The Batman Star Isn’t Worried About Continuity
Paul Dano says it makes sense to have multiple versions of Batman on the big screen.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman introduced a dark version of the Caped Crusader and Paul Dano’s Riddler. Reeves and Robert Pattinson focused on Bruce Wayne’s pain after losing his parents and the character’s skill as a detective. While The Batman gave fans another thrilling look into the creepy underbelly of Gotham City, a ruthless vigilante hell-bent on striking fear in the hearts of criminals, it was yet another interpretation of the character and the third one after Christian Bale played the famed DC hero in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.
While some may roll their eyes at the idea of there being multiple Batman and continuities in the DC universe, Paul Dano believes that it’s not that big of a deal. During an interview with GQ (via MovieWeb), Dano, who played the unsettling Batman villain in Reeves’ film, explained why having multiple Batman movies with different continuities isn’t a major issue.
“By Matt having such a specific point of view and a new one, it gave me a lot of freedom, you know, like this is this Riddler, I’m not gonna worry about the other ones or the comics… So, I think for people like Matt and Tim Burton and Chris Nolan, and then whoever’s gonna carry it next, I think it’s gotta be an artist with a point of view who’s taking that character and that city for the time that we’re in.”
As noted, The Batman also introduced another version of the Riddler with Paul Dano playing the villainous role. Dano’s Riddler is tonally different from the version Jim Carey played in director Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever which was very much a cartoonish interpretation of a manic OCD mastermind obsessed with planting riddles over Gotham. The Riddler fans witnessed in Reeves’ film was much more subtle in his approach and ideology. Although Dano did break the subtle and quiet approach at various points in the movie, he always seemed to be in control.
The same can be said for Pattinson’s Batman. While other actors who played the character did much to showcase the playboy billionaire persona, Pattinson and Reeves leaned heavily on Bruce’s inner turmoil and agony. The Batman that Paul Dano’s Riddler spoke to during the integration scene wasn’t someone who developed his billionaire persona to make himself blend in amongst the crowd.
However, there is some cause for concern that Warner Bros. may be juggling too much at once. While The Batman nailed Paul Dano’s Riddler and other famed DC characters, some fans may cringe at the thought of having to go through another retelling of Batman’s origin may be too much to ask for at this point. Thankfully, neither Reeves’ The Batman nor Zack Snyder’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice took valuable screen time to retell Batman’s origin story. Both directors decided to jump forward in time and place the character in a situation where he needs some experience.
Hopefully, Warner Bros. and DC can choose which stories to tell and when to tell them. While The Batman had done a fabulous job recreating Riddler and giving Paul Dano enough screen time to bring the terrifying antagonist to life, it was after careful planning and research. Dano even discussed the research that went into creating the new version of Riddler while promoting the spin-off comic he wrote for DC about the character’s troubled backstory.
Warner Bros. doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to planning its DC film slate and universe. Despite some good wins, most of their projects end up on the losing side. Now that they have a successful Batman and a terrifying antagonist in Paul Dano’s Riddler, we’ll have to see where the studio decides to go from here.