This article contains major spoilers for The Batman.
Has your heart ever raced so hard while you’re sitting in a movie theater because of the events happening onscreen that your Apple Watch gives you what’s basically a “quiet” alert?
The answer to this question for me was “no”. Until I see Matt Reeves The Batman, and Unseen Arkham Prisoner took to the screen to push Paul Dano’s Riddler to new levels of madness only found in Arkham Asylum. Unseen Arkham Prisoner isn’t just a throwaway character, however. This character with only a few minutes of screen time is none other than Reeves’ take on the infamous Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker himself – presented chaotically on screen by none other than the Joker. amazing Barry Keoghan.
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Keoghan has been rumored to be portraying this character for several months now, and once again the Hollywood rumor mill delivered on its promise when Keoghan’s prosthetically scarred face barely made its way to the screen near the end. of the Batman. Keoghan has proven he can dive into dark depths that match those of Dano’s Riddler with previous roles – notably his role alongside his compatriot The Batman actor Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. It’s no surprise that in his brief on-screen moments in Arkham Asylum, Keoghan proves himself worthy of yet another reboot of the Joker character.
In the scene, we see the Joker pushing the Riddler to deeper depths of madness, urging the man not to let go of the chaos across Gotham and insisting he’ll have more opportunities to play his games with the citizens of what must be the most dangerous city on Earth, and especially the Dark Knight himself. The scene ends with Keoghan presenting his eerie, sinister, chaotic, piercing laugh as Gotham’s most infamous villain (which earned him a resounding applause during my screening).
Following his brief introduction to the new Reeves Batman universe, where will we see Keoghan’s Joker next…and how long will we have to wait? Unfortunately, this may take some time.
Keoghan has some big shoes to fill – and not just because they’re clown shoes. This is the third iteration of the Joker to be introduced to cinemas in just a few years – Jared Leto took on the role in 2016 The Suicide Squad and was followed by Joaquin Phoenix’s earnest Oscar-winning performance as Batman’s greatest enemy in 2019. Joker. None of these performances live up to the precedent set by the late Heath Ledger with The black Knightand while I truly believe Keoghan could live up to the standard set by Ledger, unfortunately Hollywood has become oversaturated with Joker content and audiences are demanding other Gotham villains be featured.
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That sentiment appears to be shared by Reeves, who briefly discussed Keoghan’s appearance in The Batman with Variety. Immediately after confirming that the role we see Keoghan tackle is the Joker, Reeves explains that this doesn’t mean we’ll see Keoghan return to the role. “It’s not an easter egg scene,” Reeves said, “It’s not one of those Marvel or DC end credits scenes where it goes, like, ‘Hey, here’s the next movie !’ In fact, I have no idea when or if we will return to this character in the films.
However, later in the same interview, Reeves states, “There could be places [for the Joker to show up]. There are things I’m very interested in in an Arkham space, potentially for HBO Max. There are things we talked about there. So it’s very possible. It’s also not impossible that there will be a recurring story where Joker enters our world.
With the greenlit previously The Penguin (working title) upcoming limited series from HBO Max, and the establishment that Keoghan’s Joker has already wreaked havoc in Gotham (so already in Arkham Asylum), I’ll definitely be crossing my fingers that Keoghan makes an appearance in those series . Those wishing to see more of the character will have to wait for Reeves to post the deleted scene from The Batman with a longer look at Keoghan as an invisible prisoner.
For now, Keoghan’s future in Reeves The Batman the universe will remain an unanswered riddle.