Batman has one of the most memorable rouges gallery in comic book history that have made their way onto the big screen to give us some of the most incredible scenes. Moments that have pushed Batman into the legend he is today, or moments that have defined who they are as compelling individuals. As they say, what is a hero without a villain, which is why we will be exploring some of the most definitive moments from Batmans villains in their live action portrayals. These are the villains that could be considered a necessary evil in the world of Batman, for without these foes how many other stories would there be left to tell?
Also Read: 10 Best Live-Action Batman Moments
But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it –Catwoman, Batman Returns (1992)
As the mysterious relationship begins to bloom between Catwoman and the Caped Crusader, after Batman attempted to save Catwoman from falling only to be double crossed by her. Catwoman finds her way mounted on top of Batman as they notice a mistletoe above them. Batman tells her that a mistletoe can be deadly when eaten, as Catwoman responds “but a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it” and proceeds to lick Batman. One of the most pivotal sides to Batman is his relationship with Catwoman, as Batman has had many love interests in comics no one has ever made Batman fall as hard as Selina Kyle. Making this scene capture that dynamic perfectly.
Ever dance with the devil in the pale of Moonlight? –Joker, Batman (1989)
We will do our best to not give all the spotlight to the Clown Prince of Crime. However, that within itself is a challenge since he has some of the most memorable and though provoking scenes in comic book films.
Jack Nicholsons Joker doesn’t give us much back story to why he enjoys saying it to his prey, other than he just likes the way it sounds. Which fits the Jokers ambiguity so well. Although he uses this line multiple times in the film, either moments could be eligible for this entry. The scene when he shoots Bruce Wayne or the flashback Bruce has of his parent’s death. Which brings such intense storytelling considering that the Joker made Bruce Wayne into Batman which in turn led to Batmans interaction with Joker at Ace Chemicals and his fall into the vat of acid, turning him into the Joker. Either are memorable scenes that add onto the the Joker mythos.
You always fear what you don’t understand -Carmine Falcone, Batman Begins (2005)
Although Carmine Falcone isn’t a major super villain to Batman, he is still part of the criminal society that plagues Gotham City. After a young Bruce witnesses the death of Joe Chill during the court proceedings Chill was facing for murdering the Waynes. Bruce is taken to the ugly side of Gotham and shown the effects that the corrupt has had on Gotham. Bruce enters a restaurant to confront Carmine Falcone, when he is forced to sit down Falcone explains to him that wealthy people like Wayne and his parents are the problem with the city, that the rich will never know what it’s like to live in the cities underbelly. And because of that, Bruce will never be able to do what is necessary to do right by Gotham. Setting Bruce on his path to become The Dark Knight.
A better class of criminal –Joker, The Dark Knight (2008)
Although Heath Ledgers Joker has some of the best scenes in The Dark Knight, I believe this one often gets overlooked as one of the defining factors to the movie and what the Joker represents.
One of the mob bosses arrive to find Joker sitting on top of a tower of money, as he slides down to meet with the mobster. Joker then proceeds to douse the money in gasoline and ignite it with his cigar. He then tells the mobster “This city deserves a better class of criminal, and I am going to give it to them” and orders his men to take him away while he mutters to himself “It’s not about money, it’s about sending a message…. Everything burns”
This scene is another definitive part to who the Joker is, he is exactly as Alfred describes him earlier in the film. “Some men, just want to watch the world burn” this is what the Joker lives for, he isn’t just some money grubbing crook. He is that criminal that makes a statement for the sake of chaos.
I was wondering what would break first -Bane, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
One of the most shocking scenes in the entire Dark Knight Trilogy. Batman comes out of retirement to face the brutal mercenary Bane. But underestimates his abilities and ends up losing to Bane. Not only is this scene so memorable because of the sheer brutality Bane inflicts on Batman, but it presents to us the first time in the series that we see our hero lose. We don’t just watch our hero beaten, he is broken mentally as well as having his back broken by Bane, referencing back to the Knightfall storyline from 1993.This scenes fight choreography mixed with the well shot cinematography and sound editing creates this incredible spectacle one of the most impressive in Batman film.
Can you introduce me as Joker? -Joker, Joker (2019)
One of Jokers more shocking scenes put to film. After the transformation Arthur Fleck takes as to become a face painted anarchist. He is invited onto the Murray Franklin Show as a guest, just before they are about to start the show Arthur asks Murray if he could introduce him as Joker. Franklin agrees and we are given an unforgettable scene as Arthur makes his way onto the stage and shows the world the same abuse and carelessness he is shown to Murray Franklin. Joker makes his point on the show stating that no one is ever civilized anymore, that the world is never understanding of people like him and the struggles he face, so he proceeds to do the one thing that only seems logical and shoot Franklin on live television. A scene so surreal that we causes us to sympathize and understand the pain that Arthur feels.
You simply walk up behind them and stab them in the heart. -Henri Ducard, Batman Begins (2005)
After Bruce saves his life at the beginning of Batman Begins, Henri Ducard appears towards the end and reveals himself to be Ra’s Al Ghul, stating that perhaps Ra’s Al Ghul is immortal and more of an ideal, referring to his comic origins as a single man who is constantly reborn in the Lazarus Pit. Ra’s explains to Bruce the part he and the League of Shadows have played in the attempted destruction of Gotham, telling him that in order to bring peace and justice to the world that Gotham must perish. No one else will stand in their way of true justice and if someone does you simply walk up behind them and stab them in the heart. This scene captures who the character of Ra’s Al Ghul is from the animated series and comic books, as a man who has the same philosophy as Batman but is willing to commit genocide to accomplish it.
Introduce a little anarchy -Joker, The Dark Knight (2008)
Yet another Joker entry, in this scene the Joker confronts Harvey Dent after disfiguring him into the super villain Two-Face. Joker approaches Two-Face in a nurse’s outfit as a way to get inside Gotham Hospital, when he meets with him he explains to Harvey his point of view of how the world works and society as a whole. How people expect certain things to happen a specific way, it a gangbanger gets shot or a tank of soldiers blows up it’s all part of a larger plan. But when you do something chaotic and unplanned, everyone loses their mind. Joker hands him a gun and encourages him to introduce a little anarchy and upset the established order, in response Harvey truly becomes Two-Face by leaving Jokers life up to the flip of his coin. Giving us perspective on not only Jokers mentality but on our own as humans and how we respond to specific situations. This scene belongs to Joker, but could also be considered a Two-Face moment as well.
Do you feel in charge? –Bane, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
“Speak of the devil and he shall appear” Bane brings mayhem not in just a physical scenes, but from within the rich and powerful within Gotham and in this case Wayne Enterprises. Bane and John Daggett are working together to muscle into power of Wayne Enterprises, but when things don’t go Daggetts way he begins to demand Banes presence and as he requested, Bane steps into the room as Daggett continues to shout out his frustrations, when Bane orders his assistant Stryver to leave the room before Daggett shouts at him to stay, stating that he is the one in charge. Bane simply places his hand face up on Daggetts should and asks him “Do you feel in charge?” This scene tells us everything we need to know about who Bane and what kind of power he holds over others, how terrifying and intimidating his presence is. Making him truly the man in charge.
Wanna know how I got these scars? -Joker, The Dark Knight (2009)
Adding onto the ambiguity of the Joker, this scene captures another moment from the Clown Prince of Crime that has made him one of Batmans best villains, as it is a reflection of the Joker from The Killing Joke when he says “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice” As we had already heard one variation of his past when he killed Gambol, telling him about an abusive father he grew up with. In another scene he grabs onto Rachel Dawes and gives her another iteration to the background of his carved face, this time he references back to a wife he had and how his self-abuse came from an effort to comfort his wife. Whether either of these stories are true or not, we will never know. This is the fascination with the Joker is that no matter how many origin stories we are given, we will never really know who he was or where he came from.