We still have a while to wait until the next solo Batman film (though we at least have a release date to look forward to) and despite some rumors, we’re not sure which villains will be showing up in his film. That means, it’s time to have some fun! It’s Batman’s 80th Anniversary and as iconic as the superhero himself is, there’s no denying the impact his rogues gallery has had on pop culture as well.
With a few exceptions, most of the villains we’ve seen in Batman’s solo adventures haven’t fully tapped into the more fantastical elements some of them have. Of course, his adventures in Justice League and BvS (not to mention some craziness in Suicide Squad), didn’t shy away from the aspect, but with a new Batman on the horizon (and presumably even MORE films) it’s time some of these baddies got the big screen treatment.
While there isn’t really any particular order to my list, I put Clayface first for a reason…I love this villain. He’s definitely one of the most fantastical villains in Batman’s rogues gallery but he’s also one of the most awesome. He can to transform into any person he wants and also shape-shift his body into various blades and other weapons.
He absorbs punches as easily as bullets and can cause all kinds of trouble. He is very much a ‘super’-villain and one Batman has plenty of trouble with in the comics/cartoon. With his ability to transform into virtually anything, he’s pushed Batman mentally and physically, which is what makes for the best on-screen drama. Couple that with the Animated Series version of Clayface’s back story (the aging actor) and you’ve got a character with some real depth and motivation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the character, he’s similar to Bruce Wayne (in that he comes from a wealthy family) but his views are way skewed. He murdered his parents to get their money and developed a hatred for Bruce Wayne along the way. He’d be awesome to see in a Batman movie simply because of the parallels filmmakers could make between him and Bruce. Yeah, I know Hush is getting his own DC Animated film adaptation this year, but he’d be amazing on the big screen.
There’s a lot of room there to show the duality of Batman while having a formidable opponent to square off against. I mean, in the comics, Hush actually ran the Joker out of Gotham…something not even Batman was able to do. Couple this with the fact that he frequently uses the other big villains to help accomplish his goals and you’ve got a great way to include more fan-favorite villains, without things feeling crammed in there.
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the first Batman animated film (which had a short run in theaters), Mask of the Phantasm. I wore out the tape on my VHS copy of it when I was younger and still find enjoyment when popping in the blu-ray today. One of the reasons I loved it so much, was the villain.
SPOILER! It’s Bruce Wayne’s ex-fiance, and the revelation of that was incredibly shocking when I was younger. Even before we knew this, the Phantasm was pretty awesome. She could go toe-to-toe with Batman physically and was able to keep one step ahead of him. Not to mention the fact that she nearly took down the Clown Prince of Crime.
When it comes to putting her in a movie, there’s a lot of potential. You’ve got a strong villain who can provide Batman with plenty of physical and mental challenge, all while providing the depth that comes along with Bruce’s ex-fiance coming back into his life. There’s a lot of story that can be played with there and I think it’s high time to take this villain out of the cartoon and onto the big screen.
Strange (pun intended) as it sounds, I’ve never really cared for Hugo Strange, even in the superb Arkham games…So why is he on this list? Because I like the idea behind Strange’s character; at least his later versions where he becomes so enamored with Batman, he eventually tries to kill him in order to take over the role of Batman. It’s a very interesting concept that would be fun to see on the big screen as two ‘Batmen’ (one good and one definitely skewed) try to fight it out over who gets Gotham.
Many would point to Azrael as being a better example of this, and I’m inclined to agree, but I feel the Azrael story is way too large for one Batman film. It really deserves a couple of films to really get the full affect and feel done correctly. Who knows, maybe DC is willing to do that in their new Universe, but I’d bet money on seeing Strange before Azrael.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “they’ve done Scarecrow”, and that’s true, so I’m kind of cheating here with this one. However, I believe Scarecrow deserves another chance at greatness. I loved his portrayal in Batman Begins (Cillian Murphy does a great job) but I hated how his storyline just sort of fizzled out. I mean, as soon as he was really getting interesting he just disappears. When he comes back in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, it’s more of a comedic plot device to tie the films together. In that way Scarecrow has become more of a running joke, which saddens me greatly.
Scarecrow is a great villain and deserves to be more than a second-fiddle villain. He can easily hold his own as the main antagonist, and has done so in the comics and animated series to great results. Heck, in Batman: Arkham Knight, he’s the front and center villain of the story, and it’s phenomenally well done. So the argument that he’s not a viable threat, has been proven false time and time again. He needs his own time to shine.
While I’ve detailed the main ones I’d love to see grace a new Batman movie, there are many more that would be very interesting to see come to life on the big screen. Maybe not even as main villains, but to see out there.
The Holiday Killer
The Ventriloquist and Scarface (could be fun)
The Riddler (really deserves a second chance)
Dollmaker (would be super dark, but could be neat)
No matter how you look at it, there are tons of Batman villains to pull from for any upcoming movies, whether they’re solo films or more team-ups. Only time will tell if fans will get to see these, but hey, it’s fun to speculate and hope. There’s a lot of amazing stories to pull from over 80 years and I can’t wait to see what comes next.