Bat-Villains On Film Ranked (Part 1 of 2) Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM.COM)
May 2, 2014
Starting with BATMAN in 1989 through THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in 2012, there have been fifteen interpretations of Batman villains in MAJOR live-action Batman films. Which one is the best? The worst? Read on Batfans to see how I ranked 'em!
15) Jeep Swenson as Bane in BATMAN & ROBIN (1997)
Comic book fans can at least champion the fact that the late Mr. Swenson looked the most like the Bane from the comic books. (And sadly, that's all that matters for some.)
14) Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in BATMAN & ROBIN (1997)
This is arguably the most embarrassing performance by an actor in any of the Batman films. Did Arnold mail it in? Perhaps. Was he directed by Mr. Schumacher to ham it up to a nauseating (for Batman fans) level? Probably. I think it was a combination of both – and the dialogue in Akiva Goldman’s script didn’t help matters either (“Alright everyone, chill!”). There are a few brief moments in BATMAN AND ROBIN where Mr. Schwarzenegger shows us that he could’ve done Mr. Freeze justice – which makes his performance even more maddening!
13) Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy in BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)
At least she was hot...and didn't mail in her performance like her co-star.
12) Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face in BATMAN FOREVER (1995)
First runner-up to the former governor of California for the most embarassing performance in a Batman film.
And this is NOT an award anyone wants!
Like the film BATMAN FOREVER itself, I view Mr. Jone's casting and performance as a HUGE wasted oppertunity. And that's a shame because TLJ probably could've nailed it with the proper writing, characterization and direction.
11) Danny DeVito as The Penguin in BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
Great performance. Horrible Batman film. Black goo. 'Nuff said.
(Raised in the sewers by Penguins? Really?! What the hell is that all about?! A weird and twisted Burton take on Tarzan?)
10) Marion Cotillard as Talia Al Ghul in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)
Her death scene cost her a spot or two. Other than that, she did a nice job as both "Miranda Tate" and Talia.
9) Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow in BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
Murphy’s performance as the smarmy Dr. Crane was quietly one of the best performances – of many – in BATMAN BEGINS. And the dude nailed it when he reprised his role in cameos in both THE DARK KNIGHT and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.
Glad he wasn’t cast as Batman though!
8) Jim Carrey as The Riddler in BATMAN FOREVER (1995)
Look, I know Carrey was off the chain in this film – but THAT is exactly what Warner Bros. and Joel Schumacher signed up for and THAT is exactly what they got. In fact, JC was semi-brilliant in context of what the script and director asked of him. Hindsight is 20/20, but there was hardly anyone saying that Carrey’s Riddler wasn’t damn near awesome back in the Summer of 1995.
7) Tom Hardy as Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)
I HATED Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I stood up and cheered when Batman (Christian Bale) kicked his ass in the film's finale. Thank you Tom Hardy!
Tom Hardy is the only one of these actors on this list (the entire list) that I actually got to meet. When I went to the Pittsburgh set of RISES in August of 2011, Mr. Hardy made it a point to introduce himself to and visit with each member of the press (even though it was a small group of us) that was in attendence. Good dude.
6) Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul in BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
Spot on casting and a wonderful performance by Mr. Neeson as BOTH a good guy, and ultimately, the film's main villain.
And really folks, you know you liked it when The Batman didn't save Ra's on that train!
OK, Batfans, there are only five Bat-Villains left! How do you think I ranked the top five? How would you rank them? CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 2 AND THE TOP 5! Make sure you provide your own rankings and commentary in the comments section below!
A life-long Batman fan, Bill "Jett" Ramey
is the founder of BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM.
He likes Elvis, The University of Texas,
Dallas Cowboys Football, and of course...
He resides in the GREAT state of TEXAS with his lovely wife, three kids, and two Boston Terriers.