Best Batman Movie Villains of All-Time
With 'The Batman' in theaters now, we countdown the Dark Knight's greatest movie foes.
There is no comic book superhero with more iconic villains than Batman! Most heroes have one or two famous enemies, but the Caped Crusader has more than a handful that are now household names.
Most of Batman’s most dangerous adversaries have appeared in a film alongside the masked hero, but a few have starred in their own movies like ‘Catwoman,’ ‘Joker,’ ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).’
While two actors have won Oscars for portraying Batman’s most iconic villain the Joker, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix for ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Joker,’ respectively. And the list of Oscar-winning actors that have played Batman villains includes Jack Nicholson, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, Tommy Lee Jones, and Marion Cottillard.
With ‘The Batman’ currently in theaters, we’ve decided to countdown the ten greatest Batman movie villains of all time. For this list, we are only including villains from pure Batman movies, not other DC films like ‘Justice League’ or ‘Suicide Squad.’
10) Ra's al Ghul - Batman Begins / The Dark Knight Rises
While he starts off in ‘Batman Begins’ as Bruce Wayne’s mentor Henri Ducard, Liam Neeson’s character is eventually revealed to be Ra’s al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows. One of Batman’s greatest enemies from the comics, and grandfather to Wayne’s own son, Ra’s al Ghul was a great addition to Christopher Nolan’s series, and even returned for a cameo in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’
9) Scarecrow - The Dark Knight
Also first appearing in 'Batman Begins,' Cillian Murphy's Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, is the only villain to appear in all three of Christopher Nolan's 'Dark Knight' movies. The actor's menacing and realistic performance brought new dimensions to the scary comic book character.
8) Riddler - Batman Forever
Jim Carrey stole every scene he was in, in the otherwise forgettable, ‘Batman Forever.’ As the Riddler, the comedian went “full-Carey” and delivered a fun and absolutely outrageous performance, which unfortunately was not enough to save the rest of the movie.
7) Two-Face - The Dark Knight
The bar was set low for Two-Face after Tommy Lee Jones’ hammy performance in ‘Batman Forever,’ and Aaron Eckhart hit it out of the park. The movie allows us to see the origin of the character, and watch his evolution from heroic attorney, to disfigured madman.
6) Bane - The Dark Knight Rises
While 'The Dark Knight Rises' did not mark Bane's first on screen appearance, that unfortunately was 'Batman & Robin,' Tom Hardy's performance is clearly the best. Putting the odd voice choice aside, the actor is physically commanding and completely believable as the man that broke Batman's back.
5) Maximillian Shreck - Batman Returns
An original character created for Tim Burton's 'Batman Returns,' corrupt businessman Maximillian Shreck almost causes more trouble for Batman than Penguin and Catwoman. Played ruthlessly and with complete joy by the great Christopher Walken, he is an equal advisory for both Batman and Bruce Wayne, tries to get Penguin elected Mayor of Gotham, and is the reason Selina Kyle becomes the Catwoman.
4) Penguin - Batman Returns
Taking what Burgess Meredith created on the 'Batman' TV series and making it a million times darker, was exactly how Danny DeVito portrayed Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin in Tim Burton's sequel. In fact, the actor's performance was so horrific and scary (as it should be), McDonald's refused to put toys of the character in their Happy Meals.
3) Joker - Batman
Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix may have won Oscars for playing the Joker on screen, but to anyone who group up in the 80's and 90's, Jack Nicholson is the one true Joker. Not only was his performance hilarious and unexpected, taking the role set a precedent for other Oscar-winning actors to play comic book characters on screen.
2) Catwoman - Batman Returns
While Michelle Pfeiffer was not originally cast as Catwoman in 'Batman Returns,' that was Annette Bening, her name has become synonymous with the role. Pfeiffer gives a stellar performance, both as Selina Kyle and Catwoman. She is strong, funny, and stylish, and has great chemistry with both Michael Keaton and DeVito.
1) Joker - The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger is the first actor to ever win an Oscar for playing a comic book character. As great as all the Joker actors were before him, and have been since, Ledger’s performance is still clearly the best. The actor channeled a chaotic madness that perfectly matched the character, and his one on one scenes with Christian Bale’s Batman are some of the best cinematic moments in the franchise’s history.