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Batman: The 10 most terrifying villains he faced in his movies, ranked

Bane and Joker as Batman villains
Bane and Joker as Batman villains Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Batman has been around in movies for decades now and his villains are almost as famous as he is.

While the Batman movie from the ’60s made the villains dangerous, they never felt deadly and played out in more comic depictions.

However, when Tim Burton brought Batman face to face with Joker in 1989, things got dark and crazy.

Those movies ended after four, but then Christopher Nolan arrived with Batman Begins and took Batman to new heights.

Finally, Zack Snyder showed up and helped created the DCEU with his new Batman and a new direction of the hero and his villains.

Here is a look at the 10 most terrifying Batman villains in movie history.

Joker (Suicide Squad)

Joker smiling in Suicide Squad movie
Joker smiling in Suicide Squad movie Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Batman popped up in Suicide Squad to battle Deadshot and arrest him. There was also a big chase scene with Batman pursuing Joker and Harley Quinn, which resulted in Harley going to jail as well.

Deadshot is a perfect shot, but as Suicide Squad showed, he is not as bad as Joker. Deadshot has morals, and Joker has none.

Joker also proved he can bounce back from anything, from helicopter crashes to battles with Batman, and he even busted into a prison to get Harley Quinn out.

He is the worst of the movie Jokers, but he is still as terrifying as they come.

Talia al Ghul

Talia al Ghul standing with Lucius Fox in Dark Knight Rises
Talia al Ghul standing with Lucius Fox in Dark Knight Rises Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Talia al Ghul has one big thing that makes her deadlier than almost anyone.

Just like her dad, she is a master of making people trust her before driving a knife into their back. While her dad made Bruce Wayne trust him as an ally, Talia made him her lover.

In the end, she had no problem using her power as a woman to help conquer Gotham City and break the Bat. There is nothing like a woman scorned, and she did more damage to Batman than almost anyone.

Two-Face (The Dark Knight)

Two Face sitting in his car in The Dark Knight
Two Face sitting in his car in The Dark Knight Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Two-Face is the most tragic villain in Batman movie history.

First, ignore the Two-Face from Batman Forever. As much as Tommy Lee Jones is a national treasure, his Two-Face was the worst villain in the first four movies.

This is The Dark Knight and Aaron Eckhart, who started as the greatest hero in Gotham City as the district attorney.

However, after Joker killed the woman he loved, and melted half Harvey’s face, he became the terrifying Two-Face and set out to bring Batman down.

Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

Bane preparing to fight in The Dark Knight
Bane preparing to fight in The Dark Knight Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Once again, forget the old Bane. The character who showed up in Batman & Robin as a minion for Poison Ivy was a joke.

In Dark Knight Rises, Bane returned as he should have been. He is a terrifying, powerful warrior and he is the only movie villain to beat Batman, breaking Bruce Wayne’s back.

He worked directly with Talia al Ghul, her sworn protector since she was a child, and he was the most powerful antagonist Batman fought in any of his movies at that time.

Joker (Batman 1989)

Jack Nicholson as Joker in Batman 1989
Jack Nicholson as Joker in Batman 1989 Pic credit: Warner Bros.

There are complaints that Jack Nicholson’s Joker was just Nicholson as Joker. With that said, it doesn’t take away how deadly this character really was.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Tim Burton’s Batman movie, this Joker was a stone-cold killer.

There has been violence in the Batman movies over the years, but the casual murders and gruesome deaths Joker caused were terrifying, as he had no regard for any human life.

This Joker might have killed more people than any other version to date, and he did it with a smile.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow in his mask in Batman Begins
Scarecrow in his mask in Batman Begins Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Scarecrow wasn’t the most terrifying villain in Batman Begins, but he was still deadly as the secondary villain of the movie.

He was a psychiatrist who betrayed his oath and used people’s fears to drive them to commit violent crimes, create mayhem, and led to the deaths of countless people.

Scarecrow used a fear gas that brought a person’s fears to life, and this even worked against Batman. What lowered his effectiveness was that Batman could block the gas and then defeated Scarecrow easily.

Ra’s al Ghul

Ras al Ghul fighting Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins
Ras al Ghul fighting Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Before Marvel fans were angry when Iron Man 3 duped them into thinking Mandarin was real, Batman Begins used the same tactic with Ra’s al Ghul.

What was different here was that the real Ra’s al Ghul was there the entire time, although he was not what anyone expected. When his identity was revealed, he almost killed Bruce Wayne.

Ra’s then roared into Gotham City with his League of Assassins and almost took over the entire city before finally falling to Batman in the end. He was easily on a level with Batman as a fighter, and his rule of the League made him a terrifying foe.

Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf in battle in Justice League
Steppenwolf in battle in Justice League Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Steppenwolf was not that scary in the theatrical version of Justice League. However, when Zack Snyder released his cut on HBO Max, the character was drastically improved.

Steppenwolf was a disgraced warrior and conquering Earth was his chance to earn favor from Darkseid once again. He then showed up and was more powerful than all of Earth’s heroes.

This villain was so terrifying that Batman had to do the unthinkable. He brought Superman back from the dead, knowing that the Man of Steel was the only being on Earth who could stand up to Steppenwolf and stop him.

Darkseid did not make this list, as he never made it to Earth and never battled Batman.

Doomsday

Doomsday fighting Superman and Batman
Doomsday fighting Superman and Batman Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Doomsday did the impossible. This villain was so terrifying that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman together couldn’t stop him.

The only way they beat Doomsday was for Superman to sacrifice his own life, dying alongside the villain that Lex Luthor created to kill him.

This means Lex succeeded in his plan to rid the world of Superman. While the Luthor that Zack Snyder created was far from terrifying, the creature he brought to life was one of the most terrifying characters in DCEU history.

Joker (The Dark Knight)

Joker holding up a card in Dark Knight
Joker holding up a card in Dark Knight Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Easily, the most terrifying villain Batman ever faced in a movie was The Dark Knight’s Joker.

Heath Ledger brought this character to life brilliantly and won a posthumous Oscar for the performance. His Joker wasn’t just a killer, and he wasn’t a scary mobster.

The Dark Knight’s Joker was evil personified. He didn’t care about anyone or anything. He didn’t want money. He wanted nothing but to spread fear and chaos to the world, and he succeeded.

Joker is one of the few Batman villains to survive their fight, and he was the one that drove Batman to the edge, the most terrifying and capable villain in DC movie history.

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