The 10 most fearful and iconic villains from the 'Batman' movie franchise

(AP)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Today "Batman" officially turned 75 years old, and the hero's presence has been felt greatly on the comic book pages and on the silver screen. But Batman's fame is due in large part to the dangerous and twisted villains he's faced over the years.

From the expertly trained military leaders to orphaned, bird-obsessed sewer dwellers and all the psychotic clowns in-between, these villains have become cinematic mainstays and have proved that comic books can hold their own to any other movie blockbuster. Here are Batman's most feared and iconic villains.

10. Selina Kyle / Catwoman
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Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, isn't so much a villain as an annoying feline that claws at Bruce Wayne's patience. But if she did want to completely flip to the dark side, Catwoman's expert theif status would allow her to steal the show away from Batman.

9. Mr. Freeze

Arnie's incarnation was laughable in the movies, but Mr. Freeze's bitter backstory makes him a feared foe in Batman's eyes. After watching his parents die right before his eyes, the Caped Crusader knows the danger of someone with power trying to save ones that they love.

8. Poison Ivy

Illustrious and seductive, Poison Ivy is a master manipulator of the botanic arts, captivating her subjects' sexual desires through some serious plant poison. Uma Thurman's portrayal in "Batman and Robin" was a little overwrought, but then again so is Ivy.

7. The Penguin

The Penguin shares a sorrowful orphan story similar to Batman's, except he's utilizing his lack of a decent upbringing for bad rather than good. The fact that you almost sympathize with the tragic Penguin makes him that much more dangerous to the citizens of Gotham.

6. Harvey Dent / Two-Face
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"You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Harvey was an honorable lawman in "The Dark Knight" before losing his beau and becoming horribly disfigured. Even though Harvey didn't necessarily want to take down Gotham City so much as get justice against those who wronged him, the fact that this noble and hope-inspiring do-gooder could be turned to commit such evil was truly one of Gotham's hardest defeats.

5. The Riddler

They say that you should never meet your heroes, and after Edward Nygma had his invention shut down by his idol Bruce Wayne, the brilliant but manic scientist swore revenge. Capable of brainwashing and infiltrating Gotham's most elite citizens, the Riddler's criminal misbehavior is no joke.

4. Scarecrow

Scarecrow is actually the only villain who has appeared in all three films in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. And for good reason. The creepy, mind-altering drugs he injects into his victims is truly the stuff of terror, nearly crippling the bat and the city as a whole.

3. Bane
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Ruthless and uncompromising, Bane is the top display of physical prowess, a brute and heavy hitter who knows literally breaks Bruce Wayne's back. And while it was revealed that Miranda Tate aka Talia Al Ghul was the mastermind of the whole Gotham shutdown operation in "The Dark Knight Rises," Bane was the one who carried it out, and instilled fear in the heart of Gotham's masses.

2. Ra's Al Ghul

Motivated by a desire to see tarnished empires crumble, Ra's Al Ghul is smart, well-spoken, and a trained master in the martial and military arts. He lurks in the shadows and attacks with full force. Al Ghul's attack on Gotham in "Batman Begins" was well-calculated and thoroughly developed, only falling short because of some last minute maneuvering on Batman and Jim Gordon's part. And Al Ghul's likeness inspired Talia and Bane's takeover in "The Dark Knight Rises." Ra's still haunts Bruce Wayne and Gotham long after his death, an ever-present ghost that constantly mirrors the city's ugly face

1. The Joker
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Standard detective logic states that if you can find the motivations behind a criminal, then you can find a way to stop them. But what if your enemy has no motivations or ideals at all, and is just creating chaos for the sake of chaos? The scary answer is the Joker, a wacky and sociopathic criminal who just wants to watch the world burn. Like Ra's Al Ghul, the Joker believed the worst in human nature. Yet as Ra's Al Ghul tried to serve as exterminator to Gotham's fire, the Joker instead was the kindling, dedicated to watching this city, and the world, be brought down in flames. With no discernable backstory or motivations, the Joker is Batman's ultimate foe. His ferry-explosive experiment didn't end the way he wanted, but the Joker still won at the end of "The Dark Knight," proving that to beat the Batman, you have to break all the rules.

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