Photos of Paul Dano’s Riddler from The Batman leaked online and the villain’s new look received a divisive reaction from fans, with some loving the departure from the Riddler’s classic costume and others declaring it one of the worst costumes in supervillain history.
Traditionally, the Riddler has had a very distinct look that involved him wearing a bright green suit or bodysuit that was plastered with question marks. But Dano’s Riddler ditches that style entirely and instead embraces a look that feels partially inspired by slasher film villains with a bit of BDSM horrorcore splashed in for good measure.
Fans who were in favor of the new look noted that while the original Riddler design worked for comic books and the Adam West Batman era, in the more grounded era of superhero storytelling, his old costume would just look silly.
Mfs really be expecting riddler to be killing the city mayor in a realistic movie looking like this pic.twitter.com/oOhnZhE4RE
— Lazz (@Laziiner) May 18, 2021
Many noted that the new costume is intentionally disturbing and said that it seemed to be inspired by the look of the infamous real-life Zodiac Killer, who was known for sending cryptic messages to the media about his murders.
The Zodiac Killer vibes Riddler is giving off in Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN is the exact reason why I know he’s going to blow our minds pic.twitter.com/lO6JnolYZD
— Walt (@Uber_Kryptonian) May 18, 2021
However, not everyone was on board for the Riddler’s rebranding, as some fans felt that the new costume was too much of a departure from the villain’s original look.
If this was Snyder’s design for The Riddler, how many hour long videos would there be on YouTube right now talking about how Zack doesn’t understand the character? 🤣 https://t.co/F9uW1iYumD
— Logos Naki World (@Blue_EyedPrince) May 19, 2021
While many people claimed that the Riddler’s look was too cartoonish for a live-action adaptation, others pointed out that both Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker managed to win over critics and fans without abandoning the iconic psychotic clown’s classic style.
"Riddler can't be a colorful suit! He'd look out of place in a gritty film!"
But I don't see anyone ever criticize Joker for this? Riddler can still be in the suit + Bowler hat, they can just alter it a little to appear more "ReAlIsTiC." pic.twitter.com/aZnJDosTCo
— Cowman The Mama✨ (@hotsdamn) May 19, 2021
Despite some criticism, the overall reaction to the new Riddler look seems to be positive, with fans willing to give the more gritty style a chance. But the real fan judgment won’t come until the film actually comes to theaters next year.
The Batman is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.