'The Batman's Deleted Joker Scene Is Out (And It Has A Glaring Mistake)
While we’ve yet to see any footage of Bruce Wayne’s parents spending their final Earthy hours enjoying Shrek (yet), Warner Bros. recently released a much-anticipated deleted scene from The Batman. This discarded part has the Dark Knight heading to Arkham State Hospital to visit Joker, the Clown Prince of … what’s the opposite of moisturizing?
The scene finds Batman soliciting Gutterpunk Ronald McDonald (played by Barry Keoghan) for help with the
Zodiac Riddler case because even the world’s greatest detective isn’t above outsourcing his sleuthing to free prison labor, apparently. (He is a billionaire, after all.) The obvious cinematic touchstone here is The Silence of the Lambs – not to mention its predecessor, Manhunter/Red Dragon – in which our hero seeks insight from notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter, who is a trained psychiatrist (and, regrettably, also a trained Samurai).
But while The Batman may have nailed the tone of these influential movies, it somehow missed a key storytelling ingredient – which is probably why the scene needed to be scrapped in the end.
In the Lecter stories, our protagonists’ arrangements with Hannibal ultimately aren’t without a terrible cost. After being underestimated, Lecter always finds a way to manipulate the course of events to his advantage. He rejects his role as a passive observer; in Manhunter/Red Dragon, he secretly corresponds with the killer and doxes Will Graham, and in The Silence of the Lambs, he actually escapes.
This isn’t to say that The Batman needed to copy The Silence of the Lambs any further; we didn’t need Joker to, say, eat his former captor. But the problem is that this deleted storyline is of absolutely zero consequence.
While Lecter’s involvement was a Faustian bargain that blew up in the FBI’s faces, Batman pays no price for turning to Gotham’s ultimate evil for guidance. The filmmakers perfectly captured the vibe of those iconic Lecter scenes but seemingly forgot that they always slyly tied into the larger narrative at some point. Plus, Joker doesn’t give Batman any information he doesn’t already have, or won’t soon obtain from somewhere else, further dooming the scene to the same fate as that deleted scene from Back to the Future where Marty worries about whether his time-traveling exploits will turn him “gay.” (Your mom has for sure fantasized about “Calvin Klein” while fluxing your dad's capacitor. You got bigger concerns, McFly.)
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Top Image: Warner Bros.