The Best Villains In The Batman Universe, According To Ranker

In the cartoon landscape, the Batman The universe is credited with bringing in the most memorable villains. The Caped Crusader’s enemies range from the maniacal Joker, the resourceful and powerful Bane, to chaotic characters like Catwoman. With such a famous history across various forms of media like movies, video games, and TV shows, among others, there’s plenty of material where fans have seen these villains.

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Ranker voters decided which of the Dark Knight’s enemies they considered the greatest. These were voted for by thousands of fans worldwide, leaving no doubt that the ones appearing here are the pick of the band. It’s interesting to see who all made the cut and what makes them so popular with the fanbase.

ten Ra’s Al Ghul

Ras al Ghul DC Comics

There are many popular Ra’s Al Ghul quotes in Batman media because the villain lived for centuries where he accumulated his knowledge of the world. In the comics, Ra’s Al Ghul has lived for a thousand years due to his use of the Lazarus Pits which grant him immortality.

His skewed sense of justice makes him a parallel to Batman, as the latter seeks to foil Ra’s Al Ghul’s extremist plans to achieve peace. Ra’s Al Ghul also brought the League of Assassins into the DC Universe, with this clan becoming Batman’s recurring enemies.

9 catwoman

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

There have been many live-action portrayals of Catwoman over the years, with the character widely touted as an antihero lately. However, her classic portrayal is that of a thief and antagonist who wanted Batman out of the way so she could continue her crime spree.

Catwoman’s villainous traits remained to some degree, as the character still contrasts morally with Batman, making their relationship impossible. Her popularity has skyrocketed each time a new portrayal is put together, though Michelle Pfieffer’s version remains arguably the most well-known.

8 poison ivy

God Poison Ivy

It’s hard to find unpopular opinions on Poison Ivy, especially lately when she’s also been portrayed as a protagonist. She was praised for presenting a feminine contrast to Batman’s masculinity, with Ivy rarely being intimidated by Batman like other criminals.

She’s been the kind of villain that really tests Batman’s mettle as Gotham’s protector, as Ivy’s powers allow her to control plant life and toxins that can kill people en masse. One can sympathize with Ivy to some extent since her viciousness stems from her belief that humanity harms nature through its polluting ways.

7 penguin

Batman Returns Penguin Danny DeVito

Penguin is one of Batman’s toughest villains and presents a challenge through the use of many of the thugs he has in his employ. Various incarnations have made him look more grotesque than the comic book version, but these have some interesting twists like the Danny DeVito versions that had a connection to the animal Penguin.

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Unlike most Batman villains, the Penguin is completely sane and aware of his actions. This dynamic makes him unpredictable since Batman cannot predict how Penguin will use his henchmen against him. Penguin’s many insecurities and grudge against Batman created many memorable moments between the two.

6 Scourge

Bane prepares to attack Batman.

The popularity of this character has been high ever since Tom Hardy masterfully played the villainous Bane. He’s been a perfect opponent for Batman because Bane is a mix of power and skill, with the villain using his genius intellect to trap Batman on multiple occasions.

He remains best known for breaking Batman’s back to become the first villain to decisively incapacitate the Dark Knight. Bane’s use of Venom arguably made him the biggest physical threat Batman has ever faced in terms of the rogues gallery and he also led various villainous alliances.

5 Mr. Freeze

Mr. Freeze in his cryogenic suit standing in front of his frozen wife's room

The perception of Mr. Freeze took a big turnaround about three decades ago when the character was transformed into a tragic figure. Originally a rather stereotypical villain, Batman: The Animated Series provided him with a sympathetic backstory of wanting to cure his wife, which made him much more attractive.

Mr. Freeze has usually sided with Batman when his pursuits have clashed with those of the Caped Crusader, with many battles between the two. The conflict he feels between doing bad deeds and wanting to save his wife adds a great level of depth to the character.

4 two sides

Two-Face holding his coin at the bar in The Dark Knight

While Two-Face’s usual modus operandi is that of a mobster with lots of mooks, his backstory is what makes him so interesting. Various interpretations range from showing Harvey Dent’s alter-ego to being a split personality while some others portray him as a representation of his damaged psyche.

Two-Face’s blind faith in the odds has brought several intense moments where he leaves other people’s lives depending on which side of the coin lands on his palm. His past with Bruce Wayne also adds another layer of characterization, with many fans even sympathizing with him.

3 Scarecrow

The smiling Scarecrow in Batman-The-Animated-Series

The Scarecrow is a villain that sums up the dark background of the Batman series, especially since it plays on the fears the Dark Knight is trying to hide. Scarecrow has been featured in everything from a wicked hammy to a genuinely terrifying enemy who paralyzed people through the use of fear toxin.

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Some incarnations like those of batman begins and Batman: Arkham Knight portrayed his fear factor on a grand scale, with all of Gotham City in the grips. Stories featuring Scarecrow can venture into the horror genre and it’s always fun to see how the story unfolds.

2 The Riddler

Riddler DC Comics Art

Batman is considered the world’s greatest detective and the villain to test that claim was The Riddler. The antagonist has a deep obsession with beating the Dark Knight, so much so that he creates intricate plots and traps in an effort to outwit the protagonist.

The storylines surrounding The Riddler have always been the cleverest, as they require a lot of detective work from Batman and keep fans guessing what each riddle is supposed to mean. The Batman went to show that The Riddler can even be a terrifying character, which means there’s still plenty of room to walk where he’s concerned.

1 The Joker

Heath Ledger as the Joker sitting in a cell in The Dark Knight

It is impossible to think of the Batman series without the Joker’s name coming to mind almost instantly. The Clown Prince of Crime is notable for having nothing to do with power or money, as he just wants to antagonize Batman for fun, even if it means Gotham having to suffer.

The Joker’s ambiguous past has helped add the mystery behind his true motivations, with various interpretations showing him as either a tragic figure or someone who has always been manic. Portrayals by Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Mark Hamill have kept the Joker popular, with the character showing no signs of fandom fatigue.

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