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Characters: The Dark Knight Saga Other Costumed Characters
Throughout his superhero career, Batman encounters several costumed characters not affiliated with anyone in particular.Return to the main page.
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Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow
"I respect the mind's power over the body. It's why I do what I do. Would you like to see my mask?" As the Scarecrow
A corrupt psychiatrist with a penchant for studying fear. He's allied with Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins
and secretly works for Ra's al Ghul
, aiding in the plot against Gotham by developing a powerful 'fear gas'. After Ra's defeat
, he goes on the run and becomes a drug-dealer but a year later in The Dark Knight is captured by Batman
. Then eight years later in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane sets him free and places him in charge of the Gotham court, where he loves to abuse his status as Hanging Judge.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comics, Scarecrow is usually portrayed as a skinny, nebbishy dude with glasses; definitely a far cry from Cillian Murphy.
- Badass Bookworm: Until somebody gets an antidote, he is a dangerous scientist with fear toxin.
- The Cameo: In latter two films.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: When told that Batman has infiltrated Arkham, Crane tells his men to call the police, because they are far better equipped to deal with Batman than Crane and his own guys, and unlike Batman, won't be able to stop his plans.
- Deadpan Snarker: A less obvious example than Lucius, but he has his moments.
- The Dragon: To Ra's al Ghul.
- Evil Is Hammy: Sometimes Crane acts like this, but only after losing his sanity. As shown in The Dark Knight and Rises, Scarecrow is still hammy and clearly enjoying what he is doing.
Scarecrow ( in The Dark Knight): I told you my compound would take you places. I never said they'd be places you wanted to go.
Scarecrow ( in Rises): Very well. Death! [smashes gavel] By exile.
- Exact Words: In The Dark Knight with the Chechen.
"Buyer beware. I told your man my compound would take you places. I never said they'd be places you wanted to go."
- Faux Affably Evil: Almost always speaks in a calm tone of voice. Don't buy any of it. He uses disarming phrases like "clear your mind" when about to drug people.
- Laughably Evil: In Rises, as he's both calm and smug and provides some hilarious scenes.
- For Science!:
"I respect the mind's power over the body. It's why I do what I do."
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He wears glasses and drives people insane.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Hanging Judge: In his role as a judge in Rises, he has two types of punishments: Death or Exile. "Exile" consists of being forced to walk across very thin ice, leading the poor sap to freeze in the water. The other option is "Death... by Exile."
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Scarecrow is eventually driven even further insane by his own fear toxin in Batman Begins.
- Kangaroo Court: Heads one in the final movie. Also, according to him, he's also given high enough of a position of authority that even Bane is unable to alter his ruling. (Although, hypothetically, it is ultimately meaningless, and probably just a show trial put on for Bane's amusement.)
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: When he drives Carmine Falcone insane.
- Kill It with Fire: In Batman Begins, he tells Batman to "lighten up" - by setting him on fire.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Crane is eerily serene while people are screaming. Considering his fascination with fear, his mocking of Carmine Falcone when he screams, and his smirks when fear or violence happen to others; it is pretty safe to say Crane has some disturbing interests.
- Mad Scientist: A psychologist and a chemist that experiments with fear and toxic gas.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He's likely a licensed and educated one but the 'morally ambigiuous' is still appropriate.
- Not Wearing Tights: Like most of Batman's adversaries in the Nolan adaptations, his costume is subtler than in the comics. The only constant is his creepy mask made from simple burlap and his fear toxin sprays. However, at the end of Begins he escapes Arkham Asylum along with other inmates, wearing an untangled straightjacket. The gray and tattered straightjacket, together with his burlap mask, make him look decidedly closer in appearance to his standard comic book version. In the third movie, it's adequately a suit covered in straw.
- Once an Episode: The only villain to appear in every movie of the trilogy.
- Psycho for Hire: In some ways he's one himself, though he's a more subtle psycho than most. In other ways, he creates them.
- Psycho Psychologist: Enjoys the power the mind has over the body and ruining peoples' sanity with his fear toxin.
- Sanity Slippage: He was a nutjob from the start but decently hides it. Once Batman hits him with his own fear toxin though, whatever sane composure he had went out the window.
- Scary Scarecrows: Fear gas does this effect to one boy in Batman Begins.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Dr. Crane does look a little more intimidating with his lenses on.
- Smug Snake: Plays nearly all of his scenes with a "smartest man in the room" smirk on his face.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He never raises his voice when gassing people.
- Stoic Spectacles: Always calm Until he himself is gassed.
- Unexplained Recovery: Averted. His fear gas should have driven him insane but in small doses the body would gradually adjust to it over time. This is why he appears fine in Dark Knight.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Ra's al-Ghul. Ra's notes that Crane was not himself a member of the League of Shadows and believed The Plan was to hold Gotham to ransom with his fear toxin, not to destroy it as Ra's intended to do.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In Batman Begins he is a respected psychologist despite what he does under the table... until Batman gases him with his own toxin.
- Voice of the Legion: His voice, and anyone else's, has a very creepy effect after you've inhaled his gas.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the third film, he isn't seen again after the trial scene, and no mention of him is made afterwards. Though after the bomb blows up there's a shot of the police who have clearly retaken the courthouse. If Crane was still there, he would have been recaptured.
- Xanatos Gambit: Batman fails to act before, as Scarecrow predicted, the police capture him? Rachel loses her mind, the city will descend into chaos when they discover the DA is dead and his assistant is unfit to replace him, and Ra's al Ghul can carry out his plan without much interference. Batman shows up and saves Rachel? Ra's al Ghul will move forward and carry out his plan ahead of schedule (as Ra's himself puts it, "Your antics at the asylum have forced my hand."). No third option here, but being the clever planner he himself is, the Batman ends up saving Gotham anyway, but not before the Narrows breathes in the fear gas.
- Your Worst Nightmare: The effect of his fear gas.
The JokerA no name criminal that quickly turns into one of the biggest threats
Gotham and Batman have ever faced. Violent, unpredictable and insane, he brings Gotham to its knees before being captured by Batman.
This particular version is notably less cartoony and much more subtle in his methods.
- Abusive Parents: In the scar story he told Gambol, he was abused by his father, who one night gave him his Glasgow Grin. This is most likely false, however, as he always makes up a different story.
- Adaptation Distillation: The Joker was heavily affected by this. He still has a sense of humor, but he loses most of the things that made him recognizably the Joker, like the laughing gas, the acid posies or the eccentricities in general. However, this only draws more attention to how terrifyingly psychopathic he is, because without his fantastical props he's forced to use more mundane and unpleasant methods to achieve results. Like making pencils disappear and giving Glasgow grins to targets.
- In fact, the Joker is very similar to how he was in his original appearance in Batman #1: darker humor, a terrorist by announcing his moves in advance, crimes that made little sense at all except that he liked committing them, etc. Joker has come full circle.
- All There in the Manual: The Dark Knight Rises novel gives us a bit more insight on where he is.
"The worst of the worst were sent [to Blackgate], except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham's sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he escaped. Nobody was really sure.
- American Accents: The Joker speaks with a Chicago accent. Given that the movie was filmed in Chicago, it probably is justified.
- Ax-Crazy: "I'm not. No, I'm not."
- Badass: A master planner who has no limits, has a very effective silver tongue, who in a matter of days brings Gotham to its knees and complete chaotic disarray with - as he notes to Harvey in the hospital - just a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets hitting the right people.
- Badass Longcoat: Tailored and purple. "Oh, and by the way, the suit? It wasn't cheap. You oughta know, you bought it!"
- Bad Boss: The Joker, as Bozo, makes the clowns kill each other for money in the opening bank robbery and offs the survivor himself. Let's not get started on his idea of "tryouts" with Gambol's associates to join him, which involves breaking a pool cue and leaving them to fight each other to the death.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Sure, his plan to blow up the boats failed, but not only did he successfully drive Harvey Dent mad (which more-or-less proved the same point) but by doing this he indirectly forced Batman to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, just like he said.
- Batman Gambit: In this series, the Joker is even better at it than the Trope Namer. Most of his plans begin with him issuing a public threat, then planning for what he expects people to do in response and carrying out his attack that way. For instance, take his assassination attempt on the Mayor. The Joker and his men are disguised as the honor guard, and have tied up the real honor guard members in an apartment overlooking the procession, with an egg timer attached to a window blind, which Bruce Wayne discovers looking up a tip based on a print he found on a bullet from the scene of the Joker's previous victims. On the 21-gun salute, the timer goes off in time with the second volley, causing the snipers guarding the area to turn their attention to it and fire in time with the volley so they aren't heard by most of the crowd, distracting them for the Joker to open fire on the Mayor (fortunately Gordon has just a split second to spot the Joker and tackles the mayor to the ground in time).
- Berserk Button: Being called crazy, the one thing that can get him to drop his whole act and seriously say he's not. Also, calling him a freak. He expresses mere annoyance when Gambol does it, he gets under Stephens's skin when he does it, and he has Chechen fed to his own dogs when he does it.
- Big Bad: Of the second movie.
- Blatant Lies: "I'm just a dog chasing cars", "I just do things". This man is as organized as David Xanatos himself.
- Black Comedy: He's the Joker. It's been said that you know you've written him properly when he makes the audience laugh and scream, both at once. His dialogue when he crashes the fundraiser, or when he makes a pencil "disappear", are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Bright Is Not Good: He has a pale white clown face, a purple waistcoat and suit (with bright orange lining) and green hair in contrast to Batman's black outfit.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The man loves his bombs and anarchy.
- Calling Card: Joker playing cards.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He uses Joker playing cards as his "signature", a Mythology Gag. Apart from that, he styles himself an "agent of chaos".
- Catch Phrase: While he gets several memorable lines throughout the movie, the one that would best fit this trope is "You wanna know how I got these scars?"
- Chaos Is Evil: He's a definite Card-Carrying Villain and calls himself an "agent of chaos".
- Character Tic: He licks his lips while he talks a lot.
- Word of God states that this was a result of Heath Ledger being annoyed by the feeling of the scar prosthetics and unconsciously licking at them because of it, and after seeing him do it a few times with the full make-up and finding it seriously creepy, they decided to just Throw It In.
- Cheap Costume: Averted. The Joker used some of the money he'd been stealing from mob banks to get custom-made clothing, since after he makes a pencil disappear, he says, "Oh, and by the way, the suit? It wasn't cheap. You oughta know! You bought it!"
- Played straight with his makeup; the longer he spends onscreen, the more of it wears off. Most noticeable when he is in custody.
- The Chessmaster: As much he insists that he hates plans and has none himself, he is extremely good at chess scheming.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He manipulates the clowns to shoot each other after their part in the opening bank robbery in this order:
- Dopey and Happy are on the roof, breaking into the alarm box. Dopey hijacks the silent alarm. Once he does so, Happy shoots him in the back at point-blank range with a suppressed pistol.
- Happy grabs Dopey's bag and runs down to the vault, which he drills into. Once he opens the vault, Grumpy shoots him with a pistol.
- Grumpy loads the money into duffel bags, then he and Bozo (actually the Joker) move the bags to a spot by the door. Grumpy then draws his pistol on "Bozo", guessing "Bozo" has been ordered to shoot him. But Bozo instead says that he kills the bus driver. Before Grumpy can figure out what that means, a school bus bursts through the doors and kills him.
- Had Chuckles not been killed by the bank manager, he would've killed Grumpy after Happy bought the farm, and then filled the former's role from that point forward.
- The bus driver helps "Bozo" load the money into the bus. Once done, the Joker - as he said he would - shoots him dead with his automatic pistol.
- Even the mob bank manager is horrified at the Joker's MO, leading to this exchange:
Bank Manager: Oh, criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in, huh? What do you believe in?!
(The Joker leans down and stuffs a gas grenade in the manager's mouth)
I believe, whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you... (removes his mask, revealing his make-up and scars
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He disappears from the film series after the SWAT team captures him. Invoked as a result of respect for Heath Ledger's death.
- Collector of the Strange: He has a never-acknowledged but noticeable tendency to hang on to particularly nice weapons (or dogs) that he comes across. His knife collection could stock a roadside museum.
- Combat Pragmatist: He seems self-taught, and definitely can't take the highly-trained and skilled Batman in a fair fight. So, in the climax of The Dark Knight, he attacks Batman when he's blinded and unleashes dogs while furiously smacking him with a crowbar.
- Combat Sadomasochist: He obviously enjoys hurting and killing others, but also deeply enjoys watching Batman's Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique even while Batman is beating him within an inch of his life. In fact, he's always really disappointed when Batman won't kill him.
- Consummate Liar: The Joker is an expert at this. You want to know how good he is? He's so good that one "incorrect" claim of his made many members of the audience believe that bad writing was responsible, even when he was clearly lying. Specifically, when he tells Dent he acts randomly, without a plan, yet he repeatedly demonstrates the use of plans (the bank robbery and the clowns shooting each other; the Joker and his men impersonating the honor guard in an attempt to assassinate the mayor; his actions during the car chase on Wacker Drive), and a gift for improvising. In fact, it was one of those plans that allowed him to break into Dent's hospital room in the first place. Many people thought that he was telling the truth, and the writers had screwed up.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: As revealed in the novelization of The Dark Knight Rises, he's not only a prisoner at Arkham, he has the place to himself. Or not. We don't really know, and we probably never will.
- Cop Killer: He kills multiple law enforcement officers throughout the film, including poisoning Police Commissioner Loeb, and uses the anger that inspires in the police force to his advantage.
- The Corrupter: His gift isn't simply in causing chaos, pain and grief. It's bringing out the capacity and drive to cause those things in others; ensuring his actions have an immense ripple effect, and that even if you kill him, he's won in principle.
The Joker: It wasn't hard. You see madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push! (laughs hysterically)
- Crazy-Prepared: Even moreso than Batman. What's most impressive is that the Joker can be this without Batman's functionally limitless cash.
The Joker: Look what I did to this city with just a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: He knows a hero like Batman isn't going to kill him, which ultimately allows him to gun down even more people without fear of the consequences, and he knows how to make a good man go bad, but in the end Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
- Darker and Edgier: Heath Ledger is, without a doubt, the darkest, cruelest portrayal of the Joker ever shown on live-action film or television. And, without a doubt, one of the best.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Maybe. Maybe not.
- Deadpan Snarker: He makes his entrance throwing out some dry snappy lines to mobsters. Like, "Ah hah hah hah...and I thought my jokes were bad."
- Death Seeker: Subtly. He really doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies, but seems to want Batman to break his one rule because of and upon him. This opens Alternative Character Interpretation in whether he wants Batman broken or he just wants to die - he's spectacularly reckless with his life (he was, for instance, quite happy to allow Harvey Dent to shoot him), but he still exhibits self-preservation occasionally. Perhaps he just wants to die an amusing death.
- If you pay attention, you can see him keeping his finger on the hammer of the gun Dent's pointing at him. The Joker takes far less chances than he lets on.
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Diabolus Ex Nihilo: He has no Start of Darkness and no believable backstory. He just shows up and wrecks shop.
- Die Laughing: He bursts into maniacal laughter when Batman throws him off the building they're fighting on, because even in his defeat he achieved victory over Batman by finally getting him to violate his "no kill" rule. When Batman saves him at the last second he's honestly disappointed.
- Doesn't Like Guns: A Downplayed Trope. He claims they kill people too quickly and he'll happily pick one up if he needs to; he just prefers knives.
- Dramatic Unmask: "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger."
- The Dreaded: Feared by everyone (mob bosses, civilians, cops), and for very good reasons. Even when Maroni thought the Joker was still technically working for him and the mob, he was still too scared of the guy to give up any information about him to Batman.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: His refusal to believe in fundamental human decency is what destined his "social experiment" to failure before it even began. Batman even spells it out for him:
Batman: What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's as ugly as you?! You're alone!
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The Joker emits fake laughter with a deadpan tone when he crashes the mob meeting, and ends by saying, "And I thought my jokes were bad...". Immediately after that, he makes a pencil disappear, which is bad for the poor victim of the trick but humorous for him, and also for us. "TADA! It's, ah, it's gone."
- Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted. He speaks with a rather high nasal voice, nothing like Ledger's naturally husky voice. However, when angry, it can switch to a nightmarish gravely tone as seen in the news report tape of him torturing the fake Batman.
- Eviler Than Thou: To the mob.
The Joker: This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I'm gonna give it to 'em.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: The mob attempted to use the Joker to advance their own interests, but had no idea just how destructive he really was, or that the Joker was using them more for his interests. When Rachel bites it, Sal Maroni even admits that he should never have let the Chechen hire the Joker in the first place.
- Evil Laugh: He's the freaking Joker. He also performs a very odd false laugh when he gatecrashes the mob's meeting.
- Evil Plan: Being a liar it's hard to tell what The Plan is exactly but corrupting people, whether it's the city itself or just one man, is at the center of it.
- Exact Words: His policy in regards to threats.
You see, this
is how crazy
Batman has made Gotham! If you want order in Gotham, Batman must take off his mask and turn himself in. Oh, and every day he doesn't, people will die. Starting tonight. I'm a man of my word
! (hysterical maniacal laughter
- Eye Scream:
The Joker: [completely deadpan] Ah ha ha ha ha, hahaha, ha, ha, ha, oh, a-hee-hee, ha ha, oh, hee ha, ahaha. And I thought my jokes were bad!
Gambol: Give me one reason why I shouldn't have my boy here pull your head off.
The Joker: How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear.
[Gambol's crony walks over to the Joker. The Joker slams the man's head down on the pencil, forcing the entire pencil through his eye socket]
The Joker: TA-DA! It's, ah, it's gone. Oh, and by the way, the suit? It wasn't cheap. You oughta know, you bought it!
- Faux Affably Evil: Inverted. His politeness is rather warped and twisted, but it's genuine, and it highlights how frighteningly far from normal human standards he really is.
- For the Evulz: He's the trope picture and the subject of the trope quote. The quote in question was from Alfred when he was talking about a Burmese bandit who stole not because he wanted what he stole, but because he thought it was fun, when giving a comparison in regards to the Joker.
Alfred: Some men just want to watch the world burn.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: He's so twisted, he can even screw with the audience's heads. See Consummate Liar above.
- Freudian Excuse: Openly mocked by him, with his Multiple-Choice Past. However, the line he gives when unmasking himself to the bank manager, "I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...stranger", suggests that something happened that made him this way. We never learn what exactly it is.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Considered a small time hood by Batman at the start of the movie. The remaining acts see him rise.
- Bonus points for the interrogation scene, where Batman simply starts pummeling him for answers; in response, the Joker cackles that Batman has zero leverage on him because of this.
- Glasgow Grin: Has one and puts them on some of his victims.
- Guttural Growler: "Look at me... LOOK AT ME!" Apart from that he uses a nasally voice.
- The Heavy: He carries the plot but is not revealed as the Big Bad until near the end.
- Hero Killer: This seems like a recurring M.O. for this version of the Joker, depending how you view this one. He outright murders former GCPD officer Brian Douglass (one of the vigilantes of Citizen For Batman), kills several known Gotham City cops and other law enforcement including Commissioner Loeb and Rachel Dawes, and finally causes Dent to slide off the slope of sanity, leading to several more deaths, including Dent's own.
- Humans Are Bastards: Joker seems to believe in this; as one of his plans is foiled by the citizens and prisoners of Gotham choosing to not kill each other to save their own lives. This not only causes a Villainous Breakdown, where he is quiet for once, but it allows Batman to beat him due to his distraction...and projectile scallops. Unfortunately, Joker had a backup plan in the form of Harvey Dent.
- The Hyena: See Laughing Mad below.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murder of Gambol. Later on, he also murders Chechen. Bonus points for the latter's death being Laser-Guided Karma for taking the initiative to hire him in the first place.
- Knife Nut: When he's searched by the police, they find a whole lot of things that are already knives, as well as a handful of sharp objects that could be re-purposed as knives in a pinch (including a potato peeler). There's one hidden in his shoe. He gives a speech praising them, and often has one in his hand or about his person for no specific reason. He really likes his knives. This is his reasoning: "Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"
- Lack of Empathy: If he could understand that people are more than whatever feral darkness lies inside them, perhaps his 'social experiment' would have been structured differently. Ledger himself openly declared him to be a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy."
- Large Ham: Laughing, gesturing, grand speeches and the 'pencil trick'; his presence is enormous.
- Laughably Evil: When the Joker makes a pencil disappear, it establishes him as horrifying and hilarious at the same time.
"TADA! It's.... ah, it's gone."
- Laughing Mad: Right when Batman foiled him and threw him off the roof to certain death before saving him, he started breaking into laughter. It was his victory, you see: in throwing him off a building, The Batman had broken his no-killing rule. He's really let down when, seconds later, Batman saves him.
- Loners Are Freaks: But don't call him a freak to his face, or he'll cut a good part of yours off.
- Lost In A Crowd:
- To escape from the bank, the Joker slips his school bus into an opening in a long line of identical buses driving past the bank as the police arrive.
- For the Joker and his men to escape the funeral after attempting to shoot the mayor, notice how all the assembled officers break formation and run every which way after Gordon goes down intercepting the Joker's bullet. The Joker and his men use the chaos and confusion to escape, and all of them do get away, except for Thomas Schiff, who is tagged in the left leg.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Maaaaaybe. His "why I use a knife" dialogue to Stephens strongly implies that he likes knifing people so he can bask in their agony, but given how good he is at manipulation, it's very possible that he was simply saying this to goad Stephens into attacking him, since Stephens had already said that he knew that the Joker would enjoy getting beaten up.
- Mad Bomber: He loves blowing things up. Cars, ferries, hospitals, judges, Rachel and Harvey, all fair game. He even carries a bundle of grenades under his coat to the mob meeting just in case they get unfriendly.
"I'm a man of simple tastes. I enjoy... dynamite, and gunpowder, and gasoline."
- Manipulative Bastard: He screws with people's heads for shits and giggles, even his own men.
- Mugged for Disguise: To get to the mayor during Commissioner Loeb's funeral, the Joker and his men abduct the honor guard, tie them up and gag them in an apartment overlooking the parade, then steal their rifles and uniforms.
- Mind Rape: Does this to an already very stressed Harvey Dent, and it breaks him.
- Monster Clown: Looks like a clown and is far more terrifying than mobsters.
- Multiple-Choice Past: He has several stories about how he got the scars on his face. This being a reference to The Killing Joke, the Trope Namer.
- Near Villain Victory: If Batman hadn't pulled his Zero-Approval Gambit at the end of the movie, the Joker would have definitely won. In Rises, when Bane publicizes Harvey Dent's murderous actions as Two-Face, Gotham is quickly plunged into anarchy and chaos just as the Joker intended.
- No Name Given: "No name. No other alias..." He is only 'the Joker'. Makes you wonder if he was born homeless or just had managed to easily avoid doing anything that would give him prints or a name that might go on a database.
- Not Afraid to Die: He's completely unfazed by the prospect of death - he's disappointed when Batman doesn't kill him.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He is at first regarded as a nuisance to the mob and a low-level bank robber. Then his Evil Plan starts...
- Nothing Is Scarier: One of the things that makes him so horrifying is we really don't know anything about him. He gives a Multiple-Choice Past and it's hard to tell which one, if any of them is the truth . He has no origin or reason or explanation. He just is.
- N-Word Privileges: He calls himself and Batman "freaks" a few times. If anyone else tries to call him a "freak", the results aren't going to be pretty.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Joker has no known name or alias.
- Order Versus Chaos: Represents chaos to Batman's order and calls himself an 'agent' of it.
- Pet the Dog: Played with in his first appearance in the novelization, where he gives an old lady a Benjamin* while waiting for his accomplices to pick him up. As with most everything else about him, the motivation behind this action is never explained.
- Precision F-Strike: After the Batman fails to mow him down on the street with the Batpod. Considering the MOS nature of the IMAX cameras (and that Grumpy had sputtered "What the fuck?!" when the mob bank manager tagged him) that were used to film that scene, it's possible that Heath Ledger swore audibly on camera, but the word wasn't dubbed back in during ADR.
The Joker: Come on, hit me! Hit me!
[The Batpod misses him]
The Joker: [mouths] Fuck!
- Psycho for Hire: He starts out as one of these (with a huge emphasis on the psycho), but the Joker doesn't really stay in the employ of the mob for long.
- Psycho Strings: The Joker's theme motif is the sound of plucking violin strings with a razor
- Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": Lampshaded: The circus semi truck the Joker and his men drive in during the car chase has had the side wording - "Laughter is the Best Medicine" - altered by way of a spray-painted red "S" right before "Laughter" to make it read "(S)LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE".
- Real Men Wear Pink: He wears makeup, lipstick, has green hair and wears a tailored purple suit and makes every mob boss and cop in Gotham tremble in fear. He also disguises himself as a female nurse in one scene, complete with curly blonde wig, heels, a knee-high skirt and pink hemming.
- Reckless Gun Usage: The Joker doesn't seem to be all that big on proper gun safety. He constantly waves guns around with his finger on the trigger, twice shoots behind him without looking, and when he gets out of the truck (you know the one) carrying a machine gun, it goes off and randomly sprays bullets when he slips. Then again, he's the Joker. It's likely he doesn't care.
- Red Herring Shirt: In the opening scene, a mob-employed bank manager tries to take down the clowns with a sawed off shotgun, killing Chuckles and hitting Grumpy in the shoulder, then is shot down by Bozo. Unfortunately for him, Bozo is secretly The Joker.
- Rugged Scar: Rather than the Joker's traditional Frozen Face, this one has a Glasgow Grin, indicating the series' Darker and Edgier tone while still establishing the character as someone who isn't going to die easily.
- Sadistic Choice: Enjoys giving others these; like making Batman choose between saving Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes. To make that Sadistic Choice worse he switched the addresses, apparently in hopes of invoking Failure Is the Only Option... and this leads to Harvey going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Rachel is blown up.
- Slasher Smile: Carved into his face in a similar fashion to a Glasgow smile.
"Now I see the funny side. Now I'm always smiling."
- The Sociopath: He has a clear understanding of how society is supposed to work and that's why he's so good at breaking it up.
- The Spook: The Gotham PD has nothing on him: "No name, no other alias. Nothing on prints, DNA, dental. Clothing is custom; no labels. Nothing in his pockets but knives and lint." This is especially scary when you consider that in the next movie, Selina Kyle is trying to erase her criminal records and is boxed in by all of the information on her, but the Joker is a big blank.
- The Stinger: In Batman Begins he leaves a joker card for the police to find.
- Stuff Blowing Up: He really likes explosions:
Joker: See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like dynamite... and gunpowder... and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!
- Straw Nihilist: He believes that morality is meaningless and "the only sensible way to live in this world is without rules".
- Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: How he convinces Harvey to give into madness, and how he hopes to corrupt Batman too.
- Taking You with Me: Implied when Gambol attempts to have him killed before settling on a bounty. He reveals that he has wired himself with explosives and had a string on his finger. Just in case the guys blew things outta proportion.
- Terrorist Without A Cause: His plans are not a means, they are an end.
- Too Kinky to Torture: He enjoys pain. When Batman tries the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on him, he shrugs off the first attempt ("Never start with the head!"), and actually looks disappointed when Batman's blow to his head keeps him from feeling the next punch. As Batman gets more violent with him on finding out he has Rachel captive, he just laughs:
Joker: You have nothing! Nothing to threaten me with! Nothing to do with all your strength!
- The Unfettered: There is nothing he won't do; he has no limits of any kind.
- Unreliable Narrator: Naturally. He tells two completely different stories about how he got his cheek scars (abusive father story to Gambol, and the loan shark one to Rachel).
- Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Believes he is the Unstoppable Force to Batman's Immovable Object meaning incorruptible spirit.
- Villainous Breakdown: A rather subtle one, but quite noticeable. When both ferries refuse to use the detonators — proving his philosophy of all humans being bastards wrong — the Joker gets visibly irritated and mumbles about how people just aren't reliable before attempting to blow them both up anyway. Interestingly, he says this in a rather calm tone, making this moment something of a reverse breakdown... guess that's what happens when your normal demeanor is over-the-top insane.
- Villainous BSOD: "You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible."
- Villainous Crossdresser: Briefly dresses up as a female nurse. Complete with wig. It's shown when he shoots the guard at the hospital.
- Vocal Dissonance: The Joker mostly speaks in a high voice, but when he gets angry, his voice becomes monstrously deep, almost a snarl. The best example is when he has the Bat-wannabe tied up on camera and he yells at him: "LOOK AT ME!"
- Waistcoat of Style: Custom made.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Due to the death of Heath Ledger, the Joker is not mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises and the last we see of him in The Dark Knight is him hanging upside down and about to be arrested by SWAT team members. However, he is mentioned in the novelization, where he's stated to be Arkham's sole remaining inmate after the Dent Act - or not.
- Worthy Opponent: He considers Batman one. He seems to adore the guy, in his way.
- You Gotta Have Green Hair: Which he does not appear to have ever washed.
- You Remind Me of X: "You remind me of my father. I hated my father."
- Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: A frequent source.
- You're Insane!: "I'm not. No, I'm not."
- Xanatos Gambit: Batman doesn't kill him? He can continue reaping destruction. Batman kills him? It forces him to cross his one moral boundary and proves he's no better.
Selina Kyle / Catwoman
"I take what I need to from those who have more than enough. I don't stand on the shoulders of people with less. I'm adaptable." As Catwoman
An acrobatic burglar with a bold disregard for Gotham's elite. She has had a pretty lengthy criminal past, with past arrests for various jewelry heists, resisting arrest, and escaping a women's correctional facility at age 16.
At the start of the movie, she is an unwitting accomplice to Bane's master plan, collecting Bruce Wayne's fingerprints for Daggett, which Bane uses to attack the stock exchange and bankrupt Bruce, and later she leads Batman to Bane to initiate the ensuing Curb-Stomp Battle
that ends with Bruce being thrown into a hellhole prison with a broken back. However, as Batman himself points out, there's more to her than meets the eye. She wishes to escape Gotham to avoid the bomb crisis, and encourages Batman to do the same. With some encouragement from Batman, she becomes more proactive in saving the city
, and in the end becomes the woman that Bruce Wayne takes in tow, fulfilling Alfred's fantasy.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Anne Hathaway keeps her normal brunette hair color here, which is different from the pure black (sometimesblonde) hair that other versions of Selina usually sport.
- Ambiguously Evil: It's never clear to what extent her actions are motivated by altruism or simply self interest. Until she goes back to save Bruce from Bane.
- Animal-Eared Headband: Technically, they are safecracking goggles which happen to resemble cat ears when flipped up onto her headband. Possibly jeweler's inspection goggles.
- Anti-Hero: Ends the film as an Unscrupulous Heroine, being a lot more jaded than Batman, but still a good person at heart.
- Anti-Villain: Starts out as a Type II, considering the criminal acts she's doing (such as the moves she does to escape an assassination attempt at the bar, which involved tricking Stryver into calling a SWAT team, and also personally shooting two henchmen) are mostly to save herself from the very unpleasant fate that Bane could have given her.
- The Atoner: She acknowledges her track record of burglary and her notoriety in Blackgate prison, and is trying to erase her records so she can start anew.
- Badass: Her scene in the bar shows how effortlessly she can take out Bane's men.
- Badass Biker/Biker Babe: In the climax, Selina comandeers the Batpod, when she is commissioned by Batman to dismantle the blockades surrounding Gotham. She then uses its cannons to blast Bane.
- Battle Couple: Shades of it with Batman in the climax.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: When Bane gives Gotham back to "the people", just as Selina predicted to Bruce Wayne during their dance, she realizes that not everyone is going to share what they get. She also quotes the line verbatim when she confronts Daggett shortly after Bane's attack on the Stock Exchange.
- Big Damn Heroes: Coming back to save Batman, taking down Bane in the process.
- Big Damn Kiss: Right before Batman's apparent Heroic Sacrifice, when Selina declares that she and Bruce are both "suckers", they take a long moment to suck face.
- Bond One-Liner: After blasting Bane with the Batpod's cannons. "About the whole 'no guns' thing... I'm not sure I feel as strongly about it as you do." In reference to her desire to use guns and lethal force in combat in contrast to Batman's one rule, which would've caused his death at Bane's hands if not for her interference.
- Byronic Hero: Similar to Bruce, she has a dark past and personal anguish that drive her actions.
- Classy Cat-Burglar
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Not even once during the film is Selina Kyle referred to as "Catwoman". However, there is one brief mention of "The Cat", plus a couple of references to "The Cat" on articles scanned by quickly in Selina's file when Bruce is on the Batcave computers. For some reason, this became more noticed in media than other examples of the trope, with various sources and reviews going out of their way to refer to the character as "Selina Kyle" and not "Catwoman". For example:
- The movie script and the novelization, however, do refer to her as Catwoman all the time, even implying that it's a well-known alias.
- Combat Stilettos: Selina has them when she's Catwoman. For combat, they're shown to have serrated edges that make kicks deadly, and indeed she puts this to good use in some of the fights in the movie. Judging by how often she wears heels outside of costume, she is accustomed enough to wearing them that fighting wouldn't be much of a stretch. Lampshaded when she's confronting Daggett:
Stryver: Nice outfit. Those heels make it hard to walk?
Selina Kyle: I don't know. [kicks his foot, stabbing him in the instep] Do they?
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: Batman's faith in her despite her betrayals leads her back to the city to save him.
- Crazy-Prepared: Selina is Genre Savvy enough to know that Stryver and the other guys are going to kill her after she hands over the fingerprint slide at the bar. So she creates a very clever escape plan after acquiring Bruce's prints:
- She seduces a Congressman who was leeching over her at the Harvey Dent Day party (which isn't too hard for her).
- A few nights later, she gets him drunk, and takes him to the bar with her, and sits him down at the counter. Then she meets with Stryver at another table, and stalls long enough that one of Stryver's associates puts a pistol to her head.
- When this happens, Selina pulls a cell phone out of her purse and tells Stryver to hit the send button.
- When Stryver draws his pistol Gangsta Style and prepares to shoot Selina, she just slyly reveals that her "date" is the Congressman, and she's just tricked Stryver into using the man's cell phone.
- On cue, tires screech to a stop outside, and Selina takes advantage of the others being distracted by the noise to attack. She grabs Stryver's pistol and kills two henchmen with just seconds to act before the SWAT team smashes through the front doors with a battering ram, at which point she screams to act like a distressed captive. Then while the SWAT team and patrol officers are chasing the other thugs and Stryver out the back door, she saunters out the front door, gets Blake to take her to safety, then escapes while Blake rushes in to join the shootout.
- Curtains Match the Window: Selina's dark black clothing and brunette hair are a very good match
- The Cynic: About everything from Gotham to her life to the Everything Is Online aspect of modern life.
- Dark Action Girl: While not evil, she's definitely a bad girl when she wants to be - the bar shootout, the confrontation with Daggett, and the finale.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Which becomes most apparent when she joins Batman late in the film.
- Damsel in Distress: Exploited during the bar scene when she hands over Bruce's fingerprints. As the SWAT team breaches the front doors, she screams and acts like she was captured by the bad guys, then calmly strolls out of the front door and past Blake while Blake and the other officers engage in a shootout with the fleeing criminals.
- Dating Catwoman: Slowly develops feelings over the course of the film for Bruce, and tries to convince him to run away with her and forget Gotham. The two do eventually run off together after Bruce fakes his death and leaves Blake to take up the legacy.
- Deadpan Snarker: For instance, after being caught stealing:
Selina Kyle: Oops. No one told me [the safe] was uncrackable.
- Domino Mask: Selina's safecracking goggles functions as one. It's not meant to hide her facial features or her hair so much as it serves as eye protection. It also serves as useful while riding the Batpod to protect her eyes.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Finally gets to wipe her record clean thanks to Bruce having the "clean slate", and runs off with Bruce at the end.
- Easily Forgiven: Despite deliberately selling Batman out to Bane, Bruce once again tries to appeal to her better nature upon his return. She Lampshades this and makes it more of a reflection on Bruce's character. It's downplayed by her Friend to All Children Just Like Robin Hood attitude.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger: Completes her Heel-Face Turn in the final act.
- Everyone Has Standards: In addition to only stealing from those who are richer than her, she is visibly unsettled watching Bane beat Batman to a pulp. Who wouldn't, given that the first thing that comes out of Bane's mouth is, "Let's not stand on ceremony here.... Mr. Wayne."
- Later when she and Jen have helped themselves to a house formerly belonging to a rich family, she is saddened when she sees a family photo that reminds her that an innocent family used to live there. This is a major turning point for her as her opinions are changing towards the rich that formerly she used to justify stealing from. It also helps that given the last few months, she's seen that the rich aren't the only corrupt ones in Gotham - with the addition of Bane and his men.
- Also happens to be a Friend to All Children when she takes out two gangbangers trying to beat up a young boy.
- Femme Fatale: Downplayed. Selina hates playboy Bruce too much to seduce him, but she still kisses him and pretends to be his wife to steal his car. Also, she doesn't hesitate shooting henchmen when necessary.
- Foreshadowing: Well there's the fact that she steals Martha Wayne's necklace, essentially stealing his heart and then steals his car by telling a valet that she's Bruce's wife...to his considerable amusement. It's not surprising to see her wearing Martha's necklace for real at the end.
- Friend to All Children: Comes to the aid of a child being mugged and warns him against stealing from those he can't outrun.
- Gaussian Girl: Inverted. Selina is not introduced with a romantic blur, but at the very end she has one.
- Genius Bruiser: From safecracking and consecutive cons to kicking ass even without her special heels.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: They're safe-cracking goggles. Possibly jeweler's inspecting goggles as well, judging from interviews of the costume designer.
- Heel-Face Turn: After Batman comes back and not only trusts Selina with the lives of Gotham's citizens, but gives her an easy way out and the clean slate program she had been looking for, Selina atones for her actions by coming back to save Batman's life. They are confirmed to be dating in the penultimate scene.
- Heel Realization: Her discovery that Batman is Bruce Wayne - thanks to what Bane says in the first "fight" - is but the first step in her gradual realization that Gotham's elites aren't as unanimously corrupt as she thought.
- Instant Expert: She mastered that Batpod fast, didn't she? We can only assume she owns a basic motorcycle and the controls are similar enough that she figured it out.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: She is coolly offended when John Daggett calls her a "dumb bitch." Because nobody ever called her dumb.
John Daggett: You dumb bitch!
Selina Kyle: Nobody ever accused me of being dumb...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Batman specifically tells her that there's more to her then the selfishness she outwardly displays.
- Justified Criminal: She thinks she is anyway:
Selina Kyle: Ugh. There's no fresh start in today's world. Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what you did. Everything we do is collated and quantified. Everything sticks.
Bruce Wayne: Is that how you justify stealing?
Selina Kyle: I take what I need from those who have more than enough. I don't stand on the shoulders of people with less.
Bruce Wayne: Robin Hood?
Selina Kyle: I think I do more to help someone than most of the people in this room. Than you.
- Kick the Morality Pet: Suckering Batman into a trap where Bane proceeds to give him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. That said, she is clearly unsettled when Bane reveals Batman's secret identity, and more so when Bane goes to town on Bruce. While Bruce later points out "an apology doesn't suit you", it's clear that Selina regretted her actions and only betrayed Bruce to make sure that Bane didn't kill her.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Becomes this by the climax of the movie.
- Last Girl Wins: Ends up with Bruce at the end of the movie despite being the last one he meets.
- Little Black Dress: Selina wears one to her meeting at the bar with Stryver. It appears to be similar to the dress she wears when dancing with Bruce later.
- Magnetic Plot Device: What gets Selina tied up in the plot is that Daggett (and later Bruce) hold a MacGuffin she needs to erase her criminal record.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A shootout caused by Selina's abduction of the Congressman leads to Gordon discovering Bane's lair.
- Ms. Fanservice: Anne Hathaway gets to don a catsuit, and rides a Batpod.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Never says it, but she clearly regrets betraying Batman when Bane reveals his true identity shortly after.
- Selina was responsible for acquiring the thumbprint that Bane and his men to execute fake trading in Bruce's name when they attack the Stock Exchange. So it's not clear whether she felt any guilt over causing Bruce to get bankrupted.
- Noble Demon: She may be a thief who is also remarkably cynical and self-centered, but she only steals to survive. During the dance scene, she says, "I take what I need to from those who have more than enough. I don't stand on the shoulders of people with less."
- Not So Different: From Batman, no less. They both dress up as black animals and engage in violent nighttime activity but have their personal codes.
- Pet the Dog: Several times.
- When a kid is being mugged, she puts the hurt on the crooks before they would otherwise punch the kid and then tells him not to steal from people he can't outrun.
- Telling Bruce that she's sorry he lost all his money due to Bane's attack on the Stock Exchange (in part Selina's fault, given Daggett uses her, through Stryver, to acquire the thumbprint that Bane uses to perform the fake trades in Bruce's name), even though as Bruce points out she isn't really sorry. It's the thought that counts.
- Helping Batman and the GCPD in their fight against Bane, up to and including saving Batman from Bane.
- The Power of Acting: Pulls off the role of subservient maid and later Damsel in Distress believably. This is best seen in her escape from what would have been an assassination attempt at the bar-she uses a "kidnapped" congressman so that the henchmen will be distracted when she summons the SWAT team, and tricks Blake into taking her to safety by posing as a hostage.
- Rescue Romance: She and Batman take turns saving each other throughout the film.
- She's Got Legs: Stryver gives her this look when he says, "Nice outfit. Those heels make it tough to walk?"
- Sensual Spandex: Selina's catsuit.
- Spy Catsuit: When she's breaking into Daggett's safe. Also, leading Batman to Bane, and while using the Batpod in the finale. She has a lot more scenes out of catsuit than she does in - although she has more scenes with her Domino Mask on than she does without.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Defied. Unlike the comic book version of the character who generally tries to avoid killing if at all possible, Selina has no qualms about shooting people who come after her, and she is seen carrying a pistol in a hip holster. She tells Batman on two occasions she doesn't like his "no guns, no killing" rule, saying "Where's the fun in that?!" in annoyance the first time, which happens during the rooftop fight scene. When working with Batman he imposes his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule on her, much to her annoyance. She breaks it when she blasts Bane with the Bat-pod's cannons to save Bruce.
- The Unfettered: Comes off as one compared to Batman, with her willingness to deal lethal blows to her enemies. Her continuing interactions with Batman apparently makes her draw some lines... except when she blasts Bane.
- True Blue Femininity: In her final scene she wears a blue dress in contrast to the black tones she wore throughout the movie. This represents her 'clean slate' and peaceful life with Bruce.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Selina tries this early only, but Batman tells her no guns. Doesn't stop her from using the Bat-Pod's cannons on Bane.
Selina: About the whole "no guns" thing? I'm not sure I feel as strongly about it as you do.
- Woman in Black: All of Selina's outfits that are shown are dark black, including the catsuit. The one exception is the dress at the end.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Selina can click this on or off like a light switch. In the bar shootout, she shoots two of Bane's men. Seconds later, the SWAT team breaches the front doors, and she immediately starts screaming like a distressed hostage.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Seems to think she's in a Crapsack World Film Noir rather than A World Half Full superhero movie.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: To the extent that they are Arc Words.