When Batman Forever burst on to the big screen in 1995, it did so with two villains front and centre: The Riddler and Two-Face. The Riddler aka Edward Nygma, was played by Jim Carrey, while Tommy Lee Jones took on the part of Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent.
These colourful characters took over the screen and proved to be a formidable pairing for the Caped Crusader. But there was something significant about the two villains – did you notice it?
The motivations of the Riddler and Two-Face
In Batman Forever, Edward Nygma is a researcher at Wayne Enterprises. He is working on a new invention which can bring thoughts to life and is keen to share this with Bruce Wayne.
Nygma has developed an obsession with Wayne – he idolises him. But when the billionaire dismisses his invention on ethical grounds, it tips Nygma over the edge and his obsession takes a sinister turn.
Nygma adopts the persona of the Riddler and begins to stalk Wayne – something he continues to do throughout the movie. His sole motivation in Batman Forever is to get even with Bruce Wayne for dismissing him.
On the flip side, Harvey Dent was Gotham City’s District Attorney. His life changed direction when he was physically and mentally scarred in a courtroom acid attack.
Although the Caped Crusader was not responsible for Dent’s disfigurement, the former D.A. blamed Batman for the incident – as well as everything else that followed (his criminal career, his incarceration etc). Dent’s sole motivation in Batman Forever is to kill Batman.
And this is what is important about the two villains in Batman Forever: They want to harm Bruce Wayne AND Batman. Edward Nygma has a grudge against Bruce Wayne, while Two-Face has a grudge against Batman.
What’s even more interesting is that Nygma doesn’t really care about harming Batman, and Dent has no major interest in Bruce Wayne. It is only when they learn of the Bruce/Batman connection that they become interested in the other persona.
Throughout Batman Forever, Bruce faces an internal struggle about his life as Batman. The villains he faces in the movie are specifically introduced to create conflicts for both his personas.
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