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Which Villain Did Jim Carrey Play In Batman Forever

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Reading: Which Villain Did Jim Carrey Play In Batman Forever

Jim Carrey's Riddler in Batman Forever was a perfect incarnation of the villain – even better than Paul Dano's take on the character for The Batman. While Joel Schumacher's Batman films may have left a lot to be desired in some aspects, they weren't entirely without merit. In fact, one of the best decisions Schumacher made in his Batman films was casting Jim Carrey as the Riddler in 1995's Batman Forever.

Carrey starred alongside Val Kilmer's Caped Crusader in a film that also introduced Chris O'Donnell's Robin and Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face. As Batman Forever focused on establishing its heroes' dynamic, its villains were perhaps given less development than they deserved. However, while Tommy Lee Jones seemed out of place as Two-Face, Carrey's Riddler was an interesting character that was a key part of Batman Forever's plot.

Related: The Batman's New Riddler Origin Supports Live-Action Hush Theory

In fact, though he may have been stuck in a sub-par film, Carrey's casting as the Riddler was a near-perfect choice for the character. The actor seems practically born to play the character and brought him to life in a way that's not been replicated since. This actually makes Carrey's Riddler perhaps the ultimate incarnation of the Ridder – maybe even better than Paul Dano's new spin on the character for The Batman.

Carrey's Riddler Was Comic Accurate

which villain did jim carrey play in batman forever

Adapting the Riddler from the Batman comics isn't an easy task. Traditionally, he's an eccentric, cartoonish figure – much more so than many of Batman's villains – and therefore, including him in gritter, darker takes on the Dark Knight's story isn't something that's overly straightforward. With most recent adaptations steering clear of the sillier aspects of Batman's history, the Riddler is a character who often undergoes serious changes during the translation from page to screen.

Carrey's version of the character, however, embraced the campy wackiness of the comics' Riddler. He was still a brilliant scientist with a keen and penetrating mind, but he was also dangerous and insecure – all traits very much in keeping with the character's traditional backstory.  Even Carrey's Riddler costume was closer to the comic character's design – something that Dano's Riddler costume in The Batman has distanced itself from.

Carrey's Comedy Works Perfectly For The Riddler

which villain did jim carrey play in batman forever

Carrey's specific brand of energetic, rubber-faced comedy is what made him a star, and it's only natural that he'd bring elements of it to the character of the Riddler. While at times this made Carrey's Riddler feel a little closer to the Joker than he should have been, his specific talents were actually put to good use in his turn as the character. By working in a balance between the actor's bankable comedy and the character's comic accuracy, Carrey's Riddler struck the appropriate chord.

Related: The Batman’s Catwoman Could Explain Riddler’s Plans: Theory Explained

The Riddler is certainly one of Batman's most eccentric villains, which not only fit right in with the tone of Schumacher's Batman movies, but also with Carrey's flamboyant, attention-grabbing antics. The Riddler has always been a character that's driven by his need to have his self-perceived genius recognized, so having Carrey's comedy serve as an extension of his desire to be seen works on a deeper level. While some believe Carrey's Riddler attempted to channel the Joker, his comedic chops actually fed into a nuanced iteration of the character.

Dano's Riddler Is A New, Darker Take On The Character

which villain did jim carrey play in batman forever

With Matt Reeves' The Batman being a darker take on the source material, it's only natural that its version of the Riddler feels very different from Carrey's. Paul Dano's Riddler is a new spin on the Batman mainstay, complete with a creepy new costume and unnerving speech pattern. So far, it seems that Dano's Riddler will be about as far from Carrey's version of the character as possible.

The Riddler's backstory in The Batman will be far more serious than in Batman Forever, with Dano's character based on the real-life Zodiac Killer, who famously taunted the press with coded messages. While the Riddler in the comics has always been a dangerous criminal, he's often played off as something of a joke. Dano's character being far more serious is an interesting spin on the character, as his Riddler is already far too scary to be dismissed in the same manner as his comic book counterpart. Even with that in mind, it will be hard for Dano's Riddler to compete with Carrey's without changing the character almost beyond recognition.

How Carrey's Riddler Will Influence Dano's

which villain did jim carrey play in batman forever

While Batman Forever's and The Batman's Riddler might seem as though they couldn't be more different, Carrey's Riddler will undoubtedly influence Dano's. With Joel Schumacher's Batman movies being so widely disliked, distancing The Batman's characters from those of Batman Forever will surely have been a consideration. With the two films' sharing such a high profile Batman villain in the Riddler, Matt Reeves and Paul Dano will surely have taken steps to downplay any potential similarities.

Related: The Batman: Riddler's Arrest Is All Part Of His Plan – Theory Explained

As the motivation behind the actions of Dano's Riddler has been partially revealed, it's clear that there's some personal animosity between Dano's Edward Nashton and Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne. This isn't dissimilar to Carrey's version of the character, although the vastly different tone of The Batman seeks to avoid the problems of Batman Forever. It seems that the biggest way Carrey's Riddler has influenced Dano's is in the way it forced The Batman to approach its villain from a very different, darker (and less comic-accurate) angle.

Behind The Scenes Issues Made Carrey's Riddler Better

which villain did jim carrey play in batman forever

It wasn't just Carrey's comedic talents that made his Riddler work. There were actually a number of issues behind the scenes that added an extra layer to his performance. It's not necessarily immediately apparent upon watching Batman Forever, but tensions between Carrey and his co-star (and fellow villain) Tommy Lee Jones ran high. This likely fed into Carrey's performance as the Riddler, as it draws significant parallels between Carrey and the characterization of his Riddler.

While Jim Carrey's Batman Forever Riddler isn't the most popular version of the character, it was an accurate characterization of the insecure criminal mastermind from the comics. However, no one despised Carrey's Riddler more than Tommy Lee Jones, who reportedly hated working with the comedy megastar. In one particularly heated moment, Jones allegedly told Carrey: "I cannot sanction your buffoonery." This draws distinct parallels with the Riddler – a brilliant man whose frustration stems from his talents going unrecognized. At the time, Carrey had yet to play any of the dramatic roles that cemented his status as a talented actor, and it was almost certainly a frustrating experience to be dismissed by someone like Jones in such a manner.

Many openly speak of their dislike for the film, making Batman Forever often underrated by fans. However, Carrey's over-the-top Riddler was actually a remarkable spin on the character that managed to be both comic accurate and unique, and it set the stage for Paul Dano to bring a very different version of the Riddler to screens everywhere. Whether Carrey's Batman Forever Riddler will ever be considered better than Dano's in The Batman seems unlikely, but the wacky 1995 version was actually far more effective than it gets credit for.

Next: The Batman's Riddler Is Borrowing A Villain Trick From Dark Knight's Joker


Key Release Dates
  • The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
  • Black Adam (2022)Release date: Oct 21, 2022
  • The Flash (2023)Release date: Jun 23, 2023
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)Release date: Mar 17, 2023
  • DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)Release date: Dec 21, 2022
  • Blue Beetle (2023)Release date: Aug 18, 2023

Spider-Man Video Celebrates Film's 20th Anniversary


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