When it comes to trying to take down The Dark Knight, there is no doubt that you are going to have to bring your A-game. Batman is not only one of the coolest characters out there (which totally matters) but he is also one of the most powerful, and always seems to have the tools necessary to complete the job. I mean, the guy literally has his own supercar that he gets to drive around. It just wouldn’t be fair if his villains didn’t also have some outrageous powers.
Batman’s villains are great for so many reasons. Some have storylines that will tug at your heart strings, and others are just psychotic. The popularity of the Batman film franchise has helped make not only Batman, but also his villains, into household names for much of the population.
Do you not know who some of Batman’s most powerful villains are? Well, you’re in luck, because by the time you get to the end of this list, you’ll know everything there is to know about Batman’s foes. If it isn’t bad enough that one of these villains can come after you, several of them are also known for working together in a team. Who knows? Maybe, you'll read this list and be convinced that something or someone will finally be able to beat him one day! Though, I doubt it.
If you are more interested in the upcoming film Suicide Squad, which features several villains that are listed below, feel free to check out an all-inclusive list (written by yours truly) about the different bad guys that get their next crack at The Dark Knight on the big screen. Keep in mind that this list is in order, so feel free to share on Facebook if you agree or disagree!
17 Harley Quinn
While we will be covering her lover later on, one of Batman’s most pesky foes comes in the shape of Harley Quinn. Quinn was actually introduced to the world through the Batman Animated Series, and her popularity is going to explode after Suicide Squad is released later this year. Harley may not have any special trick up her sleeve or any Venom to slam back (which, as you'll find out, helps), but you better believe she is every bit as wacko as her boyfriend and not afraid to show it. You can be powerful all you want, but what really gets dangerous is when that power meets someone insane, especially when that person is also highly intelligent and an expert in all things combat-related.
16 The Penguin
When it comes to being a criminal, one of the qualities that you don't necessarily need to succeed is height, which is fantastic for The Penguin, who is never going to be able to physically intimidate Batman. He still earns respect for the fact that he is a criminal genius and is often found in leadership roles in various organizations. You don’t have to be strong if you’re surrounded by strong people. Plus, he has a variety of Penguin-related gadgets, and given that penguins might be this author’s favorite animal, you better believe he scores some points for that. If you want to see the character on the big screen, check out Danny Devito’s portrayal in Tim Burton’s version of Batman. Just be warned, it’s not as heartfelt as you might imagine.
15 Victor Zsasz
When you look at Victor Zsasz, the first thing you see is that there are marks all over his body. Zsasz is a serial killer and carves a mark on his body for every victim who he kills with a knife. If you are standing across from someone who has proudly killed hundreds of people, especially up close, I don’t care if you’re Batman, you’re going to get scared. The character drifted to madness after losing his parents at age 25, and then proceeded to gamble away his family's money, losing a large sum to The Penguin. Like others on this list, it is the unpredictability of Victor Zsasz that makes him all the more dangerous.
While not always a foe, there are definitely moments when Catwoman gets under Batman’s skin. The character's origin places her as an orphan who learns to survive on the streets through the art of stealing. I suppose you can see why that would rub Batman the wrong way. As a result of her devotion to her craft, Catwoman offers a peak level of athleticism and often wields items to help get her around such as retractable claws and different bullwhips (though, I don’t think she knows Indiana Jones). Catwoman is well known for her love angles with The Dark Knight as well, so you know that the power of seduction is not lost on her either.
13 The Riddler
Do you love riddles? Me too! But that’s almost what makes The Riddler just the worst! He takes something you love and turns it into a maddening game. Everything is a riddle or question. Can’t he just be straight with you for once? I suppose that in itself doesn’t make him powerful, but it sure makes him annoying. The Riddler is a smart enough character that he is able to contend with some of the biggest powerhouses on this list. Like Batman, he has also accumulated a large fortune and is not afraid to sink some serious coin into his schemes. Plus, he’s had Jim Carrey portray him! Though in hindsight, that might actually lose him points.
After the fantastic job done by Aaron Eckhart, most people are able to instantly pick out Two-Face as being one of the biggest foes in Batman’s rogue den. For those still unaware, Two-Face is a maniacal criminal who also uses the flip of a coin to determine the fate of his victims, and if that doesn’t make him super menacing I don’t know what will. The fact that Two-Face used to be Harvey Dent, a symbol of hope and goodness, made the fall from grace all the harder for Batman to take. Just make sure to be careful if you see him toting a gun because he is an expert marksman and also not afraid to throw down some fisticuffs. Batman just has to hope that the coin fates are smiling on him the next time Two-Face crosses his path.
Man-Bat is always going to get some love from me because it is the first villain that appears in Batman: The Animated Series. Dr. Kirk Langstrom was a scientist who studied bats and attempted to develop an extract based on a Bat’s sonar sense to help cure his failing hearing. It worked, but it also turned him into a hideous bat-like creature that is terrifying. Like bats, Robert also has the ability to fly and use echolocation to try and get an advantage over Batman. While he may not be the strongest character here, knowing he can fly means you may never truly have him captured.
10 Poison Ivy
Batman is clearly not sexist, as some of his most vaunted villains are of the female variety. Poison Ivy is as strong as any, and also has been known to use her powers on Superman. For those who are not aware, Poison Ivy largely uses plants, her environment and toxins to create a deadly arsenal. Ivy has also not been afraid to create love potions, which she has used to great effect. Her knowledge of plants always seems to allow her to come up with the necessary potion or ingredient to get out of a situation or to heal herself. Watch out Batman, she’s going to seduce you and then rip your heart out. Literally.
In the comics, there are several people that have endured the moniker of Clayface, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll stick to describing some of the different powers that come with this villain. Most notably, Clayface tends to be malleable, which means he is able to shape-shift. In one version, Matt Hagen also had the ability to shift his voice which further helped his ability to fool people. Preston Payne is perhaps the strongest of all the versions of this villain. Not only could he shape-shift, but he also had the ability to melt people with his touch. No matter who it was behind Clayface at any given time, there is no doubt that he’s provided a consistent and formidable foe for Batman.
8 The Scarecrow
It doesn’t matter if you’re Bill from down the street, or the greatest crime fighter of all time, everyone is afraid of something. There is no way you are going to be able to deny that, especially when your opponent frequently taps into your brain to figure out just what it is you are afraid of. On top of being able to create different fear toxins, The Scarecrow has been known to transform into the "Scarebeast", and in doing so gains superhuman strength, endurance, and a more potent hallucinogen. What happens when the thing that I am afraid of the most in the world is The Scarecrow?
7 Solomon Grundy
When Solomon Grundy first appeared in the comics, it was not Batman he wanted to take down, but The Green Lantern. While he didn’t necessarily knock off Green Lantern, Grundy has done enough to stick around and be a permanent problem for several DC characters.
When it comes to knocking off foes, Grundy has several powers at his disposal including the standard, superhuman strength and stamina. What really makes him powerful is the fact that he is essentially immortal, due to the elemental energy that keeps him alive in the first place. Even when you think the character may have been destroyed for good, like when Batman put him in a blast furnace, he always seems to find a way to keep coming back, and that makes him one powerful foe.
When it comes to different villains, you may start to relate to some of them or feel bad for them once you understand their backstory more. One character that absolutely tugs at your heart strings is Mr. Freeze. Dr. Victor Fries was a cryogenicist, whose wife was stricken with a fatal disease. In order to save her, he froze her and desperately searched for a cure. Unfortunately, GothCorp decided that it wasn’t worth the money and they pulled the plug, killing his wife. To make matters worse, it led to an accident that made Fries' body cold-blooded, meaning he must always be kept at subzero temperatures or he will die.
Don’t you just hate the feeling of being cold? Mr.Freeze can make you feel that way all the time. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I am a pretty big fan of not ending up frozen in an ice cube. At the very least, you need to feel bad for the man who clearly misses his wife. I bet she would make him stop all the mayhem.
5 Killer Croc
When you are going up against another human at least you know there are certain qualities on which you can rely. What is Batman thinking when he has to go up against Killer Croc? Croc, as you can see from the photo, is essentially more crocodile than man and he is not afraid to use that to his full advantage. Those teeth don’t feel good, and he can hold his breath underwater for an extended period of time, which he uses to his advantage. The character’s skin, what with it being y’know crocodile skin, is also incredibly hard to penetrate so I imagine Batman probably doesn’t enjoy punching him. Killer Croc is making his big-screen debut in Suicide Squad this upcoming summer, and you better believe he’ll make an impact!
4 Ra’s Al Ghul
It can be easy to see Ra’s al Ghul and think of the version that appears in Batman Begins, but the character is even cooler than that. Like others on this list, he too has also tussled with Superman and other members of the DC Universe. The biggest quality that helps Al Ghul stand out is his usage of the Lazarus Pits, which he uses to replenish his aged, injured and, at times, even deceased body. The pit also increases his overall strength, speed, stamina and durability. On top of this, he’s a genius, and while Batman can concoct some great plans, you better not sleep on Al Ghul. As if the added strength, speed and other qualities were not enough, he also a master of hand-to-hand combat. It would be super realistic if this guy actually knocked off Batman.
3 The Joker
Have you heard of this villain known as The Joker? Apparently he’s a pretty evil guy! I’m not too sure, but I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with him. The Joker is insane and he uses that to great effectiveness. The Joker has hurt Batman to his core, including murdering Jason Todd (who was the 2nd Robin) as well as paralyzing Barbara Gordon. He does all of this not with remorse but rather with absolute glee, and that truly makes him a foe worth fearing. He won’t tower over Batman physically, but he clearly won’t stop until Batman kills him and it is that relentless spirit that makes him so powerful.
You aren’t going to be able to complete this list without including Bane, so you might as well put him near the top. Bane’s storyline is that he has abnormal strength due to experiments regarding a drug known as Venom. While he has been around since 1993, he gained popularity after a fantastic portrayal by Tom Hardy as the character in The Dark Knight Rises. Want a quote that really dictates the power of Bane?
“I am Bane and I could kill you... but death would only end your agony and silence your shame. Instead, I will simply... BREAK YOU!"
If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, I’m not too sure what would. Bane has also had affiliations with the Suicide Squad and the Secret Six, so you better believe that he isn’t afraid to go after The Bat with a team.
I don’t know if you’re excited for Batman V. Superman, but it’s kind of a big deal! Coming out in a few months, it will not only finally feature Batman and Superman on the same screen, but, based on the title, it is clear that they are not necessarily going to get along the whole time. Superman and Batman have had shared interests, most notably as members of the Justice League, but they’ve also had their fair share of conflict throughout the years.
Given that Superman may be the most powerful superhero of all, there is no doubt that he is also Batman’s most powerful foe. Superman has absolutely no shortage of powers that would help make him a favorite against any mere mortal, at least any mere mortal that isn’t named Bruce Wayne!