Batman Villains Not Named Joker: Ranking the Top 5

The Clown no longer wears the crown

Joker: [listing his allies] “Clayface! Poison Ivy! Mr. Freeze! Penguin! Crazy Quilt! Eraser! Mime! Tarantula! King Tut! Orca! Killer Moth! March Hare! Zodiac Master! Gentleman Ghost! Clock King! Calendar Man! Kite Man! Catman! Zebra-man! And the Condiment King!”
Pilot:  “… Okay, are you making some of these up?
Joker: “Nope, they’re all real! Probably worth a Google.”

The Lego Batman Movie

Batman’s villains are the best in show business. They run the gamut from goofy to terrifying to tragic. But they constantly get thrown aside so the studios can romp again with the Joker. It’s time to turn the spotlight from Pagliacci and find the best Batman villains.

Our only criteria is no anti-heroes like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, or Red Hood.

Honorable Mention: Joe Chill

Played by: Richard Brake and Peter Onorati

Catwoman: “Joe… I thought I heard that you were dead.
Joe: “I was there at the start of it all, Miss Kyle. I’m not going to miss the end.

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Joe Chill’s past remains a mystery. He was a criminal based in Crime Alley. He saw a couple and their son walking down the alley and mugged them. The confrontation ended with Thomas and Martha Wayne lying in pools of blood while their son Bruce swore to avenge them.

Years later, Batman attacked Chill. The vigilante threatened to kill Chill for murdering the Waynes. When Chill demanded to know why their deaths mattered, Batman revealed his secret identity, Bruce Wayne. What happens next depends on the story, but Chill always dies without Batman doing the deed.

Supervillains are flashier, but Batman wouldn’t exist without Joe Chill.

#5 Batman Villain: Ra’s al Ghul

Played by: Liam Neeson and Matthew Nable

[Ra’s has finished explaining his plot]
Batman: “But that will cost countless lives!
Ra’s: “Actually, detective, we have counted. 2,056,986,000. [everyone recoils] A most impressive plan, would you not agree?

Batman: the Animated Series “The Demon’s Quest” (Season 1, Episode 58)

Ra’s al Ghul is the League of Assassins’ leader. He was born at least 500 years ago, has a name that means “The Demon’s Head” in Arabic, and has survived by using Lazarus Pits which are filled with rejuvenating chemicals. Ra’s and the League of Assassins were inspired by Fu Manchu’s criminal empire, much like Zorro inspiring Batman. So fights between the two are basically Zorro vs Fu Manchu. Awesome.

Batman met Ra’s while investigating an assassination. Ra’s was impressed by Batman’s strength, mind, and resolve, and he offered Batman the League’s leadership and his daughter Talia’s hand in marriage. Unfortunately, Batman never kills and refused Ra’s offer.

Ra’s finally got an heir to the League when Talia raped Batman. Their son, Damian Wayne, was trained as an assassin before Batman made him the newest Robin.

Liam Neeson played Ra’s in 2005’s Batman Begins. Scheduling problems prevented him from appearing in the sequels. Ra’s was adapted into a Green Arrow villain for the CW show Arrow.

#4 Bane

Played by: Tom Hardy and Carlos Alazraqui

Bane: “When we fought before, I broke The Bat. Today, I break the man.

Justice League: Doom

Bane elevates the sins of the father concept like no other villain. He was incarcerated by the (fictional) country of Santa Prisca before he was born because his father led a revolution. Yes, they were petty enough to jail his then-pregnant mother. Bane’s name originates from the warden declaring him “a bane on everything holy” after he grew to become the toughest inmate. The prison experimented on Bane and got him hooked on a superpower drug called Venom.

Bane learned about Batman from a fellow inmate and became obsessed with defeating him. He escaped and orchestrated a plot to weaken Batman. Bane figured out Batman’s secret identity and confronted him. Bane won and broke Batman’s back on his knee. It took a year in real life and a bat$#!& story before Batman was healed.

Tom Hardy played Bane in the Dark Knight Rises and plays Marvel’s Venom in the 2018 movie. That means Hardy has played two characters whose superpowers come from Venom. Clever casting.

#3 Batman Villain: Mr. Freeze

Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Ansara

Mr. Freeze: “Tonight, I mean to pay back the man who ruined my life… our lives.
Batman: “Even if you have to kill everyone in the building to do it?
Mr. Freeze: [nods] “Think of it, Batman: to never again walk on a summer’s day, with the hot wind in your face and a warm hand to hold. Oh, yes. I’d kill for that.”

Batman: TAS “Heart of Ice” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Dr. Victor Fries was a desperate man. His wife had contracted an incurable disease and been cryogenically frozen to save her life. While searching for a cure, his boss tried to pull the plug. Victor attacked him and was knocked into a shelf of chemicals that spilled on him and caused a mutation.

Victor was unable to live outside a sub-zero environment and built a suit to survive. Desperate to find the cure and kill his boss, he created a freeze ray and adopted the name Mr. Freeze. Batman stopped Freeze from killing the boss, but Freeze continues trying to save his wife by any means necessary.

Mr. Freeze was a bland, C-list character until the above backstory was created for Batman: The Animated Series. This origin episode, “Heart of Ice”, won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program and became the plot of the 1997 disaster Batman and Robin.

#2 The Riddler

Played by: Frank Gorshin and Jim Carrey

Riddler: Riddle me this, riddle me that: who is afraid of the big black bat?

Batman: Forever

Question: What happens when a genius is abused by his father and develops a compulsion based on riddles?

Answer: You get The Riddler.

Edward Nygma is Batman’s smartest villain. He constantly challenges Batman to solve lethal riddles like a garish version of Jigsaw from the Saw series. He’s gone straight on occasion, but always returns to crime because everything else is painfully dull for him.

Frank Gorshin gave the Riddler several of his unique traits like wearing a green suit instead of a costume, and a superiority complex. Jim Carrey played the Riddler in Batman Forever as an arrogant wannabe Joker.

#1 Batman Villain: Two-Face

Played by: Aaron Eckhart, Tommy Lee Jones, and William Shatner

Harvey Dent: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

The Dark Knight

Two-Face is the best Batman villain that isn’t Joker. Fittingly, that means he’s number two.

Harvey Dent was Gotham City’s District Attorney. The job stress and dealing with corrupt attorneys caused him to develop a split personality. During a trial a mobster threw acid in Harvey’s face, burning half of it. Harvey’s bad personality pressured him to seek revenge.

Torn between his morality and the other personality’s bloodlust, Harvey left his action to a coin flip. He cut one side of a double-headed coin with a knife. He would give control to Two-Face if the coin landed scarred side up or remain in control otherwise. The scarred side comes up often.

Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face was good, but lacked the iconic split personality and Tommy Lee Jones is forgettable in the role. William Shatner took the reins in the animated Batman vs. Two-Face and is the last supervillain Adam West’s Batman ever fought.

Who do you think is the best Batman villain aside from The Joker ? Leave a comment.

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