Riddler is the villain of the internet age

Editors note: The following contains Batman spoilers.Batman He manages to separate himself from other cinematic versions of the Caped Crusader, particularly in the noir-influenced tone and psychological elements that Matt Reeves brings to the table. Not only Batman Dig deep into the mindset Robert PattersonBruce Wayne, but he also does the same Paul DanoTakes on the Riddler. Dano’s Riddler offers a cautionary tale of how the internet age can radicalize angry youth, and how they can take completely the wrong lessons from someone’s actions.

Riddler first enters Batman’s orbit when he commits a series of horrific crimes, murdering the mayor of Gotham City along with a police commissioner and forging a death trap with Gotham County District Attorney Jill Coulson (Peter Sarsgaard) at its centre. With each kill, he posts a video on social media, presenting his devious form of justice – and collecting views along the way. Even Riddler’s ideology appears to infringe on the citizens of Gotham. When Bruce Wayne arrived at the mayor’s funeral, a group of citizens were waving banners emblazoned with the Riddler symbol and messages including “Reveal the truth.” Likewise, when the livestream shows Batman trying to save Coulson from the Riddler’s death trap, many comments are less sympathetic to the prosecutor’s plight.

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Paul Dano Mystery Batman 1
Image via Warner Bros.

In fact, Riddler knows precisely how to use the Internet to his advantage. When Batman and Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) Finding a flash drive connected to the mayor’s murder (quite literally, because it shows his severed thumb), they learn that the mayor was having an affair. Riddler has set up the drive so that it sends images to every major news outlet in Gotham — and it happens on Gordon’s laptop. Another clue leads Batman and Gordon to a website where he quickly decodes a clue that leads them to the orphanage where the predatory mystery boss originated – and it happens to be an orphanage funded by Bruce Wayne’s parents. Wayne even ends up on Riddler’s Hit list as a bomb meant for him instead hits his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis); After this attack, another video online rocked Wayne to its core by suggesting that his dad asked Carmen Falcone (John Turturro) to kill the reporter who was wandering about his work.


This effect extends to the end of the film. Riddler reveals that he’s forensic accountant Edward Nashton, finally springing a trap out of his Arkham cell. A series of trucks packed with explosives removes the sea wall, floods Gotham City and forces its residents to take shelter in Gotham Square Garden. However, said arena is filled with terrorists who have been radicalized by Riddler’s online posts, trying to make “real change” by targeting newly elected Mayor Bella Real (Jamie Lawson). “Angry White Men Targeting a Black Woman of Power” seems less like a huge comic book and more grab-and-go than real-life headlines, but it helps show just how terrifying the Riddler is – its influence seeps into the minds of others and creates a mortal threat.



Paul Dano as Riddler in Batman
Image via Warner Bros.

And as it turns out, Batman himself may have proven to have had an effect on these guys. When the Dark Knight first appears in the movie, he beats up a gang of thugs before roaring “I’m getting revenge.” Those words are thrown back in his face when one of the Riddler terrorists uses them as a knight against Gordon. Nachton also reveals that Batman’s exploits inspired the serial killing spree; Obviously, it’s meant to be a comment on how some fans only see Batman as a power fantasy rather than a human. “You showed me that all it took was fear and some focused violence,” Nashton whispered, clearly in awe of Batman’s methods. No wonder Batman decides to move past his quest for revenge at the end of the movie – if he really wants to make a change, he has to realize how his actions can inspire others, especially men like Nashton.


Batman It is currently showing in theaters.


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