Who Are All the Villains of Batman? Here Are Top 15 of All Time

Batman is one of the oldest characters in the DC Comics community. Created on March 30, 1939, by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, the superhero has been in existence for more than 80 years and with the decades comes more enemies. As such, the villains of Batman are not just numerous but they make the list of best villains that ever unleashed havoc in the DC universe. Love them or despise their whole existence, these terrible guys spice up every Batman story you can think of.

The role of Batman villains is pivotal in making any project out of the superhero franchise a blockbuster or a flop, as the case may be. Fans are often fascinated with the villains more than the superhero himself. So far, we have seen more badass villains grace DC Comics, and choosing the best out of the pack has not been an easy task.

Who Are The Best Villains Of Batman?

Batman may be one of the best superheroes loved by many but his stories are never complete without the villainous characters that make life difficult for him and everyone around. So far, there are about 37 Batman villains but we rounded up the top 15 and the Batman movies they featured in.

1. Joker – The Dark Knight

  • Release date: 14 July 2008
  • IMDB: 9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
  • Metacritic: 89%

Villains of Batman
image source

Known for his roles in both Australian and American movies, Heath Andrew Ledger gained international acclaim for his depiction of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see the film’s premiere and subsequent success as he died during the post-production stage of The Dark Knight. Nevertheless, Ledger’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed as he was honored with posthumous awards for his role in the film, including honors from the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards, the 2008 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, and the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. His performance in the blockbuster was that good.

A sadistic clown bent on driving Batman crazy, the Joker is one of the oldest enemies of the superhero. He doesn’t really possess any supernatural powers but Joker is responsible for many tragedies recorded in the movies he appeared in. Joker kills people just for the fun of it. In the 2008 film The Dark Knight, he’s on his usual mission to destroy any iota of peace left in Gotham City, but Batman, in alliance with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant Jim Gordon, is out to stop him.

2. Bane – The Dark Knight Rises

  • Release date: 27 July 2012
  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
  • Metacritic: 78%

image source

Tom Hardy had it tough as he had to follow up on Ledger’s Joker which won critical acclaim in the Dark Knight movie franchise. Nevertheless, he did justice to the role with Bane taking credit as the only Batman villain in the Dark Knight trilogy to be on the same level as Batman in terms of physical strength. He actually sent the superhero into a coma after breaking his spinal cord. Batman had to go on a hiatus from crime-fighting to allow him to recover. Bane really gave the caped vigilante a run for his money but all that strength didn’t come from birth.

His physical strength came from experiments ran on him with a derivative of the drug known as Venom. Beyond the muscled man portrayed in movies, Bane is well gifted as he speaks many languages and knows a lot about science. The actual bane of Batman’s existence, it took Bane just one year to figure out Batman’s true identity and all these attributes rightly put him among the top villains of Batman.

3. Ra’s Al Ghul – Batman Begins

  • Release date: 31 May 2005
  • Actor: Ken Watanabe
  • IMDB: 8.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
  • Metacritic: 70%

image source

Though he has been around long enough, Ra’s Al Ghul was rarely noticed in the comic book world until Liam Neeson and Ken Watanabe breathed life into the character in The Dark Knight Rises and Batman Begins respectively. As an adversary of the crime-fighting vigilante Batman, Ra’s Al Ghul forms the League of Assassins made up of terrorists like himself to help him carry out his eco-terrorism activities.

This guy is somehow immortal and regarded as very intelligent and agile. Ra’s Al Ghul knows about Batman’s true identity and tries to build a romance between the superhero and his daughter Talia and he actually succeeded and even got himself a grandchild. One thing about Ra’s al Ghul that makes him stand out from other supervillains is that as an international terrorist, the world is his target, unlike others who are just after Gotham City. His name literally means Head of the Demon. Again, he loves the whole existence of Batman and even tries to convince him to take over leadership of his League of Assassins and marry his daughter when he retires. Ra’s al Ghul has appeared in 9 superhero movies, including Gotham, The Dark Knight Rises, and more.

4. The Riddler – Batman Forever

  • Release date: 16 June 1995
  • Actor: Jim Carrey
  • IMDB: 5.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
  • Metacritic: 51%

Villains of Batman
image source

From Frank Gorshin to John Astin, Cory Michael Smith, and Paul Dano, this Batman villain has been portrayed in many superhero movies by remarkable actors but the performance of Jim Carrey in Batman Forever takes center stage. Carrey, somehow, convinced the filmmakers to go with him for the role that was originally written for Robin Williams and he gave it his best shot. In Batman Forever, Batman (Val Kilmer) is faced with two major enemies – Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and Riddler (Jim Carrey) but Riddler is in a class of his own, giving the caped superhero a run for his money.

Perhaps the most intellectually challenging enemy Batman ever had, The Riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles, and word games, which he uses to give the authorities clues of his impending crimes. His puzzles and games turn Batman into one badass detective that fans never saw before. A criminal mastermind, Riddler derives joy in challenging Batman intellectually but he has no extraordinary powers and does not belong to the evilest among the league of Batman villains. Nonetheless, his roles in Batman movies are one of the reasons people love them.

5. Scarecrow – Batman Begins

  • Release date: 31 May 2005
  • Actor: Cillian Murphy
  • IMDB: 8.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
  • Metacritic: 70%

image source

This is the only supervillain that made an appearance in all the Dark Knight trilogy as portrayed by Cillian Murphy. The DC Comics character made his debut in his debut in World’s Finest Comics #3 released in September 1941 before Cillian Murphy gave it life in The Dark Knight trilogy. To date, Scarecrow is one of the best villains of Batman that fans won’t forget in a hurry.

Scarecrow feeds on the fear of his victims and as an obsessed and deranged former professor of psychology, he knows a lot about people’s phobias and commits his crimes for the sake of research not to acquire wealth or power. The self-proclaimed “Master of Fear” is one of the top Batman villains and he has no extra powers but his only weapon is his expertise in psychology. He takes credit as the villain who almost broke Batman psychologically by using his fear toxin. Truly, Scarecrow is as evil as they come, even without superpowers.

6. Poison Ivy – Batman & Robin

  • Release date: 12 June 1997
  • Actor: Uma Thurman
  • IMDB: 3.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
  • Metacritic: 28%

image source

The evil duo of Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy must be stopped from destroying the city but Batman and Robin are the only ones who can take them out. Poison Ivy was a student of advanced botanical biochemistry before she was forced to consume – or was injected with a poisonous plant that turned her into a ravenous plant. Now, her only passion and mission on earth are to protect all plants which seems like a noble cause. However, to achieve this goal, she has to end the existence of humans. Nonetheless, she doesn’t care who she kills to make sure her cause is achieved.

Among the villains of Batman, Poison Ivy has a level of her own as what she does can give her power over anyone, including Batman himself. Poison Ivy’s strength is in her ability to take control of and manipulate the human mind which makes her a big threat. Her relationship with Batman is that of love and hate.

7. Catwoman – Batman Returns

  • Release date: 16 June 1992
  • Actor: Michelle Pfeiffer
  • IMDB: 7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
  • Metacritic: 68%

image source

Don’t make the mistake of mixing up Anne Hathaway’s Dark Knight Rises Catwoman with that of Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. Hathaway’s Catwoman is just a survivor who later turns good but one thing they have in common is that Selina Kyle (Catwoman’s real name in the movies) has been in Batman’s life right from the beginning. Sometimes she is good and other times she is one of the villains of Batman to fear.

Catwoman’s relationship with the caped superhero is complicated as she is both a villain and a love interest. She began her operations as a criminal dressed in a cat-themed costume but later turned to Batman’s trusted ally and a dedicated guardian of Gotham City’s crime-infested East End. This, however, doesn’t put a complete end to her conflict with Batman.

8. Talia Al Ghul – The Dark Knight Rises

  • Release date: 27 July 2012
  • Actor: Marion Cotillard
  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
  • Metacritic: 78%

image source

She is the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul and like her father, Talia Al Ghul is one of the best villains of Batman in superhero movies. Interestingly, Talia Al Ghul is also the mother of Damian Wayne who is Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) only biological son. Talia Al Ghul’s father encouraged a relationship between her and Batman with the hope of getting the crusader to succeed him as the leader of his terrorist group.

As the daughter of a deadly terrorist, Talia Al Ghul is torn between her loyalty to her evil dad and her love for Batman but, in the end, her evil side seems to have taken over and she is now a confirmed villain in her own rights. This gives her a spot on this list of the best villains of Batman of all time.

9. Mr. Freeze – Batman & Robin

  • Release date: 12 June 1997
  • Actor: Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • IMDB: 3.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
  • Metacritic: 28%

image source

His name gives away a lot about Freeze but he wasn’t always like this. Mr. Freeze used to be Dr. Victor Fries, a renowned scientist whose beloved wife contracts a deadly disease, and to save her, he puts the dying woman into cryostasis. In the process of preserving his wife’s life, an accident alters the scientist’s body to the point that he can only survive in a below freezing point environment, thus, he designs a refrigeration suit for himself and continues on his quest to bring his wife back.

The only thing that matters to Freeze is saving his wife and he will go to any length, including working as Batman’s ally or foe to get what he wants. He is best described as desperate, not evil. However, Mr. Freeze may not have the sole evil agenda to end the world or destroy Batman but he still earns a spot on the notorious villains of Batman for good reasons, especially because he’s willing to do anything to achieve his cause.

10. The Penguin – Batman Returns

  • Release date: 16 June 1992
  • Actor: Danny DeVito
  • IMDB: 7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
  • Metacritic: 68%

image source

Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer bring out the best in two of the most interesting among villains of Batman – The Penguin and Catwoman. The Penguin debuted in 1941’s Detective Comics #58 and has since been one of the pains in Batman’s ass.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (The Penguin) is a mobster with a gentleman personality. He often wears a tuxedo, complete with a top hat and monocle to complete his ensemble. You wouldn’t find him without his umbrella which is in fact a weapon in disguise. The Penguin just loves committing crimes and enjoying wealth and with his knowledge of martial arts, getting what he wants has not been a problem but as usual, Batman would always stand in the way of the short, round man with a long pointed nose.

11. Two-Face – Dark Knight

  • Release date: 14 July 2008
  • Actor: Aaron Eckhart, Tommy Lee Jones
  • IMDB: 9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
  • Metacritic: 84%

image source

Trained by Deathstroke and Batman himself, Two-Face doesn’t possess any supernatural powers, but his outstanding marksmanship and combat skills keep him in the game as one of the top Batman villains of all time. Also, his expertise in criminal law, criminology, and police procedures as a former lawyer are put to use in organizing the top-notch crimes he’s known for.

Formerly known as Harvey Dent, Two-Face was born the moment he scars half of his face with nitric acid and a scalpel. Before he turned evil, Harvey Dent had the interest of Gotham City at heart and even formed a sort of alliance with Batman and Commissioner Gordon to fight crime.

12. Deathstroke – Son of Batman

  • Release date: 22 April 2014
  • Actor: Thomas Gibson
  • IMDB: 6.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
  • Vudu: 4.3/5

image source

Arguably the greatest assassin in the world, Deathstroke, who also goes by the name Slade Wilson, is one of Batman’s nightmares and would challenge the superhero in any field, from strength to speed and intellect. His fights with Batman are usually inconclusive except for once when Robin and Nightwing came to Batman’s rescue. His military enhancements take credit for the great strategist Deathstroke has become. Slade Wilson was used for a super-soldier experiment that went south, turning him into an unmatched assassin who beat Batman severally.

Notwithstanding his appearances in Batman movies, Deathstroke is more of a Teen Titans villain. He made his Batman movie debut in recent times. His efforts to kill the superhero are enhanced by gaining control of Robin’s actions through the manipulation of the neural implant inserted into Robin’s spine for medical purposes.

13. Victor Zsasz – Batman Begins

  • Release date: 31 May 2005
  • Actor: Tim Booth
  • IMDB: 8.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
  • Metacritic: 70%

image source

This Batman A-list villain made his debut in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1. A sadomasochistic and psychopathic serial killer, Victor Zsasz gives himself a mark on any part of his body every time he kills someone. This is his own way of keeping track of his victims and with the number of such marks scattered all over his body, it’s indeed safe to say Victor Zsasz is as evil as they come.

Also known as Mr. Zsasz or simply Zsasz, the villain is a cannibal who derives satisfaction in killing people, preferably by sliting their throats. He doesn’t like guns as he sees them as unreliable but often uses them if the situation calls for it. Zsasz is overly intelligent, a gift that helps him mastermind his criminal operations impeccably. He is also very flexible and agile and would physically challenge Batman any day. What makes him difficult to track is the way he kills without motive. He can literally just kill anybody anywhere and at any time without any reason.

14. Hugo Strange – The Batman (TV Series)

  • First episode date: 11 September 2004
  • Final episode date: 8 March 2008
  • Actor: Frank Gorshin, Richard Green
  • IMDB: 7.3/10
  • Google users: 90%

image source

An iconic troublemaker and Batman foe, Hugo Strange is a scientist and psychologist, who prefers to use his outstanding intelligence for evil purposes. He is one of the earliest enemies of the caped crusader and thanks to his expertise in psychology, Professor Hugo Strange was able to decipher the hidden identity of Batman. After discovering Batman’s secret identity, the professor didn’t reveal it to the world but kept it to himself just to torment the superhero whenever the need arises.

Hugo Strange is notably the first recurring major enemy who became obsessed with Batman, especially after revealing the superhero’s true identity as Bruce Wayne. Part of his plan was to use genetics and mind control to destroy Batman and take his place in Gotham City. The character has appeared in several projects like animations, video games, and live-action television series. The latest project with this villain as one of the characters is coming up in a 2022 movie of the same name.

15. Killer Croc – The Batman (TV series)

  • First episode date: 11 September 2004
  • Final episode date: 8 March 2008
  • Actor: Ron Perlman
  • IMDB: 7.3/10
  • Google users: 90%

Villain of Batman
image source

Waylon Jones was born with a rare condition that left him with scaly skin. Subsequently, he faced discrimination and abuse that ultimately turned him into the murdering psychopathic cannibal we see today. Though the character, in recent times, has been reduced to a gigantic mutated reptile with one ambition, to eat Batman, his debut in the DC Comics world has been remarkable from the get-go.

Dejected and left with no choice but to leave his city, Waylon Jones joined a traveling circus where he found some kind of acceptance. By following the circus, he found himself in Gotham City but the condition he was born with gradually took over his personality and turned him into a monstrous humongous humanoid lizard. From wrestling crocodiles, he became a criminal, taking advantage of his enormous strength and the crocodile abilities that he developed over time. He can smell anything from a distance and in addition to his great sense of smell, Killer Croc can also hold his breath underwater longer than normal. In terms of intelligence, he is one of the least brilliant villains of Batman on this list but what he lacks in intellectuals, he covers up in strength.

Highlights Of The Top Villains of Batman

  • Joker
  • Bane
  • Ra’s Al Ghul
  • The Riddler
  • Scarecrow
  • Poison Ivy
  • Catwoman
  • Talia Al Ghul
  • Mr. Freeze
  • The Penguin
  • Two-Face
  • Deathstroke
  • Victor Zsasz
  • Hugo Strange
  • Killer Croc

Notable Mentions of Villains Of Batman

  • The Batman Who Laughs: a combination of Batman’s intelligence and Joker’s knowledge of psychology.
  • Talon: warriors who do the dirty work of the Court of Owls, the name is used by different people and has endured for decades.
  • Black Mask: a strong adversary of Batman, Black Mask is the brain behind one of the most violent criminal empires in Gotham City.
  • Professor Pyg: his hideous monstrous pig face mask is just a part of this chemist’s dark side. He made a drug that gives symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
  • Clayface: a mud monster who takes any shape he wants and can turn his limbs into any weapon of his choice.
  • Hush: Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend who is on a revenge mission.
  • The Mad Hatter: a neuroscientist who developed hardware to control the human brain put people into hypnotic states.
  • The Ventriloquist and Scarface: a ventriloquist who turned into a dangerous criminal.
  • Deadshot: the hired assassin who never misses and is a member of Suicide Squad.

Onuoha Banks
Taking up the biggest challenges is Uloaku's strong suit and you don't want to challenge her on the entertainment arena. I'm goal-driven and when I'm not working, I might go for a hiking trip in the great outdoors.

Recommended

Featured Today

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you've found a possible error, be it factual, editorial or something that needs updating, please contact us

Read This Next