Ranking Batman on Film’s Rogues’ Gallery — Part 1
Batman is, perhaps, the only comic book super hero that has a Rogue’s Gallery almost as popular as he is. Yes, Superman has Lex Luthor and Doomsday. Spider-Man has The Green Goblin and Kingpin. But Batman has dozens of antagonists: The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face, The Riddler, Catwoman, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Court of Owls, The Condiment King and more. Batman has come face to face with a variety of criminals, all vying for his attention and the attribute of being “the best.” Obviously, The Joker is the best but that is not to discredit any of Batman’s other foes. Batman has appeared in 10 live-action films thus far (not including Suicide Squad or animated films). In those films, he has faced a wide-array of his most well-known villains.
20) The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler & Catwoman – Batman ‘66
These four get to share an entry, because they all pretty much played the same role, and they did so gleefully and tongue-in-cheekily.
19) Bane – Batman and Robin
What happens when director Joel Schumacher gets ahold of one of Batman’s most intimidating enemies? He turns him into a WWF Wrestler.
18) Steppenwolf – Justice League
The only reason Steppenwolf isn’t dead last on this list is because we really like the band.
17) Mr. Freeze – Batman and Robin
With ice puns aplenty, Mr. Freeze was one of the biggest reasons Batman and Robin was such a bomb with critics and fans. Director Joel Schumacher took a character with a tremendous backstory and turned him into a laughingstock.
16) Poison Ivy – Batman and Robin
Uma Thurman is a good actress. Poison Ivy is a good character. Yet, for some reason, Uma Thurman was awful as Poison Ivy. We’re not sure if it was the writing, direction or performance but Poison Ivy was decidedly not a good Batman villain. She was more of a nuisance than anything who, like her frozen counterpart, relied too much on puns.
15) Two-Face – Batman Forever
Tommy Lee Jones could have been a very good Two-Face. He’s a very capable actor and had just anger boiling inside of him to be incredibly compelling. Unfortunately, the Two-Face in Batman Forever fell flat. Jones tried too hard to be Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and it really showed.
14) Talia Al Ghul – The Dark Knight Rises
Talia Al Ghul was one of the worst parts about The Dark Knight Rises. She seemed a bit shoehorned in and her performance left a little to be desired, but! Even being the worst part about The Dark Knight Rises still makes her better than most characters from films. Even though Talia’s plan was a bit obnoxious, she brought the saga of Bruce Wayne full circle and completed what many believe is the greatest film trilogy of all time.
13) Max Shreck – Batman Returns
Honestly, we would watch a movie about the early days of Max Shreck in a heartbeat. The character of Max Shreck was original to the film Batman Returns, but we’re shocked he hasn’t been added to other ‘Bat-Canons.’ In many cases, Batman’s villains have at least some sort of tragic backstory. We’re able to empathize with them, at least a little bit. With Shreck, however, there is no empathizing. He is a selfish narcissistic sociopath.
12) The Riddler – Batman Forever
Riddle me this, riddle me that — who’s afraid of the big black bat? Jim Carrey certainly wasn’t, which is why he took on the role of The Riddler in 1995’s Batman Forever. Carrey was on fire in the mid-’90s, and him playing a villain in a Batman movie was a legitimate get for the franchise.
11) Scarecrow – Batman Begins
It was a bit disheartening that Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow was reduced to a joke in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. In Batman Begins, he was quite the formidable foe. With his fear gas and his intelligence, Scarecrow was a realistic take on one of Batman’s B-Team Rogues, but he proved he can hang with the big boys in this film.