Might amend the list later, we'll see...
In the meantime, here are my own picks for best bat-villains:
HARLEY QUINNBatman: City Of Scars which wasn't bad and apparently she's pretty badass in the Arkham Asylum/City games so watch this space: Quinn WILL have her day in the sun.
Here's another character with real potential. The portrayals of Scarecrow have rarely impressed me thusfar. In the Animated Series he looked like the pissed-off version of that Wizard Of Oz dude and in Batman Begins he was just a guy with a mask who gets his ass handed to him by... *shudder* Katie Holmes. Embarrassing. This guy should be TERRIFYING! Nightmares and hallucinations are his "thing" and I really would like to see a pants-shittingly unpleasant version of this character. In the meantime, he's showed off some pretty nifty tricks in the Animated Series and the comic-books so I think he too could become a fantastic Bat-villain down the line. Crispin Glover anyone?
There have been some pretty great interpretations of The Penguin: he's been portrayed as slimy, disgusting, greedy, verbose... and all have worked pretty well so far. The best of which has to be Danny DeVito's genius animalistic turn in Batman Returns as a guy rotten to the core by a bitterness towards his shitty childhood and the people of Gotham in general. The guy is gross and frankly unpleasant but slyly manipulative and weirdly charming when he needs to be: he's a crooked politician basically but one with decidedly dark intentions. He's great because he's essentially a monster in disguise and when his true self is revealed, it ain't pretty. Oh and he made umbrellas NOT ass, no easy feat I think you'll agree.
Here's one that often appears in "Worst Batman Villains" lists and yes, I know it's a guy with a puppet. But for me this is one of the most underrated Batman characters around. You ever watch the movie Magic? Well it's great and if done right, The Ventriloquist often channels the demented, sinister creepiness of Anthony Hopkins in that movie to create a worthy opponent for The Bat. Obviously in a fight this guy's useless so he's more of a crime boss-type villain but I like the idea of a guy possessed by his own creation: his insanity obvious to everyone around him... except himself. I also like in the comic-books when they attempt to blur the line between whether Scarface is real or not, putting us in the same mindset as that little old bald guy with glasses. Again, an attempt at portraying him live-action can be seen in City Of Scars but we'll have to wait a while I think before someone takes a chance at taking the character seriously.
THE MAD HATTER
The Mad Hatter was really made great in the Animated Series because guy-with-a-moustache and leprechaun-looking-guy wasn't working for me. A lot of that rests on Roddy McDowall's brilliant take on the character who was soft-spoken but increasingly dangerous as the series went on. I mean, the man makes Batman believe the craziest shit: he takes him back to before he was The Bat, before his parents died and lets him live in this fantasy for ages just so he can keep Batman quiet. That's just freakin' cruel. The Mad Hatter is a terrific all rounder: he's theatrical but a real threat, he's jealous, bitter and childish but seems to be lost in denial more than anything else. He's got mind-control chips which always prove pretty darn handy and his obsession with the Alice In Wonderland character is a lot of fun. A live-action version would need to really make him look as threatening as possible and mad as shit. Can't wait.
Catwoman's awesome. Especially when NOT portrayed by Halle Berry. For me she's at her best when she's really on the edge of being a villain but really is more of an anti-hero so I wasn't sure about including her but she's been portrayed as a straight-up villain enough times that it made sense to. I mean, in the 60's there was no doubt about it: this "feisty feline" was bad news and whether she was portrayed by the scheming Julie Newmar or the adorable Lee Meriwether... she was always up for pissing off The Bat. Wasn't a huge fan of her in the Animated Series, didn't like her grey costume, didn't like her predominantly "save-the-whales" animal rights angle but I guess after seeing Michelle Pfeiffer in the role the bar was raised pretty damn high. Good luck trying to top THAT Anne Hathaway! I love Catwoman because she's just cool. Crime-fighting, villainy, anything goes, depends what mood she's in. And there's just something about leather catsuits and whips...
Of course The Riddler is right up there. Love The Riddler. As a kid, one of my favourite items was this green bowler hat my parents had found somewhere. Did I pretend to be the character and make up riddles? Maybe... There's not much to this guy in terms of depth, I'll admit, but I love the idea of a guy so proud of his own intellect that he simply HAS to prove he's smarter than Batman. It doesn't matter if he leads The Bat all the way back to his secret lair with his stupid-ass riddles as long as he gets to show the world just how darn clever he is in the process. Talk about vain! To be fair he's got a brilliant fashion sense, can't go wrong with green question-marked suits. That said I was never a fan of the purple gloves/mask: keep it green and black, people. Jim Carrey certainly looked the part, unitard aside, even if he did make him a little... campier and LOUDER than he should have. Great potential to make the guy as cool as The Joker in future interpretations, definitely, which leads me to...
The Joker isn't #1 on the list?
Now don't get me wrong, I love The Joker. He IS Batman's biggest enemy and in terms of sheer villainy he is #1 by far. But we're talking favourites here and although he was my favourite as a kid, my tastes in Bat-villains have changed somewhat over the years. You can't go wrong with The Joker, I've rarely seen a Joker I didn't like. Cesar Romero, moustache and all, was great, Heath Ledger was brilliant, Jack Nicholson was freakin' cool, even Mark Hamill was loads of fun in the Animated Series. The Joker is a more substantial villain than The Riddler in that he actually looks pretty damn freaky, he's got a messed-up sense of humour and his jokey nature is only a mask keeping under wraps a truly dangerous criminal capable of anything. Bombing Gotham all around, using any methods he can get his hands on to create chaos (poison, chemicals, explosives) all over, The Joker doesn't f*** around and he's always one Batman can't quite understand because he tends to be impressively unpredictable. Hard to get inside a mind so twisted. THE classic, unavoidable Batman villain. Which leaves my favourite to be...
Yes Harvey "Two-Face" Dent is my favourite Batman villain.
Simply because his story is way more affecting than most other Bat-villains'. Harvey Dent was a good, honest guy, one of Gotham's only hopes for change but the city was so rotten that he too succumbed to becoming a monster, running amok causing The Bat much, much grief. Especially since he was Bruce Wayne's friend as well back in the day. Both the Animated Series and The Dark Knight did amazingly well to capture just how heartbreaking this whole transformation is. In the former, he was struggling with anger issues, with another side to him being kept bottled up inside through therapy and hypnosis. He blamed Batman for his disfigurement and would not let his hatred go. In The Dark Knight, he really was the best guy out there: even his trusty two-faced coin was used as a playful, righteous trick. So when Aaron Eckhart is finally revealed as Two-Face in the film it really is quite a sight. I would have shit my pants as a kid, still can't believe that movie was a 12A. Actually... the character's introduction in the Animated Series was pretty terrifying as well!
When you're a kid watching this scene, trust me, it's the stuff nightmares are made of. I should also mention just how cool the character is, always wearing the best half/half suits, always making decisions with that coin of his thinking there's some kind of justice in it when even he finds loopholes to the rule occasionally. And no, I'm no big fan of Tommy Lee Jones' take on the guy in Batman Forever but DAMN those suits were badass. I think people should really stop tricking him by throwing a bunch of coins in his face, he's not an idiot! He's not all there, granted, and who knows how well he can see from that big, round left eye of his but I'm guessing he's got some sort of peripheral vision so quit it!
Overall, Two-Face just has the best story for me and I just empathise with his character more than with any of the others. The Joker was a crook to begin with, he just got creative. Two-Face doesn't really know what he's doing which makes him not only a tragic figure but also a loose canon. Underrated.
Might post some honourable mentions soon and some character profiles for some important ones who didn't make my Top 10 but in the meantime, who is YOUR best Bat-villain?