As the Prince of Puzzles, the Riddler had a rather important job in Batman Forever – to leave a trail of clues throughout the movie that would pinpoint his identity. In total, he presented four different riddles, each left in a place where Bruce Wayne (not Batman) could find them.
The first riddle was placed at Wayne Enterprises, while riddles two through four were sent directly to Wayne Manor. But what were the riddles in Batman Forever and what did they all add up to?
The first riddle was left at Bruce Wayne’s office, contained within a large black envelope with a green question mark on the front. Taking the riddle out of the envelope, Bruce was confronted with a card featuring an image of himself.
The image had a tab at the top. Upon pulling the tab the picture expanded to reveal a grotesque, twisted version of his face, with a tongue that revealed the riddle.
The riddle read:
“If you look at the numbers on my face, you won’t find 13 any place.”
The answer to the first riddle was a clock. On a traditional clock there are 12 numbers on the face – never more.
The second riddle was left at Wayne Manor – pinned to the front gates. It was contained within a green envelope, with a large black question mark on the front.
Once again, the riddle appeared on a piece of card featuring an image of Bruce Wayne. A tab sat at the bottom of the card, and the first half of the riddle was written across Bruce’s face.
Pulling the tab transformed Bruce’s face into a green skull. It also revealed the second half of the riddle.
The riddle was as follows:
“Tear one off and scratch my head, what once was red is black instead.”
The answer to the riddle was a match. A match can be torn from a book of matches and then by scratching (or striking) the match’s head it changes colour from red (unused) to black (used).
The third riddle was delivered to Wayne Manor. It was contained on a piece of folded card, and was more elaborate in design than the two previous riddles (a sign that the Riddler was getting more confident).
When Bruce Wayne opened the card, it revealed a group of knights in battle.
The riddle read:
“The eight of us go forth not back, to protect our king from a foe’s attack.”
The ‘eight of us’ that were referenced in this riddle were eight chess pawns. In a game of chess, pawns are used to protect the king. The pawns can move forward, but they cannot move back.
The fourth and final riddle was left inside Wayne Manor, after the Riddler and Two-Face broke into Bruce Wayne’s home. This last riddle was no longer housed on paper and card, it appeared on a more sophisticated contraption with moving parts, set out to look like a tennis court.
The riddle read:
“We’re five little items of an everyday sort, you’ll find us all in a tennis court.”
The answer to this riddle was vowels. The riddle is suggesting that the ‘five little items’ will be found in the three words ‘a tennis court’. The three words – ‘a tennis court’ – contain all five vowels in alphabetical order (A E I O U).
So, what did all of the riddles equate to?
The answers to each riddle were revealed to be red herrings and actually had no meaning – they were simply fun little diversions. The important element of each riddle were the numbers.
After realising that all of the clues contained numbers, Bruce Wayne converted them into corresponding letters of the alphabet (i.e. 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C etc). This provided him with the following:
13 = M 1 = A 8 = H 5 = E
But these letters did not reveal anything, so Bruce combined two of the numbers (1 & 8) to form a new number. This led to:
13 = M 18 = R 5 = E
M R E or MR E – a play on the word ‘mystery’ or an ‘enigma’. It was at this point Bruce deduced that the person sending the riddles was Mr. E Nygma – Edward Nygma who was secretly the Riddler.
What was the point of the riddles?
The riddles were a way for Edward Nygma to flaunt his identity in front of Bruce Wayne (and later Batman) while he continued to commit crimes. He enjoyed dangling his alter-ego in front of Wayne – a man he had become obsessed with.
He knew that Wayne would figure out the clues in time. The fun was in the tease, the chase, and the secret that was hidden amongst the lines of the riddles.
So, what did you think about the Riddler’s riddles in Batman Forever? Were they too easy? Did you like the end solution or do you think the answer to each riddle should have been more important?
Whatever your thoughts and feelings, sound off in the comments section. Heck, you can even pose your own riddles if you like.
And if you have found this post useful, then I recommend you read my post: ‘Why is Batman forever?’ This post takes a look at what the title of Batman Forever really refers to.
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