At the tail end (uropatagium end?) of “The Batman’s” nearly three-hour running time, we hear what sounds like a familiar voice. As with Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” from 2005 concluding with a glimpse of a playing card, the chatty fellow inmate at Arkham State Hospital is a nod at the Dark Knight Detective’s eternal foe, The Joker.
It was a poorly kept secret prior to the film’s release that Barry Keoghan would, in some capacity, make an appearance as the Clown Prince of Crime in Matt Reeves’s pocket universe Bat-picture. Unknown was just how it would fit in.
As it turned out in the final cut, it’s just a mint on the pillow, with Joker whipping Paul Dano’s Riddler into a madman’s frenzy. There’s no interaction with Robert Pattinson’s Batman. Indeed, there’s not even a full recognition of who this character is, not that anyone could have any doubt. (I suppose very little kids may not know what’s going on, but that’s an opportunity for their parent or guardian to then take the tyke aside and fill them in on 83 years of Bat-lore!)
But as it turns out, an earlier cut of the film had more Joker in it. Indeed, a version existed in which The Caped Crusader, while trying to sleuth out the Riddler’s next move, went to Arkham to try and pick The Joker’s brain. Think of a “Silence of the Lambs” scenario but with more pancake makeup.
The clip, about five minutes long (and shot ultra-dark, so keep your computer away from any glare) hit the internet this week, and Bat-fans naturally went Bat-nanans. It concludes with Joker getting under Batman’s cowl, suggesting that, deep down, he secretly agrees that Riddler’s beliefs, even if he disagrees with his methods … and then breaks into full-on Joker cackles. Creepy!
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