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

The Worst Mistake Matt Reeves' The Batman 2 Can Make

After a difficult few years in production, Matt Reeves' "The Batman" finally arrived in theaters last month to much critical acclaim, albeit with a few complaints about the extended running time of two hours and 56 minutes. But the sprawling conspiracy of corruption in Reeves' crime-riddled Gotham warrants his full vision, with Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) fighting for the city's soul in this dirty, scrappy, and downright fascinating world.

Critics and audiences praised Pattinson's performance as the tortured billionaire, proving once and for all that he's much more than the sparkly vampire from "Twilight." Film fans have long discussed how Pattinson has evolved over the years, delivering knockout performances in "Good Time," "High Life," "The Lighthouse," and "Tenet." But his turn as the Caped Crusader has firmly won over mainstream audiences — and his work is only elevated by equally incredible performances from Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman and Paul Dano as the terrifying Riddler.

Reeves transforms the Riddler from a sharp suit-wearing trickster into a powerful force of rage that riffs on the Zodiac Killer. Dano's villain forces Batman to look at his own legacy, and it's extremely effective for his journey to becoming a symbol of hope rather than vengeance.

For now, the question most fans have is "What's next?" Thankfully, Warner Bros. has already given the go-ahead for the sequel, so we'll definitely get more from this moody Dark Knight.

But the worst mistake Reeves' "The Batman 2" can make is play it safe with its choice of villain, especially after how complex the Riddler is. We've already been introduced to Barry Keoghan as his ultimate nemesis, the Joker, but we absolutely do not need another movie based around the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Batman 2 doesn't need the Joker as the main villain

No, seriously –"The Batman 2" should avoid using the Joker as the main villain. This new franchise is an opportunity to do surprising things with the World's Greatest Detective. Sure, Matt Reeves' story uses similar beats that we've seen in previous movies, but questioning Bruce's legacy as the last Wayne was something new. That should be the focus of the sequel and beyond, but the Joker doesn't need to be a part of that whatsoever.

Obviously, the Joker is a great character, and his chaotic nature is something audiences will always enjoy watching. There's often no reason behind his violence; he enjoys dishing out pain and suffering just because it's funny — which makes him scarier than typical bad guys.

But we've had so many Jokers over the years that the chaos is no longer spontaneous and interesting; it's predictable. Audiences already know what they're getting out of the villain: a creepy psychopath who waxes lyrical about the state of order and upsetting the balance of society before murdering people in brutal, outlandish ways. It's an easy choice that could be boring, unfortunately.

Now, Barry Keoghan is an incredibly talented star — you just have to look at the likes of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" or "American Animals" to see that. There's no doubt that his Joker would be a worthy adversary of Robert Pattinson's Batman, and they've clearly got chemistry if the deleted interrogation scene in Arkham is anything to go by.

But we've seen so many Jokers in recent years that it's just not going to have the same impact as if we hadn't had Cameron Monaghan's twisted killer on "Gotham," Jared Leto's mobster in "Suicide Squad," and Joaquin Phoenix's tortured outsider in "Joker."

More Joker is inevitable, but don't tie him to Bruce

Let's face it: Whenever a new Batman project comes around, it isn't long before the Joker will show up somewhere — so it's inevitable that Barry Keoghan's clown will return. But the 2022 movie has already proven that doing something different with the villain is far more interesting.

When we meet him in "The Batman," he's already locked up in Arkham — and the deleted scene suggests that the Bat put him there a year before the events of the film. The five-minute-long scene sees the Dark Knight visit the clown to help get insight into how the Riddler's brain works.

That's a much more fascinating dynamic than having the Joker out on the streets doing whatever he likes. It's very similar to Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs," and quite frankly, the Joker should stay behind bars. Use him as a behind-the-scenes puppet master if you really need to, Warner Bros. — but just do something different. And for the love of God, please don't tie him to Bruce in any way; it's been done before, and we don't need it again.

Making Jack Nicholson's gangster the person who kills Thomas and Martha worked well in 1989's "Batman" — but doing something similar here will feel cheap. To be honest, it was eye roll-worthy that Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) meets a kid version of Bruce (Dante Pereira-Olson) in 2019's "Joker."

The Riddler's connection to the Wayne family and the Rebirth initiative was a perfect way of recontextualizing the villain in "The Batman," but doing it again would be predictable. Batman doesn't always have to be directly tied to his villains, Warner Bros. He can fight them just because they're doing bad things!

Matt Reeves should pick a villain fresher than the Joker

When it comes to the main villain of "The Batman 2," Matt Reeves should pick someone who hasn't had the spotlight as much as the Joker. The director already told Collider that he's got a good idea for Mr. Freeze, saying, "I think there's actually a grounded version of that story, which could be really powerful and could be really great." But we have a few other ideas — and it all depends on how the Riddler's actions affect the rest of Gotham following the devastating flood at the end of "The Batman."

The film shows some of the citizens coming out in support of his war on corruption, so it's not a stretch to imagine that he'll inspire other criminals to don a unique look of their own. If serial killers start coming out of the woodwork, we could easily see Reeves' grimy interpretations of villains like Professor Pyg or the cannibalistic Flamingo in the sequel. Yes, we know they're typically Dick Grayson's foes from his time as Batman in the Grant Morrison era, but their unhinged nature makes them perfect for this world.

But the seeds have also been sown for Hush, aka Tommy Elliot, with a journalist named Edward Elliot having been killed as part of the plot involving Thomas and Martha Wayne. It'd be easy to say his son wants revenge.

Whatever the plan for the villain in "The Batman 2" is, they should help build toward an endgame of sorts — the Court of Owls. The Court is a secret organization of the wealthy elite that run Gotham to benefit themselves, and it could easily be the real culprit behind the corruption that's infected Gotham. Either way, let's hope Reeves delivers something special.