From the pop excess of the ’60s, the Riddler’s green suit has come down to Earth. The version of Batman needed something really scary.

“It protects me when I jog at night,” Jim Carrey exclaims on The Riddler in the middle of Batman forever. He is referring to his costume, fitted with flashing electric question marks that match the actor’s largely comedic approach to Batman’s villain. He is hardly alone in this representation; almost since its inception, Edward Nygma has proven to be a badass to filmmakers. The simplest approach was to take the costume to the extreme, matching the absurdity of Frank Gorshin’s famous incarnation in the 1960s. Batman TV shows.

It won’t do for The Batman, however, which embraces a much grittier and more realistic take on Gotham City. This includes Paul Dano’s Riddler, whose costume looks more like a serial killer than the weird green suits of Riddler’s past incarnations. It’s a sign of the creative flexibility of Batman and his supporting cast.

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Gorshin casts an extremely long shadow over The Riddler, with an iconic performance that stole the show in his 10 appearances on Batman. He adopted a manic and over-the-top style for the character, marked by acrobatic jumps on the stage that matched the bright green uniform he often wore. Her other costume was only slightly less ostentatious; a formal suit and a bowler derby in the same bright green, marked with question marks as before.

It fit in with the show’s camp style and an active tribute to the bright pages of the comics. But Gorshin lent the play a layer of real darkness underneath the excess. His signature chuckle was addressed to the kind of deranged lunatic who populated much darker versions of the Caped Crusader, and even surpassed Cesar Romero’s Joker for insane theater.

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This turned out to be a very difficult combination to replicate, at least in its entirety. In the Animated batman book of sources, Batman: The Animated Series creators Paul Dini and chip Kidd admit The Riddler was extremely difficult to write. Their spared version of the character – complete with a green suit and derby – left him dependent on clever plans, only a few of which met the show’s highest standards. The only other option is to go to full camp, which Batman forever Riddler kissed him as part of his neon hype. It took Gorshin’s bright green tights to an unprecedented excess. Live action Gotham The series struck a balance between the two, but its intelligent Riddler always tended to adopt flamboyant outfits while committing his puzzle-based crimes.

None of this fits The batman at all. Its hyper-real Gotham City requires a silhouette more in tune with the Zodiac Killer; an antagonist who can challenge the intellect of Batman rather than a mad maniac who bounces off the walls. Paul Dano’s Riddler costume thus completely disrupts all concepts that came before it, with gloves and goggles to avoid leaving forensic evidence, an army cold mask hiding his face and seals. unique reminiscent of the zodiac.

Comic book characters need to retain this flexibility in order to accommodate changing tastes and more. Doing so without losing the essence of the character is the goal of any new release. In The Riddler’s case, the outfit is such a ready indicator, not only of how much Edward Nygma can change while still remaining the same classic antagonist, but how two very different versions of Criminal Madness can feel so good – and so good. dressed – for the occasion.

To see Matt Reeves’ take on The Riddler, The Batman hits theaters on March 4, 2022.

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