‘The Batman’ Actor Paul Dano Calls Superhero Fatigue “A Welcome Moment” In Hollywood

Riddler breathes victory
Riddler (Paul Dano) breathes in after killing The Mayor (Rupert Penry-Jones) in The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Pictures

Superhero fatigue is a real thing – at least to the media analysts. All the Marvel and DC flops of 2023 have put moviegoing and the genre into a certain perspective. With things at this critical juncture, folks are wondering what the future holds.

Pattinson reads the tabloids
Bruce (Robert Pattinson) reads a paper so bright he’s got to wear shades in The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Pictures

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Paul Dano, who was The Riddler in one of the more successful comic book films of the last two years (The Batman), was asked about this recently during an interview with The Independent. He thinks this is a time for reflection and opportunity where the genre will either see renewal or replacement.

“It’s an interesting moment where everybody has to go like, ‘OK – what now?’ Hopefully from that, somebody either breathes new life into [comic book movies] or something else blossoms which is not superheroes,” said the actor. “I’m sure there will still be some good ones yet to come, but I think it’s kind of a welcome moment.”

The Riddler's plan unfolds
The Riddler (Paul Dano) watches as his plan unfolds in The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Pictures

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One thing that’s not welcome to Dano is the verbiage of “content” that has crept into the process in the last several years. The actor calls it a “misstep” where quantity became a priority over quality.

“It’s a larger thing, too,” Dano said. “As soon as the word ‘content’ came into what we do – meaning making movies or TV – it meant quantity over quality, which I think was a big misstep. And I certainly don’t need that as a viewer or as an artist.”

Incarcerated Riddler
An incarcerated Riddler (Paul Dano) meets Batman (Robert Pattinson) for the first time in The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Pictures

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But what about The Batman? Was that Matt Reeves-directed thriller just “content”? Dano doesn’t think so. Calling it “a real film,” he professes it jumped out at him as authentic from the moment he first read the script.

“There are enough comic book movies where you just know what you’re gonna get. Reading the script for ‘The Batman,’ you knew it was a real film. Every sentence,” he said, “that’s just Matt Reeves.”

Dano rots in jail
Paul Dano’s Riddler sits in Arkham and befriends The Joker (Barry Keoghan) in The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Pictures

It might not have been Reeves at all as one looming cloud of litigation over the picture suggests, but we shall see what the Cloverfield filmmaker can do with the sequel – whenever a script for that finally turns up.

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