The Lego Batman Movie is currently in theatres, and so far it’s far exceeding the already lofty expectations. With this movie and rumors swirling that Ben Affleck wants out of playing the World’s Greatest Detective fresh in my brain, why not rank the Caped Crusader’s biggest foes?…
Since this is pretty much a cut and dry list, I’m just going to jump right into the action. For the record, I took into account a plethora of iterations of each character in compiling said list and ranking them. It was pretty easy. High Five.
Batman’s Top Villains
10. Hugo Strange
10. Black Mask
10. Poison Ivy
10. Talia Al Ghul
Okay, so yeah, maybe this was harder than I thought it was going to be. But Talia Al Ghul, The Daughter of the Demon, owns a rightful spot on this list. Part-time Supervillian/Part time lover to the Batman, she has been a constant thorn in Bruce’s side, a highly skilled assassin at that & one time leader of the League of Assassins itself. She’s also the mother of Bruce Wayne’s only (…we think) child, the current Robin, Damien Wayne. And based on that alone, she should probably be #1 on this list. If my parents are any indication, who’s more of a supervillain than your ex who you happen to have kids with?
9. Talon/Court of Owls
To say the New 52 Relaunch was hit or miss is a gross understatement, but one thing that is nearly universally agreed upon is that the New 52 Batman run is damn near a masterpiece. The run began with the introduction of this dastardly group, who had been running things behind the scenes of Gotham for generations, and their seemingly immortal hitman, Talon.
Turning everything Batman knew completely on its head, the group nearly took him out for good, while providing a twist next to no one saw coming. If not for the newness of these villains, they would most certainly rank higher on this list.
8. Mr. Freeze
Victor Fries might have the most heartbreaking backstory of all of Batman’s foes: A cryogenics scientist only trying to cure his dying wife, his experiment backfired, requiring him to forever wear a cryogenic suit to keep his body at subzero temperatures. As sympathetic a villain as you’ll find, he may be freezing cold, but his heart is often portrayed as lukewarm, or room temperature…ya know, not cold as ice. Part of me doesn’t TRULY count him as a villain, but he needed to be a part of this list based on the amount of well orchestrated variations of his character we’ve seen in the last 30 years (see: Batman: The Animated Series, Arkham video games, comics) and how many “cold puns” Arnie had in 1997’s Batman & Robin.
7. Harley Quinn
Yeah, I’m not a huge Harley Quinn fan, butttttttttt someone, I guarantee it, would’ve lost their ever loving mind had she not been a part of this list. Probably my teenage daughter, and I just don’t have the strength to deal with that today…
Let us ignore, for one second, the ‘roided out cartoon of a character from Batman & Robin. Let’s just ignore all of Batman & Robin, actually (except Arnie’s puns…hahahahaha…those are the best!). Aside from that, Bane boasts the reputation as the only member of Batman’s “Rogues Gallery” to have ever “broken the bat.” Introduced terrifyingly through the Knightfall storyline, Bane gains his enormous strength from the drug “venom”, and Batman is nearly killed by Bane via the backbreaker from Hell. Also, Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the character in the trilogy ending The Dark Knight Rises may have received mixed reviews, but he had me hooked. Tom Hardy should be in everything.
5. Ra’s Al Ghul
League of Assassins. “Demon’s Head”. Lazarus Pit. Father of your Baby Mama. Those are all the reasons you need.
4. The Riddler
Boasting the title of Batman’s most intelligent foe, Edward Nygma (or Nashton, depending how far you go back in continuity) is a brilliant narcissist, as devious as he is smart, and he freaking loves green suits. The puppet master to one of Batman’s greatest storylines (Hush) as well as Batman’s first masked Supervillain (if we’re going by the New 52 origins of the Bat), he’s cool enough to the point that I can almost forgive him for being played by Ace Ventura.
3. The Penguin
As a kid, I had nightmares from Danny Devito’s portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin, in Batman Returns. In the comics, the Penguin is often portrayed as the “gentleman of crime”, running the Iceberg Lounge, which is a front for his mob ties and illegal activities. I choose to think of the 1992 Tim Burton version whenever I think of the character, a disgusting and grotesque variation that totally bit that dudes nose off when he was trying to run for Mayor. Also, his penguins were really cute. It freaked me out the way they carried him into the water when he died. And what the hell was that blue stuff coming out of his mouth!? I really lost focus here. But yeah, Penguin at #3, or whatever.
Selina Kyle, oh Selina Kyle. Are you a villain? Do you really love the Batman? Are you just using him to accomplish your own goals? Is a tight, leather onesie REALLY the best outfit to pull off elaborate acrobatics in? Is pulling off a heist REALLY as cool as it seems? I have so many questions! Throughout the years, Catwoman has toed the line of morally ambiguous antihero to full on supervillain, all while maintaining a romantic “relationship” with Bruce Wayne. Oh, and I have one final question: Who allowed that Halle Berry Catwoman movie to be made? Because that person is the real supervillain here.
1. The Joker
Was their ever any doubt? No other villain means more to their hero, brings more out of said hero, than the Joker does to Batman. The Joker has seen a career spanning from hilarious clown caricature (Caesar Romero-Batman 66), to homicidal maniac (The Killing Joke) to anarchist mastermind (Heath Ledger-The Dark Knight) with nearly every variation in between (see: Batman: The Animated Series; The New 52; Death in the Family; Jack Nicholson-Batman 89) as memorable as the one before it. The Joker is not only the greatest of Batman’s villains, I believe him to be the greatest comic book villain of all time. Period. Also, clowns are f—ing scary, right???
Let me know what you thought about this newest Ranked! list, and please, feel free to post your own lists below in the comments. I would love to see what all of you come up with, and how much better your lists are than mine!
Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time husband, full time father & full time superhero enthusiast.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to keep up with The Geekiverse across social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram and share with a friend. View live video game streaming on our Twitch Channel. Watch The Geekiverse Show on YouTube and listen to The Geekiverse Podcast Station on iTunes or Soundcloud today!