The mysterious and brilliant director, Christopher Nolan, has chosen a decidedly un-exciting and un-mysterious name for the upcoming sequel in the Batman series: The Dark Knight Rises. In addition to his initial spurning of Mr. Freeze as a bad guy for the new movie (for obvious reasons), he recently disclosed that the Riddler, long thought to have been a shoe-in, would not make an appearance. Rumor has it that there will be one male and one female villain, and that Tom Hardy, who recently had a role in Nolan’s summer blockbuster Inception, could play mad scientist Hugo Strange and the female villain could be Talia al Ghul. While everyone continues to speculate, the Blargus editors give their best and worst choices for Batman’s antagonists.
The Penguin – Played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Known for his role as the super evil antihero to Tom Cruise’s hero in Mission Impossible III, his brilliant portrayal of Truman Capote, and his recent tendency to pass on big budget films for intense acting roles in indie flicks, PSH is a phenomenally versatile actor who has the ability to single-handedly breathe life into the previously stagnant and caricatured role of the Penguin. Danny DeVito played a good penguin, but PSH has the acting chops to give Nolan another dark, complex, and frightening villain.
Catwoman has become a washed-up character after numerous shallow, sexed-up portrayals and the cinematic butchering bearing the same name. As it stands now, a mere mention of Catwoman would tarnish the Batman movies. Poison Ivy follows the same stream. The use of eco-terrorism and mastery of botany make her an intriguing villain; the Peter Pan costume and cliched evil techniques of seduction make redemption difficult. This is not a knock on Uma Thurman; Joel Schumacher laid waste to all the characters in his movies.
If there was one unforgettable moment in the history of Batman: The Animated Series, it would be the saga of Clayface. Maybe it’s because this was one of the first times, as a child, I saw so much emotion and care put into a villain’s rise and fall, but Clayface’s story certainly had an impact. But the idea of a lot of heart in a Nolan movie? Tough to imagine. And Clayface sort of reminds me of Sandman in the third Spiderman movie. I never want to be reminded of that movie again.
I don’t think there is any irredeemable character in the Batman mythology. There are just characters who don’t fit with the Nolan mythology. But if Nolan were to choose a villain that will seem to ruin the movie, we’ve learned to be skeptical of any preconceived notions. A lot of people thought the Joker couldn’t be done any better, that it’s heresy to tramp on Jack Nicholson’s turf. Better yet, a lot of people thought Heath Ledger was not fit as a Joker. We all saw how that turned out.