Characters: Batman Film Series
This page is for characters appearing in the Batman
films directed by Tim Burton
, Batman Returns
) and Joel Schumacher
, Batman & Robin
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Bruce Wayne / Batman
The guardian of Gotham City.
- 10-Minute Retirement: In Forever after Chase tells him (when he's dressed as Batman) she's in love with someone else (Bruce Wayne).
- Actually, I Am Him: In the first movie, Vicki Vale corners a man at a swish party at Wayne Manor and asks whether he's seen elusive billionaire Bruce Wayne; he says he hasn't. Later, as she and Alex Knox are in one of Wayne's rooms, making fun of the statues, the man appears behind them and informs them that the statue they're currently laughing at is Japanese. How does he know? "Because I bought it in Japan. Bruce Wayne."
- Anti-Hero: Batman is not a stranger to this trope, but unlike most other incarnations, Burton's Batman kills two mooks, making him a Type III.
- The Anti-Nihilist: As stated by Alfred in B&R.
Alfred: Death and chance stole your parents, but rather than become a victim, you've done everything in your power to control the Fates. For what is Batman but an effort to master the chaos that sweeps our world? To beat back death itself?
- Badass: Come on, this is Batman we're talking about here.
- Establishing Character Moment: In the first film, he is fumbling about during a classy party, showing his eccentricity. The fact that he also pretends not to know who Bruce Wayne is to Vicki Vale, only to introduce himself to her and Alexander Knox in a more low-key fashion, also indicates his willingness to and ease at keeping a low profile and slipping into the background when it suits him.
- Heroic BSOD: After seeing the Joker in the first movie.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker:
(Batman smiles, then punches Joker in the face)
- High-Altitude Interrogation: Does this to a Bit Part Bad Guy at the beginning of the first film. Interestingly for a trope that's generally used as a death threat, just before Batman holds the guy over the edge of the building, he tells the mook "I'm not going to kill you."
Batman: I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.
Nic: What are you?!
- Honest Corporate Executive: As Bruce Wayne. In Forever, he refuses to fund Nygma's research because mind manipulation "just raises too many questions" and in B&R, he says he cut Dr. Woodrue's founding due to a "clash of ideologies" and turns down Pamela Isley's proposal because it would cause all of humankind to die of starvation and cold though he notes her intentions are noble.
- Horrifying Hero: It's Batman.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Dishes a pretty brutal one to the Joker in the final climax, complete with Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... from the latter. However, Joker manages to escape further wrath by using his own Playing Possum technique against him (which Batman had used only two minutes ago to evade a similarly-nasty beatdown from one of his goons).
- An Odd Place to Sleep: Bruce is briefly shown sleeping hanging upside down from his rack. This is never mentioned again.
- Perpetual Smiler: When Clooney played him in B&R.
- Psychotic Smirk: Two examples—when he says "I'm Batman" to the initial mook, and later when Jack Napier comments "Nice outfit."
- Rage Helm: Starting with Tim Burton's movies, every film version of Batman's costume has frowning eyebrows sculpted into the cowl.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: In the first film, where Knox labels him as such. The later films avert this by showing Bruce Wayne doing business out of the Batsuit (meeting with Schreck to discuss Copplepot, turning down Nygma's invention, etc).
- Right Behind Me: At the party in the first movie. In the room with the armor. Really, Batman specializes in random appearances and disappearances when someone is talking.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: As Bruce Wayne.
- Smoke Out: Does it after Jack/Joker falls into the vat. He combines it with the Bat-line to make it look like he's flying away.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: In his Bruce Wayne persona, he is noticeably awkward and unsure how to act in social situations, contrasting with the charismatic Rich Idiot with No Day Job from the comics, although this IS Depending on the Writer. During his date with Vicki in the first film, he effectively has to go get Alfred to help him chat her up.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Selina/Catwoman in Returns.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Does the Bye and Hi a few seconds apart while facing Jack Napier (before he became the Joker).
- Strolling Through the Chaos: There's a scene where the Joker's thugs Tommy-gun rival mobsters on the steps of the courthouse. Naturally, everyone hits the deck except Bruce, who's so busy staring at the Joker he doesn't even notice when a bullet clips his shoulder.
- Super Window Jump: Done in the first film to confront The Joker who has taken over the art museum and is about to do something to Vicki Vale.
- Talk to the Fist: Both the verbal and non-verbal kind. The first being when he fights a guy with a sword who after his pre-fight flourish, kicks him in the gut.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The minute you hear any version of Danny Elfman's classic Batman theme, there's gonna be some kicked ass. No questions asked.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted in the first film.
- Trick Dialogue: In the first film, Bruce mouths "I'm Batman. I'm Batman" with a view to confessing to Vicki Vale, and an almost Ironic Echo of his first line of the movie, spoken to menace a Gotham thug.
- Ungrateful Bastard: At least that's what Dick thinks in Forever after he (Dick) risks his life to save Batman after Two-Face tries to kill him.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Batman is the Trope Namer.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Subverted when he targets the Poodle Lady on his Batarang. Her poodle catches it and they both remove themselves from the fray. Catwoman uses this trope against him to get the drop on him, but he quickly adapts and tells her to "eat floor" by their second encounter.
Played by: Michael Gough
Butler of the Wayne family.
Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin
Played by: Chris O'Donnell
A young acrobat who is orphaned after his parents and brother are murdered by Two-Face, he is taken in by Bruce. Learning Bruce's Secret Identity
fuels his desire for vengeance against Two-Face, and though Bruce is hesistant, he eventually takes Dick on as his partner, Robin.
Barbara Wilson / Batgirl
Played by: Alicia Silverstone
Alfred's niece who comes to America to visit her uncle and to free him from his life of servitude, believing him to be unhappy. She later learns the true identities of Batman and Robin, and suits up as Batgirl to help the Dynamic Duo save Gotham from Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy.
- Big Damn Heroes: Shows up just in time to take on Poison Ivy after Batman and Robin end up in precarious conditions.
- Combat Stilettos: We even get a nice view of them during her suiting-up montage.
Jack Napier / The Joker
A mobster working for Carl Grissom. An encounter with Batman at the Ace Chemical factory results in him falling into a vat of chemicals, which bleaches his skin, turns his hair green, plants a creepy smile on his face and overall shatters his sanity.
- Arch-Enemy: To Batman. He murdered Bruce Wayne's parents right before his eyes. The two of them even provide the image for this trope's page.
- Art Attacker: At one point in the first movie, he and his goons enter the Gotham Art Museum and vandalize many of the art on display.
- Attention Whore: When Vicki Vale asks what he wants, he replies "My face on the one dollar bill" and explicitly decries the fact that Batman is getting his (Joker's) attention in the press.
- Ax-Crazy: As usual for the Joker. Though the film implies that Jack Napier was crazy to begin with.
- Bad Boss: Even moreso than usual. Rest in peace, Bob...
- Berserk Button: "HE STOLE MY BALLOONS!"
- Big Bad: Of the first movie.
- Bond One-Liner: Gets a few ("Antoine got a little hot under the collar," "The pen is truly mightier than the sword").
- Bring It: To Batman while he was about to attack in the Batwing.
- Buffy Speak: After Batman uses the Batwing to steer his Smilex balloons away from Gothamites, the Joker angrily asks (about the Batwing) "Why didn't someone tell me he had one of those...things?!"
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played with.
Batman: You killed my parents
What are you talking about? Batman: I made you
. But you made me first
I was a kid when I killed your parents. When I said "I made you," you gotta say "you made me!" How childish can you get?
- Captive Date: With Vicki Vale.
- Death by Irony: The last thing he says before his Disney Villain Death is, "Sometimes I just kill myself!!" This likewise results in Batman anchoring Joker to a gargoyle with his harpoon gun, and then eventually being forced to plunge to his death due to the heaviness of the gargoyle statue that broke him.
- Dies Wide Open: After he falls to his death, he has his expression frozen with the eyes still open.
- Disney Villain Death: We even see exactly how far down he has to fall, as well as a close-up of his crushed corpse.
- Distracted by My Own Sexy: A pre-Joker Jack Napier takes a long, loving look in the mirror while preparing to go out. His moll tells him he looks great, and he brushes her off with, "I didn't ask."
- The Dog Bites Back: The very first thing Jack Napier does after becoming The Joker is kill Grissom as revenge for setting him up to be killed due to his sleeping with Grissom's wife.
- Establishing Character Moment: In his introduction scene, he establishes that he's part of the criminal element plaguing Gotham City by his first line (in response to Harvey Dent's speech about making the city safe for decent people), "Decent people shouldn't live here. They'd be happier someplace else." His next line, "If this clown could touch Grissom, I'd have handed him his lungs by now," establishes that he is a psycho. Next, he comments on how his boss is a "tired old man" and how he "can't run the city without me," suggesting that he wants to run the show himself someday (which is expanded upon later in the "think about the future" scene with Eckhardt). He then admires himself in the mirror, and when the attractive woman he's been talking to (his girlfriend, who is also his boss's mistress) approaches him and compliments his looks ("You look fine"), he is insulting ("I didn't ask"), revealing that he is an arrogant jerk with a focus on his looks, which foreshadows his later transformation and the psychological effect it will have on him.
- Expy: Jack Napier is not only the Joker, but an Expy of Joe Chill, the mugger who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne.
- Extendo Boxing Glove: Uses one of these.
- Facial Horror: This is how Jack Napier became The Joker; a combination of being shot through the face and a huge vat of acid.
- False Reassurance: He grabs henchman Bob by his shoulders and promises him: "You…are my number-one...guy [i.e., "You're irreplaceable"]." And that's true. But what Bob doesn't know is that their old boss, Carl Grissom, had said the same words - and in the exact same rhythm, too - to Jack Napier (the man who became the Joker) just before setting him up to be nearly assassinated. It's clearly a Foreshadowing that the Joker will scheme to have Bob eliminated the same way Boss Grissom had tried to have him eliminated...until the subversion toward the end where the Joker does execute Bob, but merely in a fit of anger when Batman foils his big murder plot.
- Famous Last Words: When he is about to make his escape via the chopper, he says "Sometimes I just kill myself!" A few seconds later, his leg is attached to a gargoyle that promptly breaks off, then he falls to his doom.
- Faux Affably Evil: Like in his scene with Vicki at the museum and his scene with Bruce and Vicki at Vicki's apartment.
- Hammerspace: In the final battle when he pulls that gun out of his pants. The thing is longer than he's tall!
- If I Can't Have You: It's never explicitly stated, but this seems to be how he feels at the climax. Once it finally becomes clear to him that Vicki Vale will never love him, he just tries to kill her along with Batman. (Being a psychopath, it's likely he would have eventually killed her anyway once he got bored with her.)
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: He's got to get Vicki to the church on time.
- I Just Like Saying The Word: Always utters "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" when he kills someone. He later comments to a confused Bruce Wayne that he just likes the sound of it, which is how Bruce finds out who murdered his parents.
- I Kiss Your Foot: Sort of. While being forced up the steps of Gotham Cathedral by the Joker, Vicki Vale falls and loses one of her shoes. The Joker then picks the shoe up, kisses it suggestively and throws it over the side of the bannister.
- Improvised Weapon: He used a quill pen to kill a local mob boss.
- Insult Backfire:
Vicki Vale: You're insane...!
Joker: (feigning surprise) I thought I was Pisces.
- Joker Immunity: Averted.
- Kick the Dog: Had a number of examples of this, such as terrorizing Vicki Vale, disposing of his last girlfriend Alicia off-screen so he could be with Vicki, and gassing a museum and later a parade full of innocent people (though the last one was foiled by Batman), but the worst was probably cold-bloodedly executing Bob, his unquestioningly loyal Battle Butler, after asking him for his gun following said foiling.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murder of Lieutenant Eckhart, Grissom, Rotelli and Ricorso.
- Klingon Promotion: After his transformation, he kills Grissom and takes over his operation.
- Lack of Empathy: When Batman revealed to The Joker that he murdered his parents, thus meaning that The Joker made him first, The Joker mocks Batman for the way he explained it, culminating in "How childish can you get!?"
- Large Ham
The Joker: We've got a flying mouse to kill, and I want to clean my claws!
- Mad Artist: Describes himself as "the world's first, fully functioning homicidal artist," disfigures his girlfriend Alicia and fails in his attempt to disfigure Vicki Vale.
- Mad Scientist: Has shades of this as it is implied that he created the binary compound (CIA files on a nerve agent classified DDID) for the Smilex poison.
- Malevolent Mugshot: Done a lot with his face.
- Meaningful Name: Jack Napier—jackanapes, two meanings of the word being "an impudent or conceited fellow" or "a saucy or mischievous child."
- One Degree of Separation: The movie decided that having him threatening everyone in Gotham City wasn't enough of a reason for Batman to hate him, so it turns out that he was the one who killed Bruce Wayne's parents.
- Pants Positive Safety: Pulls an ENORMOUS revolver out of his Trouser Space to shoot down the Batwing.
- The Pen Is Mightier: Declares that "The pen is truly mightier than the sword!" after he kills one of Grissom's allies by stabbing a really sharp ink quill into the man's throat.
- Phallic Weapon: A Getting Crap Past the Radar example that pays off twice. First, he shoots down the Batwing with a ridiculously long gun pulled from the front of his baggy clown pants. Then, immediately afterward, he uses this gun to take Vicki hostage and keeps it pointed at her throughout the film's long and sexually-charged climax.
- Psycho for Hire: Before he became a Monster Clown, Jack Napier had already been a sadistic killer for decades who loved to make children into orphans just for kicks.
- Psychopathic Manchild: It's almost obligatory to depict The Joker this way, but this takes it a step further by showing him as the apparently sane (but still very, very evil) Jack Napier prior to his transformation. In between the vicious murders he committed as Napier and then continues to commit as the clown he becomes, the Joker "punches out" two television sets with a gag boxing glove, blows into a birthday-party noisemaker (possibly the film's single funniest scene), obsessively cuts up photographs to make collages of them, hosts a parade with giant cartoon-character balloons, makes funny sound effects with his mouth, and sends the woman he's stalking a note written in crayon.
- Would Hurt a Child: After murdering Thomas and Martha Wayne, Napier prepares to shoot young Bruce only for his accomplice to shout for him to leave.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Often behaves as if he's the protagonist of a wild romantic comedy and that Vicki is the Defrosting Ice Queen. This fails to explain why he's also cast himself as the Romantic False Lead!
Bob: She's [Vicki] dating some guy named Wayne.
- You Can't Make an Omelette...: He "improved" the looks of his girlfriend Alicia. After he tells Vicki Vale that Alicia threw herself out a window, this line is used, implying that he may have killed her himself to free himself for Vicki:
Joker: But...you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. (breaks Alicia's mask)
- You Didn't Ask: Reversed when pre-Joker Jack is preening himself in the mirror:
Alicia: You look fine.
Joker: I didn't ask.
- You Have Failed Me: After Batman foils his balloon plan with his Batwing, the Joker kills Bob because Bob didn't tell him that Batman had it (as if he could have possibly known!).
- He probably just shot him out of anger.
Played by: Jack Palance
An infamous Gotham mob boss and Jack Napier's employer. Grissom has Napier set up due to having an affair with his mistress Alicia; this backfires on him when Napier survives the confrontation at Ace Chemicals and kills Grissom in revenge, proceeding to take over his operation.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: He set Jack Napier up to be captured by the police because he was having an affair with his (Grissom's) girlfriend Alicia.
- Outside-Context Villain: At the beginning of the movie, the city officials are concerned with him and want to nab Jack Napier only because he's his "number-one guy." Even after Napier has become The Joker and killed Grissom, and he and his goons have targeted them for assassination, Vinnie Ricorso and his lackeys think that Grissom is still alive and are busying themselves with taking care of his operations while (they think) he's on vacation. It takes until almost the end of the movie for the media and the police to finally confirm that Grissom is dead and that the Joker has taken control of Gotham City's underworld:
Joker: Joker here
. Now, you fellas have said some pretty mean things, some of which were true, about that thief Carl Grissom. He's dead now, and he's left me in charge.
- Uriah Gambit: When he discovers that his mistress has been sleeping with his right-hand man Jack Napier, he sends Jack to go steal the books from a mob front under investigation by the authorities, then tips off the Dirty Cop on his payroll and orders him to kill Jack. This backfires magnificently when Jack is dunked in chemicals and becomes the Joker.
Played by: Tracey Walter
- Undying Loyalty: He's the kind of staunchly loyal henchman that most any villain would be grateful to have, which makes Joker's shooting of him a major Kick the Dog moment.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Joker responds to his own master plan's failure by requesting a handgun from Bob, only to shoot Bob point-blank for not telling him Batman "had one of those...things!"
Oswald Copplepot / The Penguin
Played by: Danny DeVito
The son of wealthy Gotham citizens who dumped him in the sewer due to his deformity, he was taken in by the Red Triangle Gang, eventually becoming their leader. Wanting to find out about his family, Oswald blackmails Max Schreck into helping him and he eventually becomes Gotham City's new darling, even running for Mayor. That is, until his true nature and intentions are exposed by Batman.
- Alas, Poor Villain: After being knocked through a skylight window and nearly drowning, and then weakly emerging from the Arctic World pool burned, bleeding and vomiting up toxic waste, he dies completely unrepentant, still raving about how he intends to take Batman to Hell with him. But through it all, we can't ever forget that this is someone who was forced to grow up in a cold and lonely sewer ever since he was a baby, and for whom Bruce Wayne (who, as Batman, is largely responsible for his death) once expressed sympathy as a fellow orphan. The moving "funeral" that a group of emperor penguins hold for the villain helps to soften the blow, too.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Penguin was suspected of being this by a few particularly touchy Jewish groups, owing to his short stature, hooked nose, Moses-like upbringing and fondness for fish. And according to her tombstone, his mother's name was "Esther" (an exiled Hebrew queen from the Old Testament). Paradoxically, however, the tombstone was also topped by a huge Christian cross which gets a long, lingering closeup as part of the movie's rather unsettling biblical imagery.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Catwoman and Schreck in Returns.
- Break Them by Talking: During their first meeting, he taunts Batman by suggesting that his habit of wearing a mask is a sign of his cowardice. Later on, however, he comes to believe that Batman wears a mask in order to cope with the fact that he is jealous of Penguin because "I'm a genuine freak!" Grudgingly, Batman admits that his nemesis has a point.
- Child Hater: Plans to murder all of Gotham's first-born children to avenge his Parental Abandonment.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Especially when running for Mayor. When asked for a platform, he proposes fighting global warming by introducing "global cooling" to "make the world a giant icebox."
- Composite Character: The Penguin of this film actually has more in common (a suspiciously lot more) with Killer Croc than he does the Penguin of the comics.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Subverted. He passes himself off as this, but if anything, he's actually several magnitudes more monstrous than he looks like.
- Dirty Old Man: At one point, he leers at a female image consultant and utters "I'd like to fill her void" and then mimics a woman telling him "I need you, Oswald," and later puts an election pin on a young woman's jacket to secretly fondle her breast.
- Enemy Mine: Penguin teams up with Schreck and later Catwoman in Returns.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Hooooooo boy. He unleashes an army of rocketeer penguins upon Gotham.
- Evil Counterpart: To Bruce/Batman.
- Faux Affably Evil: When he successfully wins the town's sympathy vote (and starts to win their actual votes) and presents himself as a miserable victim of fate's hand, who nonetheless is willing to forgive the parents who abandoned him and expresses despair and outrage at the devastation caused by the Red Triangle Gang. It's complete bunk and in private, he is every bit the petty, vindictive, murderous, depraved, psychotic and hideous monster he looks like. He only put his Evil Plan to murder all the first-born children of Gotham on ice because Shreck offered him the chance to be a Villain with Good Publicity, and when both those schemes are foiled by Batman, he goes so berserk that he tries to destroy the city just to avenge his own crappy life.
- The Grotesque: His plan for revenge on Gotham involves appearing to be merely this.
- Humiliation Conga: One thing after another goes wrong for him during the movie's last act, until Batman has all but destroyed his hideout.
- Jabba Table Manners: Clearly displays these while gobbling down a raw fish.
- Kick the Dog: When the Fat Clown objects to his plan, Penguin just takes out a revolver and shoots him.
Fat Clown: Killing sleeping children. Isn't that a little...err...?
Penguin: (BANG!) No, it's a lot!
- The Penguin also tries to run down a little old lady while going on a rampage with the remotely-hijacked Batmobile. Batman takes back control just in time to keep her from being splatted.
- Large Ham: Complete with Evil Laugh at times.
- Looks Like Orlok: Moreso than he does a penguin, anyway.
- Papa Wolf: Goes ballistic after Batman has Alfred jam the frequency over which he is sending neurological commands to his pet penguins, which evidently causes them great pain. ("MY BABIIIIES!") Subverted in that he proves to be almost useless in combat.
- Parental Abandonment: His parents dumped him in a sewer because he was deformed.
- Psychopathic Manchild: He spends a good deal of screentime wearing only a onesie-like garment stained with his own spittle and slobber. Furthermore, he rides around in a giant toy rubber-duck vehicle and amuses himself with an umbrella (among his collection of genuinely deadly ones) hung with little plastic animals reminiscent of a mobile found in a baby's crib. ("Shit! Picked the cute one!") Actually, he is more of a Type C, a quite sane and intelligent (though, again, extremely evil) man who simply has not been able to grow up because of his Daddy Issues.
- Raised By Penguins: With a little educational help from a gang of clowns.
- Resigned to the Call: Isn't very keen on becoming Mayor of Gotham City, and only agrees to it so Shreck will help him with his own goals. It's later subverted when the Penguin decides that he could actually enjoy being Mayor, along with all the trappings that would come with it.
- Rousing Speech: To his penguins.
- Taking You with Me: In the final act, Penguin uses his penguins to bomb his own hideout, hoping to take Batman down with him.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a multi-tier one after the fallout of his campaign. First, he renounces his humanity and tries to kill all of Gotham's first-born sons. After Batman sends him a letter letting him know the children have been saved, he freaks out again and decides to nuke Gotham square with rocket-launching penguins. When Batman and Alfred jam the signal and his goons abandon him, he freaks out again and goes out to face Batman in the Duckmobile. He then uses the penguins to bomb his own base in the slim hope he'll kill Batman along with himself.
- Villain Team-Up: With Schreck and later Catwoman.
- Villain with Good Publicity: During his mayoral bid, although he was soon brought down by an Engineered Public Confession.
- Wicked Cultured: The Penguin character was deconstructed in Batman Returns, where he's revealed to be the grotesquely deformed member of a wealthy family who dumped him in the river and left him for dead when he was still a baby. Although obviously intelligent and certainly no stranger to fine clothes, this version of the Penguin is quite vulgar, with thuggish manners and distasteful sexual appetites.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Really, you can't blame him for becoming the way he is today. He was disfigured since birth, and his aristocratic parents tried to drown him in the sewers. He was then found by a traveling circus and raised in the freak show. While the public views him with sympathy, he has become a warped sociopath, plotting to kill all the first-born sons of Gotham City. When Batman foils him, he straps rockets to his hundreds (thousands?) of pet penguins, intending to use them in a suicide bombing to kill all of Gotham which, as the only setting we see, is extremely omnicidal in context. And yet, you still can't help but pity him at his death.
Selina Kyle / Catwoman
"I am Catwoman. Hear me roar."
Max Schreck's secretary, Selina Kyle finds out her boss' plans to take energy from Gotham citizens and is pushed out a window in an attempt to kill her. She survives, but suffers a psychotic breakdown that results in her becoming Catwoman.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Selina/Catwoman is usually depicted as having dark hair, but is blonde in Returns.
- Anti-Villain: Selina is a Type II.
- Beautiful All Along: Dowdy secretary Selina Kyle goes through a near-death experience, trashes her apartment and stitches together a vinyl suit to become the evil and sexy Catwoman.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Penguin and Schreck in Returns.
- Big "NO!": During her breakdown.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: At least some of the time, like in the scene where she leaves unclear to Bruce and Max just how severely she might be suffering from amnesia, rambling her way through irrelevant childhood anecdotes of a pregnant nun and the time she went commando at school and a boy peeked up her skirt. And where, oh where, did the "dirty limerick" idea come from? The amnesia scene may have been Selina employing Obfuscating Stupidity to taunt Shreck.
- Glass-Shattering Scream: When she gets dropped through the roof of a greenhouse, she sits up in a daze and lets out a scream that shatters all the glass.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: She just can't decide whether she wants to be a villain or...well, if not quite a hero, at least a sympathetic Anti-Villain. Michelle Pfeiffer herself said in an interview that she didn't know whether her character is "a good guy" or "a bad guy." It's this complete ambiguity that largely makes this movie feel darker and more adult and unsettling than even The Dark Knight.
Bruce: (after Selina tells him of her plan to kill Shreck) Who the hell do you think you are?
Selina: (in tears) I don't know anymore, Bruce...
- Heroic BSOD: Suffers one of these (complete with psychotic breakdown and terrifying music) upon returning home after Shreck threw her out the window.
- Insistent Terminology: Insists on people calling her an "executive assistant" rather than a secretary. Finally, during her date with Bruce at the manor, she resignedly admits "Secretary."
- Iron Butt Monkey: Takes this to such extremes that she becomes heroic. She's pushed out a window to the street below, burned on the arm by a vial of acid and sent plummeting down into a truck full of sand, nearly strangled by one of the Penguin's umbrellas and sent crashing through the roof of a glass greenhouse (which rips her costume to shreds), and finally shot four consecutive times in the stomach. But all this just makes her angrier and crazier than before, to the point where (apparently) nothing can kill her.
- Kiss of Death: After her identity is revealed to Shreck and she has two "lives" left, she grabs the stun gun she picked up near the beginning of the film, puts it in between her and Max and kisses him with it, shocking the inside of his mouth.
- Large Ham: Michelle Pfeiffer, quite composed as Selina Kyle, goes over the top as Catwoman.
- Plucky Office Girl: Before her transformation.
- Psychopathic Womanchild: While vandalizing, and ultimately blowing up, a department store owned by Max Shreck, she takes some time out from her mischief to girlishly "skip rope" with her trademark bullwhip.
- She Knows Too Much: Max tries to kill her for finding out too much about his plans for his power plant. It doesn't work, and Shreck promises to Chip that if she tries to blackmail him, he'll drop her out a higher window—meantime, he has badder fish to fry.
- Super Loser: She was the Butt Monkey before her transformation into Catwoman...after that, the situation didn't change and gets worse—she was attracted to a monster (The Penguin) and ended in love with another (Batman). She abandons Batman to get revenge on Shreck because she knew they will never be happy together.
- Taking You with Me: Does this to Shreck by kissing him after grabbing a live electric wire. Still played straight even though she survives; it still "killed" her, she just had one "life" left.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Batman/Bruce.
- Villain Team-Up: With Penguin.
- Whip It Good: Regularly uses a whip.
- Wolverine Claws: Kind of. She sports makeshift claws made from sewing implements. They are very long and quite painful.
"I am the light of the city, and I am its mean, twisted soul. Does it matter who's Mayor?"
A powerful and respected businessman, Schreck seeks to siphon power from Gotham's citizens and joins forces with the Penguin to do so.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He sucks the life out of Gotham like a vampire, as he constructs unsafe buildings or dumps toxic waste into the environment. He has also killed several people in cold blood, and plans to create a power plant in Gotham so he can drain electricity from its power grid and stockpile it for profit.
- Death by Irony: His plan throughout the film is to set the wheels in motion in starting an electric company to run scams through. Catwoman kills him by charring him with a very large electricity generator.
- Death by Secret Identity: Once he finds out who Batman is, it's not long before he lights up like a Christmas tree.
- Karmic Death: "I am the light of this city!" Really? You should be careful what you wish for, Maxie!
- Meaningful Name: Max Schreck, a man who plans to suck the life out of Gotham by draining the electricity and stockpiling it, shares his name with the first man to ever play a vampire on film in Nosferatu.
- Miles Gloriosus: For all his tough talk, he isn't above running away and hiding in an alley when Penguin's gang crashes the downtown Christmas celebration. What makes his cowardice even worse is that he leaves his son standing there on the stage with multiple guns and bladed weapons pointing at his throat. Sure, it's what everyone else is trying to do, and it's what his son wants anyway...but one would have expected more dignified behavior from such an eminent public official.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He strongly resembles Donald Trump.
- Oh Crap: Makes this expression when he sees that Selina survived his earlier murder attempt.
- Papa Wolf: He's a ruthless, cold-blooded thug of a businessman, but still loves his son. When Selina finds out the truth about his "power plant," he tries to kill her because he views it as his legacy to leave to Chip.
- Pet the Dog: For all their faults, he and his son Chip do indeed seem to care for each other, as when the Red Triangle Gang comes for Max, Chip stands in the way and tells Max to save himself. In an echo of the aforementioned scene later on, when Penguin comes to kill Chip, Max begs him to take him instead.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Nobody out-dresses him. His natty striped suit, fur-lined coat, black-and-white spats, and Ominous Opera Cape you will not soon forget.
- Stripped to the Bone: Gets electrocuted leaving a clean white skeleton behind that still has eyes and hair.
The Red Triangle Gang
- Badass Bookworm: As violent, sociopathic gang members go, they also have some good mechanics.
- Carnival of Killers: They even employ a bewilderingly diverse array of weapons.
- The Family for the Whole Family: Played with. Depending on the scenario, they're seen either riding around on unicycles while firing guns harmlessly into the air and grabbing people and slapping them on the head...or blowing up buildings with gigantic rocket launchers and kidnapping sleeping babies and children to be executed.
- Gang of Hats: They dress up every day in "old-timey," Victorian-era circus costumes. Seriously. It's as if Hamas had a "children's birthday party" faction. Their weapons vary, as normal clowns utilize blades, nunchaku and machine guns, while some performers use objects they would use in the circus, like firebreathers and jugglers using torches, The Sword Swallower using his shortsword, or the The Knifethrower Dame using her knives. Others are more outlandish, such as the Organ Grinder's Gatling gun disguised as a big music box, or a clown strapped with a cartoonish time-bomb. Lampshaded in that Bruce Wayne does research on them and learns that they once really were circus performers and apparently didn't bother to change their costumes after taking up a life of crime. (By the way, Hamas really does have a "children's birthday party" faction. As described here.)
- Monster Clown: Some circus members go beyond doing harmless yet threatening acts of vandalism and terrorism, and attempt to hurt people. They include the Terrifying Clown who threatens to taze Selina Kyle, the stilted jugglers with threatening masks who burn an innocent man, and the large and imposing Strongman who knocks out a mall Santa with a toy sled.
- Not So Harmless Villains: Despite being clowns who once performed in a circus and kept their costumes, the Red Triangle Circus members are still menacing enough to serve as an effective terrorist army for The Penguin.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: They don't actually perform anymore. Justified in that they're fugitives from the law and generally act as criminals now. Subverted (albeit briefly) when a few of the performers use their skills as tools of terrorism during the Gotham Plaza sequence, proving that they've "still got it."
- Red Right Hand: Some of them appear just as ugly as Penguin himself (although, unlike him, they are obviously sporting masks and face putty).
- Terrorists Without a Cause: Subverted. On the surface, they appear to fit this trope due to the observation that their acts of arson and vandalism and the bullying of innocent citizens don't appear to serve an ultimate purpose; they don't even garner any loot from their crimes, even though they're living in near-poverty. However, all this anarchic violence does accomplish something: it humiliates Gotham City's Mayor, making him appear to be soft on crime and providing a justification for Penguin to run against him for office.
- Western Terrorists: A Type I example (or, given their name, perhaps a Type VI example). One of them is even a suicide bomber!
Harvey Dent / Two-Face
Gotham's former District Attorney. In the first movie, he fights to bring down the Gotham underworld headed by Carl Grissom. In Batman Forever
, however, he has become Two-Face as a result of being attacked by a mobster and developing a split personality
. He blames Batman for what happened to him and seeks to destroy him.
- Ambiguously Brown: In Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization of the 1989 film, Harvey Dent is described as having "brown skin," with absolutely nothing else said about his appearance. You have to watch the movie itself to confirm that Dent is being played by the African-American actor Billy Dee Williams.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Riddler in Forever.
- Create Your Own Villain: Batman couldn't save Harvey Dent from getting a glass of acid in the face and becoming Two-Face.
- Crusading Lawyer: In the first film, as Harvey Dent.
Edward Nygma / The Riddler
"Riddle me this, riddle me that...who's afraid of the big, black bat?"
- Complexity Addiction: Addressed; when he offers to help Two-Face kill Batman in exchange for money to manufacture his Box devices, he convinces him that just offing the hero quickly and simply wouldn't be as emotionally satisfying as ensuring he was humiliated first by having his true identity revealed and used against him. Also referenced when Two-Face shoots Bruce Wayne, knocking him down, and as he's going to give a fatal shot, Riddler stops him.
- Create Your Own Villain: Bruce Wayne created the Riddler by turning down Nygma's brainwave manipulation ideas.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Played with. He tries to make money honestly but after being rejected and funding it with Two-Face's crimes, he still makes billions on the Box technology. If he wasn't obsessed with Bruce Wayne and Batman, he could have lived a very comfortable and lavish life.
- Assuming nobody eventually looked too closely at the company's initial books...
- Laughably Evil: Yes, Riddler is a villain, but his antics are often very funny.
- Man in White: Near the end when he dons a glittery white-and-green leotard.
- Meaningful Name: Openly acknowledged by the characters with Edward Nygma as in...E. Nygma or...enigma. Also Mr.E or Mystery.
- In the comics, his birth name was "Edward Nashton" and he changed it to Nigma(/Nygma) himself, for both the pun and to distance himself from his abusive father.
- Napoleon Delusion: At the end of Forever, he goes insane and believes he's Batman.
- The Nicknamer: Enjoys referring to Harvey as "bifurcated one."
- No Indoor Voice:
Has anyone told you you have a SERIOUS IMPULSE CONTROL PROBLEM?!
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He may have been a Large Ham, but all things considered, he managed to figure out who Batman was on his own and launched an assault on Wayne Manor that completely destroyed the Batcave and left Bruce for dead. If not for his need to utterly screw with Bruce serving as his downfall, he could have flat-out killed him.
- Oh Crap: When he realizes Batman has foiled his plan.
- Pass the Popcorn: Excitedly munches on some popcorn while watching the chaos unfolding at a circus Bruce is attending.
- Sadistic Choice: Poses one to Batman at the climax—either save Chase or save Robin (a choice that also represents his two personas, Bruce and Batman).
- Stalker with a Crush: To Bruce.
- Villain Team-Up: With Two-Face.
- Villainous Breakdown: Due to various circumstances, he gets increasingly loopy throughout the film. Not that he wasn't clearly demented at the start...
Nygma: (after his hero rejects his Box) You were supposed to understand. I'll make you understand.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Clearly one at first, since he only wants to patent and market his virtual-reality invention (without approval from his superiors, if necessary) to spare the people of the world from "being brutalized by an uncaring reality" (which is a correlative to his own loneliness and sense of worthlessness). It's not until he accidentally discovers that "The Box" can extract information from human minds that he decides to go down the criminal route.
- Why Won't You Die?: "Why? Why can't I kill you?"
Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze
"My name is Freeze. Learn it well...for it is the chilling sound of your doom!"
- Academic Athlete: Bruce notes that, before his accident, Fries was a decathlete who won a Nobel Prize for his work in molecular biology.
- Declarative Finger: "It's winter forever here in Gotham!" and later "You LIE!"
- Despair Event Horizon: Freeze crosses this after Poison Ivy tells him Batman killed his wife, and he decides to freeze not only Gotham but "THE WORLD!"
- Dying Curse: "FREEZE IN HELL, BATMAN!!!" Subverted in that he survives.
- Endless Winter: This becomes his goal after Poison Ivy tells him Batman cut his wife off life support.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Freeze loves his wife so much he turns down the advances of his female minion.
- Evil Gloating / Sadistic Choice: When Batman and Robin catch up to him, Freeze fires his ice-gun at Robin, freezing him, and then gives Batman the choice of pursuing him (Freeze) or saving Robin.
Can you be cold, Batman?! You have eleven minutes to thaw the bird. What will you do—chase the villain, or save the boy? Ha-ha!
Your emotions make you weak! That's why this day's mine! Ha-ha!
Dr. Pamela Isley / Poison Ivy
A botanist working in a South American lab under the employ of Wayne Enterprises, Dr. Pamela Isley is seemingly murdered in a Freak Lab Accident
when she stumbles upon her eccentric colleague's secret experiments, rebuffs his sexual advances
, and threatens to ruin his career. However, after prolonged exposure to the Super Serum
known as Venom, she becomes a full-on murderous vamp
with a pheromone dust concoction
and poisonous lips
who seeks to pit Batman and Robin against each other
and rid the earth of mankind's toxic influence.
- All There in the Manual: One of the major plot holes people found in the movie was that Freeze's plan would have had a negative effect on plant life in the ecosystem. Going along with said plan was in fact a conscious choice on Ivy's part, as in the script and the junior novelization, there is a part where she crushes a flower after proclaiming, "Sorry, hon', this is for science."
- Ambition Is Evil: Goes from vengeful eco-terrorist to genocidal megalomaniac who plans to use Freeze's weapon to wipe out all human (and most plant) life so that she can rule over a race of mutant plants with Freeze by her side. There's definitely a Broken Aesop in there somewhere. Yikes.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Her numerous (and we mean numerous) sexual references are just about the sole reason for Batman & Robin's PG-13 rating, save a few swear words here and there.
- Bare Your Midriff: Rises from her grave with her garments fashionably tattered in a less-than-practical manner thanks to Instant Costume Change.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: With Freeze (Brains) and Bane (Brawn). Potentially averted in that, while Freeze is clearly a bit of a Genius Bruiser by way of Informed Intelligence, Ivy does the lion's share of the scheming amongst the three.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Pamela Isley found out her boss Dr. Woodrue was using her research for his own megalomaniacal ends and announced her efforts to get him fired and blacklisted. After becoming Poison Ivy, she seeks to do exactly what Dr. Woodrue planned to do (that is, Take Over the World).
- Big Bad: Of B&R.
- Bond Breaker: Her pheromones cause tension between Batman and Robin.
- Burlesque: Stripteases in a Blonde Venus-inspired magenta gorilla suit in her Big Entrance at the Rainforest Ball. Also features Shaking The Rump, Sexy Walk, and a small Three-Point Landing onto a bed of male performers.
- Clark Kenting: An extreme case; she wears leafy eye masks to conceal her identity. That's right: eye masks. At least the heroes have the decency to at least wear domino masks.
- Conveniently Cellmates: With Freeze at the end of B&R.
- Designated Girl Fight: With Batgirl.
- Dispense With The Pleasantries: "Enough...sweet talk."
- Double Entendre: If Mr. Freeze is the King of Puns, then Poison Ivy is the Queen of this trope.
- Dying Curse: "Curses!" Subverted in that she survives.
- Enemy Mine: With Mr. Freeze.
- Even the Girls Want Her: With the aid of her pheromones, if some of the gazes of female partygoers at the Rainforest Ball are any indication.
- Evil Is Hammy: Turned Up to Eleven, of course.
- Evil Makeover: One of the more interesting side-effects of Venom is its ability to turn a Shrinking Violet into Ms. Fanservice. Over the course of the film, her costume, hair, and makeup choices become more bold, brazen, crazy, over-the-top, drag queen-flamboyant.
- Expy: Poison Ivy is a mixture of Catwoman's rebirth origin story from Returns and The Riddler's Mad Scientist origin story from Forever. Stated by Joel Schumacher that his original intent was to have Nicole Kidman portray Ivy in Batman Forever, hence why (aside from Elliot Goldenthal's recycled score) Ivy and Chase's Sexophone motifs are so similar.
- Fantastic Flora: Poison Ivy has a plethora of killer mutant plants that giggle, sigh, moan, hiss...and kill. They can crush a man, engulf a building in mere minutes, and swallow somebody whole. Audrey II, eat your heart out.
- Freak Lab Accident: How she became Poison Ivy.
- Gaia's Vengeance: She invokes shades of this trope in an impassioned speech after killing Dr. Woodrue with her poison kiss as she prepares to burn the lab to the ground.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A good deal of her dialogue is made up of veiled references either to coitus or her own genitalia. Considering the notoriously family-friendly nature of this film, this can be a bit jarring.
- "I've got some wild oats to sow."
- "My garden needs tending."
- "Some lucky boy is about to hit the honeypot."
- "I'll bring everything you see here, plus everything you don't."
- "I'll help you grab your rocks."
- "Is your thumb the only part of you that's green?"
- "You'll just have to find out."
- "I need a sign."
- "How about 'slippery when wet'?"
- Glamour: Her pheromones can affect entire crowds, as noted at the Rainforest Ball.
- A God Am I: Makes a variety of Blasphemous Boasts and seeks to destroy the world and rebuild it in her own image.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Pulls the plug on Nora's life support in an attempt to keep Freeze all for herself.
- Green Thumb: Being that, for better or worse, she's still Poison-freaking-Ivy, this trope is practically a given.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Invokes a bit of this in Robin. She definitely becomes a victim of this herself with Mr. Freeze which leads to her eventual Villain Decay from Not-So-Harmless Villain to a Green-Eyed Monster who winds up rotting away in Arkham while her beloved, now her cellmate, vows to make her life a living hell as retribution for the attempted murder of his ill wife.
- Love Potion: "Pheromone dust: designed to heat a man's blood."
- Lover, Not a Fighter: She invokes this trope.
- Mad Scientist: Before her transformation, she was appalled to learn Dr. Woodrue was using her research for his own evil ends, but after becoming Poison Ivy, she aims to eliminate humanity and replace them with plant/animal hybrids.
- Man-Eating Plant: The flower throne that Ivy reclines on in her lair doubles as one.
- Manipulative Bitch: She serves as the primary Big Bad of the film to drive the conflict, raises the stakes by convincing Mr. Freeze that Batman killed his wife, and manipulating him into using his freeze gun as a doomsday device.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: She attempts this with Nora Fries. Batman later reveals to Freeze he (Batman) was able to save her.
- The Muse: Joel Schumacher stated that he specifically chose Uma Thurman because of his infatuation with her portrayal of Venus when he was younger.
- Nobody Can Die: Averted. Despite the film's aim to be more family-driven than Batman Forever, Ivy kills three men in a fairly PG-gruesome manner and the audience is informed of a fourth victim as well.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Narrowly averted. While Freeze and Bane are presented as the greatest physical threat to Batman and Robin, she's the film's primary schemer and presents a much more serious threat to the heroes' mortality by way of her Kiss of Death. Unfortunately, her Idiot Ball levels of arrogance and Genre Blindness keep her from being able to make good on her threats.
- Oh Crap: When she learns Freeze is her new cellmate at Arkham.
- Same Language Dub: Although still voiced by Uma Thurman, all of her lines were re-dubbed for the final theatrical release, as evidenced by the slightly higher-pitched, breathier intonations of her speech in trailers. According to the director, this was to give her a more sultry baritone as well as a more visibly-pronounced drawl.
- Sexophone: Poison Ivy's recurring leitmotif is built around this, usually when she appears in the room and goes into seduction mode. It starts off bold, sultry, and alluring before trailing off into eerie, dark territory and rising to a crescendo at the end.
- The music reflects the actions on screen; the hapless victim becomes seduced by Ivy's charms (sax) and they share a kiss (foreboding drone), whereupon the poison slowly works its way through the body and kills him (crescendo).
- Sex Sells: In the Blu-Ray commentary, Joel Schumacher admits that much of Ivy's character was written "for the dads."
- Slouch of Villainy: Decides to kick her feet up when she discovers the Turkish Baths. By the time Robin discovers them, it's a little different.
- Statuesque Stunner: Uma Thurman is six feet tall all by herself; add heels to the mix and she's taller than both George and Chris.
- Supervillain Lair: Runs out a gang of violent squatters to take over an abandoned Turkish bathhouse and make it over into her own private paradise.
- Tainted Veins: Her victims show this after ingesting the Venom from her poison kisses. As shown with Woodrue, the tongue also becomes a discolored shade of green.
- Take Over the World: Aims to do this with Freeze.
Antonio Diego / Bane
Played by: Michael Reid MacKay, Robert "Jeep" Swenson
After a series of ruthless experiments conducted by Dr. Jason Woodrue, South American serial killer Antonio Diego is transformed into the monstrous, mindless, hulking brute known as Bane. Played by late wrestler Jeep Swenson
, this iteration of Bane is an In Name Only
version of the character, serving as a monosyllabic Giant Mook
for Poison Ivy and suffering from a severe case of Adaptation Decay
Dr. Jason Woodrue
A scientist employed by Wayne Enterprises, and Dr. Pamela Isley's boss.
A photojournalist who comes to Gotham City to investigate Batman. She partners with Alexander Knox on the assignment, and begins dating Bruce Wayne, not knowing (at first
) he's actually the same guy she's investigating.
- 108: This is the weight she gives when being rescued by the Dark Knight. Significant because she's lying, which results in there being too much weight for the extension gun to lift them both so that Batman has to fall back to the ground so she can escape.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Vicki is normally shown as a redhead in the comics, but was played by the very blond Kim Basinger in the film.
Played by: Robert Wuhl
A reporter for the Gotham Globe
who's investigating reports of a bat-like creature attacking criminals. He teams with Vicki Vale to solve the mystery of Batman.
- Let's Get Dangerous: When the Smilex gas is released in the streets of Gotham during a parade, he immediately grabs a mask and baseball bat from his trunk and goes after the Joker's goons, managing to scatter away one of the balloons.
- Outside Ride: Does this on the hood of Vicki's car.
- Plucky Comic Relief: He serves as a Heroic Bystander at one point, though he gets sidelined quickly. Accidentally. By Vicki.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Set up as one, but he's mostly an aversion (if not an outright inversion). He fancies himself a great investigative reporter, even though he famously has a "useless reputation" and though his co-workers at the Gotham Globe relentlessly mock him for being one of the few people in Gotham who actually believes in Batman. In addition, when he meets Vicki and is instantly smitten with her, he arrogantly asks if she has come to photograph him nude and boasts that, in that case, she will need a long lens. But Vicki actually ends up liking him despite his more annoying qualities, and in the end, he is vindicated when the people of Gotham come to realize that he was right about Batman after all. The nearest he gets to a Break the Haughty is when Vicki accidentally hits him with a car during a panicked stampede in the streets and he falls off the hood and into a pile of garbage in an alley.
Commissioner James Gordon
Played by: Pat Hingle
Dr. Chase Meridian
A psychologist who's brought in by the Gotham Police Department to consult on Two-Face's case. She becomes attracted to Batman but eventually falls for Bruce Wayne.
Played by: Ed Begley, Jr.
Nygma's boss at WayneTech.
- Asshole Victim: There's dealing with a difficult employee and then there's going out of your way to verbally put him down at every opportunity you can find. No wonder Nygma snapped.
- Bullying a Dragon: Threatens to haul Nygma before a federal tribunal and have him incarcerated in an insane asylum after Nygma has not only disobeyed a direct order from him, but also hit him in the head with a coffee pot, tied him up and subjected him to a highly unethical and potentially life-threatening neurological experiment. On top of all that, he fires Nygma; Edward does not take this well, and his reaction is swift and terrible.
- Death Glare: Gives one to Nygma while standing behind Bruce while Edward is going on about his mind manipulation ideas.
- Face Palm: When Nygma unveils his invention to Bruce Wayne.
- Large Ham: "What the HELL is going on here?!"
- His rant to Nygma that ends with "But first and foremost, Nygma, you're fired! Do you hear me?! FIRED!"
Played by: Elle Macpherson
Bruce's Love Interest
in Batman & Robin