By George Bate
The deleted scene from The Batman, recently released by director and writer Matt Reeves, has fans discussing the appearance of Barry Keoghan’s Joker. The scene is fascinating on a number of levels, so much so that a neat detail is very easy to overlook.
The scene sees Batman (Robert Pattinson) visit Arkham State Hospital to consult with Joker about the ongoing Riddler case. Presumably, this scene would have occurred after the death of the commissioner in the film, but before the funeral scene and the death of the attorney general (Peter Sarsgard). Batman desperately pursues clues to unlock the secrets of the Riddler’s diabolical game, and consulting with a nemesis like Joker highlights the lengths to which he is willing to go to solve this mystery.
In true The Silence of the Lambs style, the lead consults with a mad man to find another mad man. Whereas Jodie Foster’s Agent Clarice Starling comes to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter with questions, we see the Batman come to Joker and hand-deliver him a file on the Riddler to look through.
Eagle eyed viewers will notice that the file Batman hands to Joker includes a myriad of papers compiled together using a paper clip. As the lengthy dialogue scene comes to a close, however, Batman takes the file back, except now the file is missing the paper clip. This is a small and incidental, yet very purposeful, detail placed into the scene by director Matt Reeves. Joker is a master manipulator and is as intelligent as he is insane. In meticulously playing mind games to get under Batman’s skin, Joker distracts the world’s greatest detective long enough to steal the paper clip.
With teases that Joker will be the villain in the sequel to The Batman, it’ll be interesting to see how the events of this deleted scene play a role in the subsequent film. Could the subtle theft of the paper clip prelude Joker’s escape from Arkham? We’ll have to wait and see.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros.