In case you’ve been living under a rock (or in a cave), Matt Reeves’ highly anticipated rendition of the Batman is out in cinemas everywhere. This time around, Robert Pattinson (of Twilight and Harry Potter fame) takes on the role of the caped superhero with Zoë Kravitz by his side as Catwoman.
While Batman’s an icon in his own right, he’d be nothing without the villains he takes on. Villains are essential in any good storytelling. Without villains, superheroes would have nothing to do, good will have nothing to triumph over, and any story will just be flat-out boring.
In honor of the latest Batman flick, we’re counting down some of the most iconic Batman villains to have made an appearance.
Alert: This post also includes several spoilers for the new Batman film.
Also known as Harvey Dent, Two-Face was a district attorney in Gotham City before an acid attack by mob boss Sal Maroni drove him to insanity.
After the attack, Dent became Two-Face, a criminal with dissociative identity disorder and an unhealthy obsession with the concept of duality. Unlike other villains, though—as shown in this infographic on Batman’s villains—he doesn’t rely on a disguise to get by. Two-Face’s proficiency in criminology and marksmanship makes him an excellent mastermind despite not having actual superpowers.
Two-Face was famously portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, alongside Jim Carrey, who played The Joker.
Often seen dressed in a tuxedo accompanied by a top hat and a monocle, the Penguin is yet another well-known Batman supervillain.
Despite how his character appears most of the time as a short and fat man with a long nose, the Penguin—whose real name is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot— is deadlier than you’d think. For starters, he’s got an array of innovative gadgets.
His signature high-tech umbrella, for example, can be used as a gun, sword, and serve as a mode of transportation, amongst other things.
Danny DeVito famously played the Penguin in the 1992 film Batman Returns.
3. Harley Quinn
Who could forget Harley Quinn? The former psychiatrist at Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum was only meant to appear just once in the Batman comic books, but fans loved her so much she stayed. Quinn is probably the most famous female DC Comics villain of all time now.
Since her introduction to the DC Universe as The Joker’s enthusiastic sidekick, Quinn made a name for herself. In recent years, actress Margot Robbie played Quinn in several films, including in the Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey.
Made famous by Tom Hardy in the Dark Knight trilogy, Bane is one of Batman’s biggest nemeses.
Charismatic, strong, and vicious, Bane’s iconic look includes a mask that’s essential for his survival. In the original comics, Bane’s mask dispenses a chemical called Venom that acts as a steroid, giving him superhuman strength and the ability to withstand any sort of beating.
Unlike most Batman villains, Bane doesn’t shy away from the limelight. Instead, he often revels in it, pulling off epic schemes like attacking the Gotham Stock Exchange and taking control of Gotham City altogether. How could we forget the moment he broke Batman’s back?
You were expecting the Joker to come first, didn’t you? Honestly, we don’t blame you. It was hard for us to decide on the most iconic villains for this list.
The Joker is possibly one of the most popular Batman villains. Psychopathic, sadistic, yet brilliant, he commits some of the vilest crimes in Gotham City.
Over the years, several actors played this incredible villain, including Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jack Nicholson.
6. The Riddler
In the latest film, Paul Dano stars as the Riddler. Unlike Jim Carrey’s campy rendition back in 1995’s Batman Forever, Dano’s Riddler is quiet and enigmatic. His character is so unassumingly evil that it takes the top spot on this list. After all, isn’t a bad character even scarier when they’re hiding in plain sight?
Reeves has admittedly modeled Dano’s Riddler after the famed Zodiac Killer, further explaining the depth of his character and the reason behind his heinous crimes in the film.
A character change isn’t the only thing Dano went for when he took on this role, though.
Dano decided to spot a green winter combat mask, the first time the Prince of Puzzles is fully masked. In an interview, Dano said that the mask not only made him feel more powerful, it allowed him to embody the Riddler properly.