By now, many of you have probably heard about DC and Warner Bros. plans to reboot the Batman franchise after Nolan’s trilogy ends. There are a lot of mixed feelings about it, but on the whole, I can’t say that more Batman is a bad thing either. With a new franchise and a new filmmaker, this could be the chance for some other Batman villains to finally get the big screen treatment, and here’s some of the top villains I’d like to see.
I really enjoy the Batman films Nolan has given us, but while they have some fantastical elements, his penchant for choosing more ‘real world’ type villains has left me wanting. That being said there are some fantasy type villains on this list, but a couple others that are as plain as could be. Either way, I’d love to see any of these people up on the big screen in the new Batman franchise.
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 the rogues gallery but he’s also one of the most awesome. He’s got the ability to transform into any person he wants, and can 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. The problem is on the big screen he could end up much like Sandman did on Spider-Man 3: sucky. So there needs to be a balance in there somewhere to not make him too over the top.
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.
This character frequently pops up on most wanted Batman villains lists, and many hoped he would turn out to be the villain in Nolan’s last Batman film. 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. 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.
There’s a lot of depth that can be explored within his character and 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 characters, without things feeling crammed in there.
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for that 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 lots of enjoyment in the story today. One of the reason I love it, 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 for a time. 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.
Many anticipated that Strange would actually be the villain for Dark Knight Rises. He’s one of the most ‘realistic’ villains (which we all know Nolan loves), so many assumed he might be making an appearance. As strange as it sounds though, I’ve never really cared for Hugo Strange...
So why is he on this list? Because I like the idea behind Strange’s character (at least his later versions). Simply, he becomes so enamored with Batman, that 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 sort of inclined to agree. However, I feel the Azrael story is way too large for one Batman film. It really deserves a full trilogy (or at the least a duology) and I don’t see them going for that.
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, 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 I for one would love to see that happen.
While I’ve detailed the main ones I’d love to see grace a Batman movie, there are many more that could be interesting:
The Ventriloquist and Scarface (could be fun)
The Riddler (really deserves a second chance)
There are tons of Batman villains to pull from for the big screen adaptations. Only time will tell if WB decides to choose from the more obscure/fantastical ones or continue along the same path they’ve been treading with Nolan. I for one really hope they decide to take some risks and branch out when they do the next reboot. So now that you’ve heard from me, we’d love to hear which villains you’d like to see on the big screen next!
A film/video editor at heart, Jordan dips his hands in many areas of filmmaking, including producing and VFX. On top of that he's a huge nerd and cartoonist, though you shouldn't hold that against him. He's been writing on the film industry for a number of years now and has had his worked featured on a number of other major film sites.
Email him at: email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter: @JordanMaison