Skip to main content

50 Greatest Batman Villains

Grendel

The Villain: Grendel, AKA Hunter Rose, is an egomaniac assassin who first travelled to Gotham with the express purpose of pitting his wits against the Dark Knight. A masked "law-enforcer" like Batman, he goes further than the Dark Knight would ever dream, playing executioner to those who fall short of his exacting standards.

Movie Potential: As a fairly minor villain in the comic-books, Grendel would be a fresh addition to Batman's on-screen rogues' gallery, and with his diametrically opposed view of crime and punishment, an interesting foil for the Dark Knight.

The Wrath

The Villain: As with so many members of Gotham's rogues' gallery, The Wrath was set on the path of villainy by seeing his parents accidentally killed by a rookie cop. Taking this rather badly, The Wrath went on to dedicate his life to slaying law enforcers while wearing an outfit that bears more than a passing resemblance to Batman's.

Movie Potential:
Given The Wrath's physical similarities to Bats, his inclusion could work well as part of a storyline in which Batman takes the fall for his crimes. Can our hero bring The Wrath to justice before his own reputation is well and truly shot?

The Great White Shark

The Villain: Warren White, a corrupt financiers who wound up in Arkham after screwing his investors out of millions. Sadly for him, an encounter with Mr. Freeze left him hair and noseless, hence his nickname. As with so many before him, Arkham allowed his criminal tendencies to flourish, with the Shark getting his teeth into a good section of Gotham's underworld which he runs from the confines of his cell.

Movie Potential:
We'd do away with the hair-stripping incident and just have him as a gangland kingpin, running his operation from behind bars. It would make for an interesting dynamic if Batman already had his villain locked up from the get-go, and Jackie Earle Haley would play a great Shark...

The Calculator

The Villain: When he first appeared in the comic-books, The Calculator was a laughably naff villain with a computer built into his chest that allowed him to "calculate" his enemies' tactics. However, the 2004 mini-series Identity Crisis saw him revamped as a kind of villainous version of Oracle, offering up priceless information to a whole host of villains thanks to his remarkable computer skills. We like that version a lot better.

Movie Potential: We like the idea of Calculator as an unseen adversary, pulling Batman's strings by giving his enemies the edge. As for who should play him, we like Kiefer Sutherland for this one.

KGBeast

The Villain: The puntastically named KGBeast is a lethal assassin trained by "The Hammer", a secret cell of the KGB. By the time of his first appearance in Ten Nights Of The Beast , he is thought to have killed at least 200 people. The man isn't afraid to get his hands dirty…

Movie Potential: We're not sure modern moviegoers would swallow that name, but there's no reason why the germ of the character couldn't remain intact, especially if the film were set against a Cold War backdrop. If the X-Men can embrace a period setting, why can't Batman?

The Red Hood

The Villain: The resurrected Jason Todd (a former Robin killed by the Joker) who returns to Gotham as The Red Hood, a psychotic vigilante who serves as a violent counterpoint to the Bat.

Movie Potential: You'd have to drastically revamp the backstory, as bringing people back from the dead is a bit of a stretch even for Gotham. This would probably work best as a disillusioned Robin turning to the dark side, having seen Batman's methods fail to prevent another supervillain from slaughtering a raft of innocent civilians.

The Clock King

The Villain: An obscure character from the comics popularised by an episode of The Animated Series , Temple Fugate is a man obsessed with punctuality, a character trait that allows him to memorise the in-depth workings of the Dark Knight's busy schedule. More threatening than he sounds, honest!

Movie Potential: A few minor tweaks to the character, and a seemingly bizarre gimmick could be twisted into an obsessive-compulsive nightmare, with Fugate demanding that Batman jump through hoops within ever-diminishing time-limits before people start getting dead. John Hawkes to play him with jittery, twitchy menace.

Man-Bat

The Villain: Dr. Kirk Langstrom's attempt to cure his degenerating hearing ends up pretty much the same way every comic-book scientist's misadventures play out: he transforms himself into a hideous monster, in this case a giant bat. Who better to take on Man-Bat than, er, Batman? That's right, noone.

Movie Potential: It might be Jekyll and Hyde by the numbers, but there would still be some interest to be derived from seeing Batman take on a giant version of the creature he once feared. It would be something of a departure from the Nolanverse, though, granted.

Joe Chill

The Villain: The petty criminal who murdered Bruce's parents out of sheer desperation on a wintery night in Gotham City. His actions have cast a shadow that has loomed so large over Bruce's life, that he's one of the most formative characters in the evolution of the Bat. With that in mind, we couldn't really leave him out, could we?

Movie Potential: As significant a character as he is, we really don't want to see him in any further Batman films. We know the origin already. There's really no need to go over it all again.

Lock-Up

The Villain: A character who first cropped up in The Animated Series , Lock-Up is a man obsessed with an extreme form of law-enforcement that sees him attempting to wipe out some of Gotham's less desirable characters once and for all. Obviously, he and Bats don't see eye to eye on how crime should best be fought, leading to a number of highly-charged showdowns.

Movie Potential: Lock-Up has a couple of different origin stories, but we'd adapt the one in which he's chief of security at Arkham Asylum. We'd have Lock-Up seizing control of the complex with a view to killing all its inmates, forcing Batman to break in and forge fragile alliances with some of his oldest foes in order to stop him.

George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.