Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The Riddler's Cards In The Batman Mean More Than You Think

The following article contains spoilers for "The Batman."

The Riddler (Paul Dano) has never been more of an enigmatic figure than in "The Batman." While previous live-action iterations have seen the character as a bit of a jokester, particularly when it comes to Jim Carrey's take on the character in "Batman Forever," he's deadly serious in this one, taking on the aesthetic of a Zodiac-type serial killer in Gotham. To make that real-world connection all the more apparent, Riddler leaves behind puzzles and ciphers at the scenes of his crimes for Batman (Robert Pattinson) and Gotham P.D. to solve. He's cryptic, all the way down to his capture, when the cops realize he has two separate I.D. cards on him.

However, Riddler may be even slyer than most viewers initially gave him credit before. As it turns out, he hid secret Batman references throughout many of the film's scenes in plain sight. But you have to be a real Batman aficionado to catch all of them.

Each of Riddler's cards correlate to a different Batman villain

It becomes a recurring motif throughout "The Batman" that Riddler leaves a card behind for the titular vigilante at each crime scene. The cards hold significance to the plot by typically containing a riddle for Batman to solve, but the cards themselves make for fun Easter eggs all on their own for eagle-eyed fans.

Each card connects to a different Batman villain. Perhaps the best-known example of this is with the first card containing an owl featured in "The Batman" trailer. Many fans quickly pointed out the connection to the Court of Owls storyline, with many believing the arc could factor into the sequel's plot. It's unknown if that will be the case, but it nonetheless makes for a fun addition. Similar Easter eggs can be found with the remaining four cards, as each one connects with a different Batman villain. 

The second card contains an image of a mad scientist who bears a striking resemblance to Hugo Strange. The third card features a picture of a woman dressed in green, which immediately makes one think of Poison Ivy. The fourth card is where things get tricky. It's just a black background with two large eyes looking toward the viewer. It's reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat in "Alice in Wonderland," and of course, Batman has a villain who goes by the name of Mad Hatter.

Last but not least, the fifth and final card has a boy with a puppet. Fans of "Batman: The Animated Series" will likely recall The Ventriloquist and Scarface, a man and puppet duo who commit various crimes in Gotham. Any of these villains would make fun additions to "The Batman" mythos, but for now, they're relegated to references.

Other connections to Batman's rogues gallery

Batman has some of the most iconic adversaries out of any villain out there. No doubt this is helped in part from the litany of Batman projects that have materialized over the years, giving fans a glimpse into the likes of Scarecrow, Penguin, and more. While the cards hinting at other villains within Batman lore would be enough for most filmmakers, there are additional, stronger hints that some of Batman's foes are out there, just waiting to make a grand entrance in "The Batman 2" and beyond. 

The most obvious reference to this is when Riddler is locked away in Arkham Asylum toward the end of the film. He's naturally bummed that his plans went into the sewer (despite causing ample carnage and flooding Gotham), and he could use some cheering up. That's where his cellmate next door comes in handy. While this individual never receives a name, anyone who's seen a Batman property before can surmise it's Joker by his signature laugh and reference to clowns. 

That's not the only potential reference found in the film. As Batman fights Riddler's minions, he finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He's beaten and worn down, but Catwoman's at the mercy of one of the foes. To give himself a quick burst of energy, Batman reaches for a vial containing a green liquid. He then injects himself with the material, and suddenly, he's on his feet once again and beating the snot out of the enemy. Given the enhanced strength and brutality he displayed, it seems the substance is awfully similar to the Venom Bane has used throughout his run as one of Batman's villains. Could this mean we'll get Joker and Bane in one movie in the future? One can only hope.