinn as a villainess. When the Joker was wearing the nurses uniform in The Dark Knight, I had a brief daydream that he was blowing up Arkham Asylum and looked for a nametag on the uniform that said "Harleen Quinley," but sadly, it was Gotham General and the nametag had Heath Ledger's daughters name on it. Still a small push would've been nice. Although there would be no reason for her unless they brought in the Joker (impossible after Ledger) unless it was vengeance for putting him in jail (which could have developed into her origin story as his psychiatrist). I also think Bane played out nicely, and I DO think that after Ledger's performance, the Riddler (being such a similar character) would've fallen flat.
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