Op-Ed: The Nolan-Verse of Bat-Villains

The following is an opinion piece written by Vin, a friend of Batman-News.com.

With The Dark Knight Rises most likely being Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, I wanted to review the selection of villains chosen for each film.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of all of the villains that Christopher Nolan and co. have used and will use is how powerful they are in their own way. I know some were disappointed when Nolan scratched a few villains off the list such as Mr. Freeze, Penguin, and most notably The Riddler but ask yourself this question, how powerful realistically are those villains? Sure they are great but when it comes down to it you want someone to push Batman to his limit, I really didn’t see how any of those villains mentioned above would be able to do that, again realistically. With how The Dark Knight ended with Batman pretty much in the dumps in the eyes of Gotham; you want someone to keep beating him down mentally and physically until he ‘rises’ which will be triumphant and quite possibly the best story in all the Batman movies to date.

Batman Begins, you have Ra’s al Ghul, Bruce Wayne’s mentor, the man who taught him a lot and wanted to make him his successor since he was his “greatest student,” Ra’s though is a terrorist and want’s to eliminate most of humanity to create balance that is something Bruce will stand up against and fight. Now Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane) he has the abilities to make your worst fear come true by using his fear toxin, Bruce’s greatest fear is letting his parents down (example on YouTube: Batman The Animated Series; episode ‘Nothing to Fear’). Obviously in Begins we didn’t see that but just goes to show you what Scarecrow is capable of doing.

“The will to act” – Ra’s al Ghul

The Dark Knight, which includes Batman’s greatest foe, The Joker. Joker creates chaos, Batman fights for order, without Batman there is no Joker. No one quite pushes Batman close to the edge like The Joker, Batman has been given numerous opportunities to put Joker down for good but has relented usually at the last second because Batman has one rule as for The Joker he is inevitable, they are the mirror opposite. Harvey Dent, Gotham’s District Attorney who would do whatever it takes to punish criminals sometimes a little more severe than Batman, but when Dent get’s setup and half of his face burnt that’s when everything goes down hill and which turns him into Two Face and he makes all of his decisions with a flip of a coin. The guilt Gordon and Batman feel for Harvey makes him even more potent.

The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan and co. just announced the villains which will be Selina Kyle aka Catwoman and Bane. Catwoman is known as the “anti-hero” who plays both sides to some but to the general audience she is simply known as a villain. This is the biggest love/hate relationship in the Batman mythology, two people who both have a secret identity, Selina and Bruce like each other, Catwoman and Batman have a thing for each other and it never ends but one thing for sure is Selina Kyle is arguably the best love interest for Bruce Wayne which can make things very complicated. Bane, this villain is best known for breaking Batman’s back in the book ‘Knightfall’, not only is Bane the most psychical villain but he is also highly intelligent.

I believe Christopher Nolan has used the best villains for his realism Batman franchise, some weren’t well known to the general audience but they sure are now and they all give Batman his best challenge. Ra’s al Ghul challenged Bruce Wayne/Batman mentally in Batman Begins, The Joker challenged Batman ethically in The Dark Knight & Bane will challenge Batman physically in The Dark Knight Rises.