At some point in time it does feel as though the detective aspect of Batman has been lost now and again since the action has tended to take over. Most of the movies have included his ability to shine as a detective but with a villain such as the Riddler, played by Paul Dano in this instance, being more of a sleuth than a fighter is usually what’s required. Neeraj Chand of MovieWeb has more to say on this. Let’s be real and state that Dano is no Jim Carrey and there will be no way to really compare the two of them when it comes to this role, but at the very least Dano is kind of a wild card since he usually plays a very well-mannered and rather quiet individual in the movies and doesn’t always stand out. The Batman will attempt to make him stand out in a big way and much as it happened with Carrey and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever, Dano might very well upstage Robert Pattinson if he can unleash a truly devious and diabolical side. Throughout the history Batman the Riddler has never really been the most skilled combatant or even the toughest criminal that Batman has ever faced. His crimes and his schemes usually end up being solve by Batman and he tends to be caught now and again since the things he does almost make it feel as though he wants to be stopped. Plus, his huge affinity for riddles gives him away every time and leaves no doubt as to who’s behind certain crimes in Gotham. That kind of makes the Riddler a one-note villain that really needs a radical bit of change to make him more convincing.
Riddles are a great deal of fun to be certain, but unless they’re obscure or so in your face that the entire point gets missed it’s kind of hard to be too enthused about them since figuring them in a Batman movie or feature means that the Riddler is either just playing with the hero or is following true to form as usual. He’s definitely an odd villain in that he can’t go toe to toe with Batman as Bane or several others could, and he’s not psychotic like the Joker, which means that he’s not quite as hard to predict. But if you stop at what was just said and have to wonder just why he’s even counted as one of Batman’s all-time best villains then it means that his job has been done and he’s already left you in the dust. The Riddler’s greatest tool is and always has been his mind, as his intellect is right up there with Bruce Wayne’s and like it or not, as Erik Barnes of Ranker reminds us, he did assist Batman at one point, despite the fact that they were still enemies. In other words, Batman knows better than to discount the Riddler if only because Edward knows plenty about Batman and how to make it work for him. It’s true that he still has his own failings but it’s also true that he’s possessed of a superior intellect that allows him to stay a few steps ahead of the game most times. Without super powers of any kind this is about all he has, but it’s been proven to be more than enough in the past and has even brought Gotham to its knees at one point. That’s a lot to put on Dano’s shoulders, but since he’s managed to show that he can take a lot it’s easy to think that he might be able to produce the kind of character that people are hoping for.
Despite the impressive cast and the idea that this new Batman movie will be pulling away from the DCEU in about the same way that Joker did, there are still a few skeptics out there that are willing to voice their concerns. It’s easy enough to see why, Dano is a pretty quiet individual on screen and doesn’t really look or sound like the type that might make this part work, but it’s worth seeing if he can do it and as such it’s worth talking him up a bit. We could be seeing a new, more cerebral version of the Riddler than we received with Jim Carrey, who went so far over the top with the character that it was hilarious and comical, but also fit the movie it was in. Such an act this time around would likely stand out in a way that would make it appear to belong to another movie, meaning that Dano might have an enormous responsibility to control his take on the character, but he’s also being given a great opportunity to show us something different and perhaps something a bit more devious.