Top 10 Filmable Batman Villains
It can’t be denied that Christopher Nolan has reinvented the way we look at comic book movies today. This was accomplished once he realized that he can take away the “Pow!” “Boom!” and “Kablamo!” attached to the Batman legacy where he then found material for some deeply moving, thrilling, and innovative stories. As shown in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Nolan created a believable universe in which Batman and his band of not-so-merry men could truly exist where they were once thought too cartoon-ish or unrealistic for serious cinema. He successfully brought the Scarecrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Two-Face and the Joker to life but what lies ahead for the third (and future) installment in this new Batman franchise? Which characters have the greatest potential to make the cut in the Nolanverse?
Name/Alias: Several – Clayface
Story: Clayface is the only person on this list with superpowers which is an attribute we have yet to see in any Nolanverse villain but don’t cast him aside just yet. Not only can he make weapons like saws, hammers, and blades with his own body, he can shapeshift into anyone. Think of him as the clay baby of T-1000 from Terminator 2 and Mystique from X-Men. The actions Clayface is capable of are endless. Does he want to infiltrate Wayne Enterprises? Pose as Lucius Fox. Does he want to break someone out of Arkham? Pose as a security guard. Or better yet: Does he want to ruin Batman’s reputation? Pose as the Bat himself.
Clayface could very easily become a bad decision in the Nolanverse should the production team make him into a Sandman-esque character from Spider-Man 3. I say that just because a villain has powers doesn’t mean he needs to go overboard with said powers. Allow Clayface to absorb a batarang or fall off a skyscraper without a scratch. He doesn’t need to turn into the Blob and mud up the city for him to be impressive and/or worthwhile.
Overall Challenge: High. A character made of clay who can be anyone at any time and who can get out of almost any situation? Yeah. I hope it rains a lot in Gotham.
Name/Alias: Talia al Ghul
Story: Move aside Rachel What’s-Your-Name! You’re yesterday’s news. Enter Talia al Ghul, the daughter of the League of Shadows leader Ra’s al Ghul. Although, you don’t want to label her as some damsel in distress. Not only can Talia’s exotic beauty stun a man, she can work a number of weapons expertly and her handle of the sword is not easily matched (pun slightly intended). In the comics, she (like her father) knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman and she is convinced that he is the most suitable man to bear a child with. The two share an on-again off-again relationship, making Talia not a strict Batman villain, but rather an anti-hero who errs on the side of good from time to time.
As we saw in Batman Begins, Ra’s al Ghul blended into the Nolanverse perfectly so the chances that his daughter can do the same are equally good. Plus, we don’t hear anything from Ra’s during the second film, so what better way to reintroduce him in the third film then by sending his daughter to seduce Bruce back into his favor? Ra’s gets a “son,” Talia gets her man, and Bats gets some booty. Everybody wins!
Overall Challenge: Medium. What stops Talia from being a true villain is her love and respect for Batman so if he’s smart, he’ll use that infamous playboy charm of his when he needs it most, say, right before she beheads him to please her father.
Name/Alias: Noah Kuttler – Calculator
Story: As a relatively unknown rogue, Calculator first began as a third-rate criminal. It wasn’t until recent that he discovered how to reinvent himself for the modern war between heroes and villains: start a business! Serving as the “evil” counterpart to Oracle (Barbara Gordon, a.k.a the former Batgirl), Calculator began a business where he serves as the villain community’s information broker. In need of henchmen? Weapons? Jobs? Maps? Connections? The Calculator is the man to hook you up with your criminal needs… for a price.
One of the good things about Noah is that doesn’t run around at night in a costume. The threat he poses is a technological one. We’re beginning to see more of Batman’s detective work (primarily in The Dark Knight) and a perfect villain to test these skills is Calculator. This cyber terrorist can hack almost every known database and for a billionaire who’s got a big secret to hide, Bruce should be wary of this seemingly unthreatening man.
Overall Challenge: Medium/High. I can’t personally see Calculator being a big, Two-Face/Scarecrow/Joker ranking rogue, but I do see him aiding the main villain in a film. The focus wouldn’t necessarily be on him, but his work/efforts against Batman should prove to be very troublesome overall.
Name/Alias: Victor Zsasz – Mr. Zsasz
Story: This nihilistic serial killer carves a tally mark on himself whenever he takes a life (already he sounds like a barrel of fun, right?). Deemed criminally insane, Zsasz’s outlook in life is a rather twisted one. He believes he’s doing people a favor by killing them. His kills are brutal, graphic, and sick. Plus, I hear he doesn’t think much of puppies.
Zsasz is an Arkham inmate which is an institution we have yet to fully explore in film. With the success of the recent video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, we could potentially be seeing more of this hellhole if Nolan collects Zsasz and other similar patients. The best part of this character is that most of us have already seen him on film. In Batman Begins, audiences are introduced to Mr. Zsasz for the first time (google for screencaps of the movie where he escapes Arkham; the tally marks can be seen on his neck). The chances that we’ll see him again are looking pretty good at this rate.
Overall Challenge: Medium/High. Like Calculator, I don’t see Mr. Zsasz as a central focus villain but he could definitely be a pain in the Bat-butt.
Name/Alias: Roman Sionis – Black Mask
Story: Black Mask is heavily involved in the mob scene in Gotham City. His brilliant mind has lead him to become a powerful man in the criminal underworld. His desire for vengeance mimics Batman’s own drive, but he pushes the envelope to a very twisted end (e.g. going so far as making someone eat part of a corpse, just to drive them insane). He doesn’t get invited to many parties.
Whether he wears his mask (usually depicted as a black/burned skull) or the mask is infused to his face, either one could be pulled off in the Nolanverse as a Scarecrow-esque character. His use of sadistic torture methods to toy with people’s minds could fall into the films should they decide to up the creep factor.
Overall Challenge: High. Black Mask’s main vendetta lies with Bruce Wayne, rather than Batman. Any enemies of the billionaire would be rather difficult to combat if he doesn’t want to give away his cape and cowl.
Name/Alias: Lazlo Valentin – Professor Pyg
Story: Huh, who, what? Professor Pyg? Never heard of him. That’s because he’s a villain of the newest Batman (Dick Grayson) in the DC Comics universe. So then why is he here on this list? Because Professor Pyg is one sick freak that redefines the term “wrong.” Adorning a bloody butcher’s apron and a pig mask, Pyg’s one desire is to make people perfect. He accomplishes this by welding a doll-face on his victims and performing a crude lobotomy on them, ultimately making them his nurses/henchmen. Not only that, he taunts people before torturing them in a disturbing and sickening display that simply makes your skin crawl.
Nolanverse Batman is rated PG-13 but we all know that some parents are indeed taking their kids to go watch these movies. Although I’m okay with that myself (I fell in love with Bats at a young age myself), the edginess and darker route that we’re traveling down with these movies is becoming seemingly less suitable for kids. Adding Professor Pyg to the villain roster would blot out what little of the kid-friendly element there is to Batman. Personally, I’d love to see Bruce kick Pyg’s sick, twisted face into the ground but it very well may end up with an R rating if they want to stay true to Pyg’s M.O. Did I mention he was sick?
Overall Challenge: High. He targets everyone and knows no bounds. Additionally, I think Bruce’s rule against killing would be tested greatly if he ever faced the Professor. After you meet him, you too would want to reduce him to bacon bits.
Name/Alias: Thomas Eliot – Hush
Story: Let me paint a picture for you: two young boys, the sons of wealthy and successful parents, grow up to be best friends and who share years of happiness and laughter… that is until everything goes to hell. Young Tommy Eliot hated his parents so after a failed attempt to kill them both, he began to resent young Bruce who received all his family’s fortune after his parents’ untimely death. Thus began this surgeon’s deep seeded hatred for Bruce who ultimately got to live the life Thomas always wanted. Sort of.
Tommy learns Batman’s identity and uses this knowledge to his advantage. Not only that, he uses the fact that the two of them used to be childhood friends against Bruce as well. Packed with a set of guns and playing psychological mind tricks on Batman can not only be easily filmable, but Hush could carry on through an entire movie as the main villain. Bring on the frenemy drama!
Overall Challenge: Really High. A villain you’re unable to fight because your past friendship and who knows your secret identity and your weakness? Be strong Bruce. Be strong.
Name/Alias: Floyd Lawton – Deadshot
Story: As one of the best assassins in DCU, Deadshot can pose a number of problems for Batman. Floyd’s disregard for his own life makes him twice as dangerous because unlike the rest of the villains in this list, he could care less if he died or not. In other words, he’ll take all the risks the others won’t. A mercenary with nothing to lose doesn’t bode well for anyone.
Deadshot appears in the Batman: Gotham Knight animated movie that chronologically takes place between the Nolan films. It gives audiences a glimpse of the incredible talents of this assassin. He can also be seen in the Justice League animated series voiced and portrayed more accurately to his comic book personality by Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum. With so much animated exposure, it won’t be surprising to see him make an appearance in film.
Overall Challenge: Very High. Batman’s strict “No Guns” policy is sure to collide with Deadshot’s “Nothing But Guns” policy. This anti-Batman of a character is one of the best marksmen in DCU, but it’s his adaptability that will prove to be one of the greatest physical challenges.
Name/Alias: Edward Nigma/Nygma – Riddler
Story: What’s lean, green, and nifty keen? Jim Carrey’s Riddler and shame on you for remembering him! Sure I love Carrey but his Riddler was a very flamboyant version of Nigma that hasn’t existed in the comics for some time. Edward is normally a debonair, suave, and pompous man who simply revels in knowing he’s two steps ahead of everyone else. Not to mention he’s quite a bit of a ladies’ man (the new playboy in town perhaps?).
Out of all the names flying around for the next film, Riddler is one of the top candidates. Why is that? As we saw with the Joker, Nolan is looking for a criminal that’s much more than just brute strength. He wants someone complex and twisted and who can challenge Bruce in more ways than one. Edward can fulfill that role and then some.
Overall Challenge: Extremely High. Not many can challenge Batman’s intellect but the Riddler is an exception. We have yet to really see how far Bruce’s intellect goes in the Nolanverse but with the addition of the Riddler, audiences would be introduced to an alarming brilliant playboy billionaire. They don’t say Batman is the smartest man in all DCU for nothing.
Name/Alias: Selina Kyle – Catwoman
Story: Oh c’mon! Who else did you expect to be Bruce’s greatest challenge to be? Superman? Well, now that I mention him… Wait, no! Catwoman is the best filmable candidate. Let me set one thing straight though (as many of you are probably thinking): she’s not an actual villain! Catwoman is an anti-hero, someone who acts like a criminal but has also been known to do a good deed every once in a while. So why add her at all?
Catwoman is extremely versatile. She could either work as a villain, an ally, or both. Here we have a character that could very well fit into the Nolanverse as long as the attention isn’t taken from Batman and given to her instead (it’s called “Batman” not “Look How Hot Catwoman Is”). And speaking of which, this character deserves to be redeemed after the movie debacle falsely titled “Catwoman” back in 2004. No, Pitof. Just no.
Overall Challenge: Extremely High. Three words to encompass the dangers of this woman: Sexy. Leather. Whip. Did I mention that Batman is single again?