After the orgasmic announcement of Batman’s role in the Man of Steel Sequel at Comic Con, and the following twitter crashing reveal of BatFleck, it is not far fetched to imagine another Batman trilogy. Hopefully Ben Affleck will bring his Good Will Hunting and Phantoms level acting skills to take Bruce Wayne past the emo-Bale territory. Batman is as multifaceted as they come, and his villains reflect this. The caped crusader’s rogues gallery is the best ever created in comics if only in its sheer number of off the wall yet understandable villains. For every psychological affliction there is a corresponding Batman villain (we will save that list and explanation for another article). So it is very disheartening to see the same small cast of villains show up in the countless adaptions of the Batman mythos. Given that a new trilogy is eminent I have made of list of fascinating potential villains that if put on the silver screen would become huge household names.
1. Jane Doe
It is obvious given the over sexualization of most female characters that comic publishers and studios think that comics and comic book films are only enjoyed by young boys and lonely middle aged men in basements. This is obviously not the case. So it is refreshing when you see a villain such as Jane Doe that doesn’t have to rely on skimpy outfits and flirtation to do what she wants. A literal empty blank slate of a person, Jane Doe meticulously studies her victims (male or female) and after killing them takes over their lives completely, playing it out almost perfectly down to the speech patterns and body language. This deranged sort of immersion into people’s lives plays heavily on the senses and would give the film a real sense of suspense and surprise since we can’t really know who Jane Doe is inhabiting. Her brilliant conning along with more than adept abilities in fighting and weapons handling make her a great foe for a new David Fincher-esque Dark Knight film.
“Jane is a cipher, she’s incomplete, her life is empty, so she covets the lives of others. She takes their lives so she can have their lives.”- Jane Doe, Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
2. Professor Pyg
Grant Morrison is the king of reinvention. His run on Batman brought back countless of what were considered dopey z-list characters and made them relevant and important (Bat-Mite’s 5th dimension speech still brings tears to my eyes). However, none were more grotesque or twisted as his disturbed creation, Professor Pyg. A pharmaceutical chemist turned schizophrenic Doctor Mengele, Pyg is one of the most surreal villains in an already oddball bunch. His obsession with fixing and perfection leads him to do Holocaust-like experiments on his victims, turning them in his “Dolltrons”, deformed mind controlled creepy genderless looking creatures. These Dolltrons help him spread the identity-shattering drug that shattered his mind and made him put on a pig mask and turn into the Pyg (his name a fun play on Pig and Pygmalion). The body horror edge and psychological richness of Pyg makes him not only a formidable foe but also deliciously interesting to watch.
“But pain is the beginning of perfection. You’ve been a bad man, Niko, but that’s all over now. Pyg will make you perfect.” – Professor Pyg, Batman and Robin #1
3. Court of Owls
Scott Snyder has been a beacon of light in the controversial new 52. His engrossing literary tales of secret societies, brotherhood and corruption are a brilliant follow up to the already legendary Morrison run. Why hasn’t this been optioned as a film yet? Just take it top to bottom and make one of the most immersive and brilliant Batman films. The main reason the arc of the Court of Owls was so good was the titled villains. A secret society of the wealthy and powerful ruling from the underground of Gotham for centuries, the court and their near unstoppable assassins, The Talons, are one of the most fascinating villains in recent memory. They break down Batman both physically and mentally in a way that hasn’t been seen in film yet. A broken back is mere child’s play for the Court. They hit Batman where it hurts and keep on hitting. From tormenting him with surreal visions of his parents over days in an endless maze, to breaking most of the bones in his body, the Court gives no mercy. This sort of mental destruction makes for a great story showing our caped crusader taken to the lowest pits of hell only to arise to the light more powerful than ever. Plus, given the current separation of the economic gap it serves as great commentary of our times. Just listen to the old song about them and swear it doesn’t send shivers down your spine.
“Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word about them, or they’ll send The Talon for your head.” – Batman #1
Who better to pit Bruce Wayne against than someone cut of the same cloth but gone completely wrong? Another recent creation, Hush is Tommy Elliot, a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, a famous surgeon, and a maniacal sociopath. As a young boy Tommy attempts to kill his parents so he can inherit their money but only succeeds in killing his father; his mother miraculously saved by Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father). This starts a chain reaction of hatred towards the Wayne family, especially the young Bruce Wayne. Having such a personal connection to Bruce makes the battle between them even more compelling. In a true battle of rivals, Hush has had similar training and fights in the same way Bruce does. Such a meeting of equals is a rarity in the Bat-mythos since most of the villains are the polar opposite of something in Batman’s psyche. Hush is simply Bruce Wayne without his honor and values. What can be more compelling than that?
“Ah, but we both know our play isn’t over, Bruce. And ultimately I will emerge as the hero of our bitter comedy.”- Hush, Detective Comics 846
5. Film Freak
It’s kind of monotonous now with everything going so grim and gritty. What happened to the simple joy and fun of superheroes? Batman wasn’t always a dark avenger in the night; he had dopey fun with outlandish, gimmick villains and otherworldly beasts. It would be good to see that sense of fun come back and Film Freak is the best villain to answer the call. A failed actor with a film obsession and desperation to be known, Film Freak fakes his own death (inspired by 70s classic The Sting) and sets off to commit film-inspired crimes. So many possibilities! You could have him spew out Tarentino dialogue in a Mormon suit while robbing a jewelry store or go full Deutsch nihilist and piss on a dude’s rug! Probably the most obscure villain on this list having only appeared in a handful of issues, Film Freak is no less fun and fascinating with much screen potential. Especially under the wing of a well screen-versed screenwriter and director, we could have a true cult classic love letter to Batman and cinema itself.
“ I don’t want you to hold anything back for a second take. Because believe me… there isn’t gonna be one”- Film Freak
It is now the norm to have two villains in a film. They’re the obvious, attention grabbing trailer villain (Bane from DKR) and the surprise pulling-the-strings villain (Talia Al G’hul). If any villain were tailor made for the latter it would be Calculator. An ex down-on-the-street with high tech gear super criminal, Noah Kuttler reinvented himself as an Oracle for super villains. A man simply in it to help out the rest of the baddies in causing as much havoc, for a fee of course. This greedy, methodical felon ran crimes like a consulting firm. A true villain in the modern world is not the guy on the street with the gun but the white-collar broker on Wall Street with three summerhouses and a coke habit. Calculator is truly the most modern and relevant of villains. No giant doomsday weapons or gimmicks, only a few good connections a ton of cash and some deceptive moves to get the job done. This would get Batman to go full detective follow the money or decipher the web of lies and corruption to reach the main man. We would also get a good amount of sub villains that Calculator would send at Batman before he is able to reach Calculator. He is a villain that is beaten with brains, not brawn. Forget the dopey name, give Aaron Sorkin or Oliver Stone the script to write and watch commentary on the financial and business corruption be beautifully entwined with pounding action.
“—And so I shall steal your life from you! Face it professor—you can’t beat the numbers!”- Calculator