Aloha friends! SwimmytheDolphin here! I thought in honor of Batman's 75th anniversary, I would rank my personal favorite villains of the best hero in comics! This also functions as a good way to pick a villain for a new Batman Reboot, as I've seen rumors that one is coming in 2019.
On the subject of the Batman 75th anniversary shirt contest thingy (if you have no idea what I just said you can skip this paragraph), I've always wanted to do a top 10 list for Batman villains because I find them all so fascinating in how they are not only physical obstacles for Batman, but also emotional and psychological, which is why Batman is regarded as having the best rogue's gallery in comics. So I hope you'll consider this article when you are deciding who wins the contest!
But I digress. For each villain we are going to look at who they are, what makes them a great villain, my favorite portrayal of them, and then decide whether or not they would be a suitable villain for a Batman reboot. So grab your shark repellent as we go on an adventure exploring the people that I believe are the most formidable Bat-adversaries!
Kicking off our list is...
10. HARLEY QUINN:
Who Is She?: Doctor Harleen Quinzel (they weren't even trying with that name) was once a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum trying to explore the minds of criminals to find out why her dad became a con artist. She soon became fascinated with the Joker, and being the absolute hunk that he is, the Joker eventually twisted and reconfigured her mind until she eventually fell in love with him and became his sort of girlfriendy sidekicky person.
Why She is a Great Villain?: If you've seen Batman: The Animated Series, you know that Harley Quinn is probably the most adorably evil villain of the Batman rogue's gallery. Sporting a gigantic hammer at times, she provides even more entertainment and comedy to an already entertaining and comedic villain. She's also the only villain to the best of my knowledge to have ever made Batman laugh. Yes, it happened: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2e96W0hYz0). On a completely unrelated note, Batman has also sung before: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55zpDpTbAiw).
Favorite Portrayal: Arleen Sorkin in any episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
Possible Reboot Villain?: I could definitely see her in a sequel, and would love to, but maybe not the first Batman movie, because A. The Joker would already have to be established, and B. A dark tone would already have to be established with this new Batman series before Harley Quinn made it a little lighter. They could have her in the first one, however I think for all intents and purposes it would be better to have her in a sequel.
9. THE RIDDLER:
Who Is He?: Edward Nigma was always fascinated by puzzles and riddles as a child, and he turned to a life of over-exaggerated crimes to prove that he has superior intellect to everyone else, including Batman. All his crimes involve leaving riddles at certain places in Gotham to try and lead Batman and the police to him, testing if they are smart enough.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: The Riddler is the villain that tests Batman's intelligence and detective skills more than any other villain does. His riddles also provide a way for the audience to get involved in trying to solve them just as Batman is trying to solve them as well. He is also a more comedic villain than some others and can provide a lighter tone to a comic for instance in his personality.
Favorite Portrayal: Frank Gorshin in the 1966 Batman TV show (come on, it's hilarious).
Possible Reboot Villain?: Not quite. I enjoyed Jim Carey's performance in Batman: Forever, and there are a few other villains that I would like to see in a Batman Reboot first, so let's keep looking.
8. RA'S AL GHUL:
Who Is He?: Arabic for "The Demon's Head", "Ra's al Ghul" is a several century old Eco-terrorist and frequent foe of the Batman. Using his Lazarus Pit to stay immortal, heal injuries, and go slightly insane at times, he is hellbent on his quest to preserve Earth and eradicate the human race, often butting heads with Batman and other DC heroes using his group of ninja's, The League of Assassins.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: Ra's al Ghul is a great villain for Batman because of his connections to Batman. His daughter, Talia al Ghul, is a primary love interest for Batman, and Ra's al Ghul respects the Dark Knight greatly, even seeing him as an heir to the throne; one to lead the League of Assassins in saving the world.
Favorite Portrayal: Liam Neeson in Batman Begins.
Possible Reboot Villain?: I would say no. I think Batman Begins already gave the best representation of the character I could have asked for, so having Ra's al Ghul as a villain again seems unnecessary.
Who Is He?: Hush is a super criminal that uses his brilliant surgeon skills to take the identities of others. He was once Tommy Elliot, a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, causing a lot of inner trauma for the Caped Crusader.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: He is a great villain for Batman because he provides some challenging detective work and emotional trouble for Batman to have to confront.
Favorite Portrayal: Batman: Hush Graphic Novel
Possible Reboot Villain?: I would definitely say yes. Hush may only be a recent villain but he has the potential to make a great intro to a new Batman series. His past intertwines a lot with Bruce Wayne's, and his story tests Batman in a lot of ways. However, it involves A LOT of characters from the Batman universe that probably wouldn't be set up beforehand, so Hush might not be the best candidate for a reboot villain unless they reconfigured the story (which they shouldn't do because it would be a lot less cool). So maybe we should move on.
Who Is He?: Two-Face was once district attorney Harvey Dent, Gotham's White Knight trying to clean up the streets alongside Batman and Commissioner Gordon. However, when half his face was scarred with acid thrown by Sal Maroni during a trial, his inner psychological troubles were physically brought out. He then became the super criminal Two-Face, committing crimes based on the number two and making all his decisions with the flip of a coin.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: Two-Face is a great villain because he is one of the more tragic villains of the Batman universe and provides a more emotional rather than physical struggle for Batman because he has to stop his former friend and partner.
Favorite Portrayal: The Long Halloween graphic novel.
Possible Reboot Villain?: Probably not, as I think that Aaron Eckhart and Christopher Nolan did a good job with the character in the Dark Knight (though his psychological issues could have been highlighted a little more to ease the transition).
5. RED HOOD:
Who Is He?: Jason Todd was the second Robin after Dick Grayson gave up the position to become his own hero Nightwing. Jason was eventually captured and beaten to death by the Joker, however he came back when Ra's al Ghul used the Lazarus pit to revive him. He then became a brutal crime monarch in Gotham, and Batman was forced to launch a mission to take him down.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: Red Hood is a great Batman villain for two reasons. A. He is a walking representation of Batman's greatest failure (as Batman failed to save Jason from the Joker), and B. His actions provide a lot of moral questioning for Batman. Why does Batman keep letting Joker live? Is it better to try and eliminate crime, as Batman tries, or to control crime because it can't be destroyed, as Jason does?
Favorite Portrayal: Jensen Ackles in the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Possible Reboot Villain?: Like Hush I think Jason could be, but there are a couple others that might be better candidates, as Jason's story has to already have the first Robin and other characters established beforehand.
Who Is He?: As you probably know from the Dark Knight Rises, Bane is the villain who broke the bat. In the comics he was born to a life of prison, but after becoming extremely intelligent and physically adept, he escaped and came to Gotham to confront his inner fear in the form of Batman. He broke out all the inmates of Arkham, and when Batman was tired and weary after defeating them, Bane swept in and broke him, thus taking control of the city.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: He is the only person to have ever defeated Batman. Even the Joker hasn't been able to do that. That's pretty formidable.
Favorite Portrayal: The 1993 comic Batman: Vengeance of Bane
Possible Reboot Villain?: Again, I think the Dark Knight Trilogy did the character well. Tom Hardy gives a great performance, and the story does the Knightfall story arc justice.
3. MR. FREEZE:
Who Is He?: Victor Fries was once a cryogenics expert who suffered an accident causing him to have to wear a suit (shown above) so that he can stay alive in sub-zero temperatures.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: Mr. Freeze is one of the most tragic villains in comics. All of his criminal activities are based off the fact that he is just trying to acquire money for research on a way to cure his wife of a terminal illness.
Favorite Portrayal: Arnold Sch... JK :). It would actually be Michael Ansara in the Batman the Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice"
Possible Villain For A Reboot?: Most definitely! Mr. Freeze is one of the most tragic (and "cool") villains in comics, and he could give an early Batman a lesson in the fact that right and wrong is not simply black and white, thus growing the character more (assuming the new reboot would take place early in Batman's career).
Who Is He?: Dr. Jonathan Crane is a psychologist who uses his signature fear gas to make his victims experience their worst fears as if they are real.
Why Is He A Great Villain?: He tests Batman in ways that no other villain can: with fear. He's the only villain that can truly make Batman cower in terror. Even The Joker can't really scare Batman.
Favorite Portrayal: I'm still waiting...
Possible Villain For A Reboot?: ABSOLUTELY!! Scarecrow is an amazing villain that has been completely neglected and underused in all the Batman movies, and needs to have his chance at the spotlight!
And last but not least......
1. CALENDAR MAN:
Just kidding. It's obviously...
1. THE JOKER:
Who Is He?: He's the Joker. To quote Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker: "So you fell in a vat of acid, got your skin bleached and decided to become a super villain. What, you couldn't get work as a rodeo clown?".
Why Is He A Great Villain?: He is not just my favorite Batman villain, but my favorite comic book villain, and one of my favorite villains of anything ever because he is the absolute foil to Batman. He is a funny, entertaining, psychopathic, no limits kind of crazy psycho that Batman has to deal with.
Favorite Portrayal: Mark Hamill in the Arkham Games or the Animated Series.
Possible Villain For A Reboot?: No. As much as I love Joker, I wouldn't want to see him in a new Batman film. There's so many other fantastic villains that have yet to be put on the big screen (*cough* Scarecrow *cough*) and having the Joker AGAIN would just be robbing another character of the limelight.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I hope you enjoyed this Top 10 list. Thanks for reading!
But before you go productive things with your lives, tell me what you think!