Does the Riddler Know Batman Is Really Bruce Wayne? (SPOILERS)
Spoiler alert: This article contains massive spoilers for The Batman.
If you believe that Matt Reeves' The Batman is overhyped, think again; it's a masterpiece.
The nearly three-hour detective tale draws inspiration from Batman: Year Two, in which an emo Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) is in his second year as the established vigilante. The crime and corruption in Gotham are at an all-time high, especially with sadistic serial killer the Riddler (Paul Dano) on the loose.
Throughout the superhero flick, viewers witness the Riddler address all of his riddles to Batman. The titular character then embarks on a pursuit for the murderous supervillain, ultimately aiding the GCPD in capturing him and sending him to Arkham.
While there, the Riddler requests the Caped Crusader meet him in person, and there, the Riddler strongly implies that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne. Well, does he? Does the Riddler know who Batman is? Let's find out!
Does the Riddler know Batman's real identity?
Following the Riddler's attempt to murder Bruce Wayne, where he incapacitates Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis) instead, Bruce (as Batman) heads to the Iceberg Lounge, where he discovers that Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) has been the rat the entire time.
Before James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and the GCPD can arrest the mob boss, the Riddler shoots him from a nearby building. Somewhat in an act of surrender, the Riddler — unmasked as forensics accountant Edward Nashton — is imprisoned at Arkham.
Eventually, Batman arrives at Arkham upon the Riddler's request, and the Riddler reveals he was envious of the compassion Bruce received as an orphan because he himself was neglected. During this chilling scene, the Riddler starts forcibly crying out Bruce Wayne's name while making intense eye contact with Batman; his dialogue and eccentricity heavily suggest that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne.
Though Gotham's Dark Knight is visibly tense, given how much Riddler knows about Gotham's corrupt socialites, he soon discovers that the Riddler does not know who Batman is under the mask.
As soon as the Riddler refers to Bruce as "he" instead of "you," Batman instantly relaxes and steps into the light to face the villain head-on. Then, the Riddler begins chatting about his failed attempt to kill Bruce Wayne, but soon credits his overall success to him and Batman working together.
This outrageous insinuation sets Batman off, as he forcefully denies the idea of the pair working together this whole time. Now, this encourages the audience to query: if the Riddler knew Batman was Bruce Wayne, why would he believe he and the crime-fighting bat would be working together to murder Bruce?
Clearly, the only person who definitely knows Batman is Bruce Wayne is Alfred. Hopefully, it stays this way for the rest of the franchise, but you never know — Jim Gordon or Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) may find out. Now, what we don't want to happen is for one of Batman's notorious foes to discover his alter ego because that would be one hell of a nightmare.
The Batman is now playing in theaters.