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50 Greatest Batman Villains

Solomon Grundy

The Villain: Cyrus Gold was a 19th Century merchant who was murdered and dumped in the mysterious Slaughter Swamp, just outside Gotham City. Some five years later, he rose again, transformed into a giant, undead monster. it'll take more than a well-aimed batarang to bring this guy down…

Movie Potential: For some reason, Chris Nolan decided not to incorporate Grundy into his story, but that's not to say he couldn't work in a more fantastical take on the franchise. If Tim Burton were given another crack at it, he'd slot into his Gothic cityscape a treat. A Batman monster movie… it could work!

Prometheus

The Villain: Born to a pair of free-spirited criminals, Prometheus travelled cross-country with his folks until a particularly bloody gunfight with local law enforcement saw the pair of them shot down in front of him. It was a formative moment in the young man's life, and one that informed his decision to wage war upon police and superheroes alike.

Movie Potential:
if you were strip out the more out-there elements of the character's backstory (we haven't mentioned his trips to space), Prometheus would serve as a believably anti-authoritarian villain. We'd have snarling Josh Brolin to play him, given the choice.

The Ventriloquist

The Villain: Arnold Wesker, a violent criminal suffering from a dissociative identity disorder that leads him to follow "orders" from his dummy, a tiny wooden gangster known as Scarface. A particularly unhinged fellow, even by Arkham standards!

Movie Potential: Ventriloquist's dummies are always frightening, let alone one that's operated by a fully paid-up lunatic. If Warner want to pit Batman against a frightening "real-world" villain, they could do a lot worse. Although we'd scrap the supernatural element occasionally adopted by the comics. The doll can't really be alive…

Lady Shiva

The Villain: A martial arts specialist and assassin of the highest order, Lady Shiva initially makes her way to Gotham when Batman seeks her help in the recuperation process after having his back broken by Bane. As many others have done before her, she attempts to coerce the Bat into using lethal force, only to discover him resolute in his one rule.

Movie Potential: We've not seen Batman face any lady-villains for quite some time, and the complex Shiva would be a good starting point from which to reverse that trend. Having her begin as an ally to the Bat would help add emotional clout to their eventual antipathy, so we'd keep the re-training element in. As for casting, we'd have Maggie Q bring her high-kicking Nikita credentials to the big screen.

Deacon Blackfire

The Villain: The Deacon is a predatory cult leader, recruiting an army of devotees from Gotham's massed ranks of homeless citizens. He begins by using them to wage war on crime, but it isn't long before Blackfire has set his sights upon taking over Gotham as a whole.

Movie Potential:
Chris Nolan's use of non-super villains has paved the way for "ordinary" nutcases like the Deacon to go toe to toe with the Bat. How about Mel Gibson for a piece of headline-grabbing casting?

Anarky

The Villain: A terrorist in the mould of V from V For Vendetta (they even look similar), Anarky is the inevitable product of Gotham's widespread corruption, an idealist who believes violence is justifiable in order to weaken the state.

Movie Potential: The presence of Anarky would present Bats with an interesting moral dilemma. Knowing how bent Gotham's power structure is, could it be that Anarky has an ideological point? Or is killing never justified, even for the greater good? It's a poser…

Professor Pyg

The Villain: Described by creator Grant Morrison as, "one of the weirdest, most insane characters that's ever been in Batman," Professor Pyg butchers his victims in order to transform them into genderless, lobotomised creatures with bizarre masks fused into the flesh of their faces. As you do.

Movie Potential:
If Warner wanted to take Batman into really dark territory, they could do worse than investigate Professor Pyg's signature brand of body horror. We'd cast former child-star Haley Joel Osment as the man in question. He would be terrifying!

Deadshot

The Villain: The world's most accurate assassin, Deadshot is said to have never missed a target in his many years of bloodshed. All except one, that is. Can you guess who he missed? That's right, he wears a cape and a cowl…

Movie Potential: A callous villain, entirely contemptuous for human life, Deadshot would make for a compelling nemesis. We'd have him seek the Bat's attention by randomly picking off victims around Gotham, leading our hero a merry dance as he does so. Casting-wise, we'd have Michael C. Hall recreate some of Dexter's more chilling personality traits.

Calendar Man

The Villain: Julian Gregory Day (treble calendar pun in his name there) is a master-criminal with a bizarre obsession with the days of the week, planning and theming his various crimes in accordance with the day on which they will take place. Whatever floats your boat…

Movie Potential: He's a little too contrived to shoulder the burden of primary villain, but he could work in a similar capacity to his role in The Long Halloween , in which he advises Batman from the security of his cell, Hannibal Lecter style.

Holiday

The Villain: The mysterious murderer who takes out his targets on every holiday of the year, it is when trying to bring Holiday to justice that Batman consults the Calendar Man for help. Similar MOs you see…

Movie Potential: The Long Halloween would make for a good film, playing out like a mystery thriller, with plenty of twists and turns revealed along the way. David Fincher as a potential director? Just a thought...

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.