The moment’s so quick that it’s hard to even take a clear screenshot of it, but he’s on-screen long enough for YouTubers like New Rockstars to have picked up on it and share it around. When one viewer tagged Matt Reeves on Twitter to ask for confirmation that this was in fact the Riddler, the director responded: “Indeed, I can confirm. 100%.”
Reeves’ response is much appreciated by fans of “The Batman,” as it emphasizes the attention to detail that lets this film stand on its own even under the shadow of the seemingly unbeatable “Dark Knight” trilogy, as well as the revelation that Paul Dano’s Riddler truly was right under Batman’s nose from the very beginning. It’s an unsettling detail, and it helps add to the feeling through this film that the Riddler is some kind of all-knowing, almost superhuman entity.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this uncovered moment is the way it adds to the horror iconography of the film. Much like the opening scene where the Riddler is revealed to be standing inside his first victim’s home, right behind the man without him knowing, the fact that our detective protagonist Batman (Robert Pattinson) doesn’t pick up on the fact that he’s being watched serves as an example of “The Batman” using horror movie tropes to tell its story. Because most superhero movies have largely strayed away from ever going full horror, (one of the last great examples from a successful superhero film was the terrifying hospital scene from Spiderman 2), this has helped “The Batman” feel like such a breath of fresh air in the superhero movie genre, even as it’s telling the story centered around a very familiar comic book character.