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Characters / The Dark Knight Trilogy Other Costumed Characters

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Throughout his superhero career, Batman encounters several costumed characters not affiliated with anyone in particular.

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Dr. Jonathan Crane / The 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?"

Played by: Cillian Murphy

Appears in: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (Cameo), The Dark Knight Rises

"There's nothing to fear, but fear itself! And I'm here to help!"

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 gangly man with a rather homely face; definitely a far cry from Pretty Boy Cillian Murphy.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Usually, he's a university professor before he turned to crime. Here, we first see him as a practicing psychiatrist and court consultant.
  • Badass Bookworm: Until somebody gets an antidote, he is a dangerous scientist with fear toxin.
  • Batman Gambit: 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.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Intends to take Gotham ransom along with Ra's al Ghul, unaware of his cohort's plan to outright destroy the city and is in way over his head with his more dangerous partner.
  • The Cameo: In latter two films.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He tries to apply this logic when confronted by The Chechen over his fear toxins, telling him he's free to find another supplier if he doesn't like his product...before smugly and rhetorically wondering if Batman left anyone else to buy from. It's unclear how the negotiations would have unfolded before the fake Batmans come charging in to break up the confrontation.
  • Cassandra Truth: After gassing him, Batman asks who Crane is working for. Crane says "Ra's al Ghul," to which Batman replies, "Ra's al Ghul is dead! Who are you working for?!" Turns out Crane was telling the truth.
  • Composite Character: Though Crane is a psychologist in the comics, his position in Begins as a corrupt psychologist who partakes in secret, unethical, and illegal activity is often a role reserved for fellow Batman rogue Hugo Strange.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A less obvious example than Lucius, but he has his moments.
    Batfake: We're trying to help you!
    Batman: I don't need help!
    Crane: Not my diagnosis!
  • The Dragon: To Ra's al Ghul, spreading his fear toxin to make it easier for his boss to take Gotham.
  • Dragon Their Feet: While Ra's al Ghul is killed at the end of the first movie, Scarecrow remains to have more appearances through the next two films. While he doesn't ever become a major player and has no real grand schemes of his own, he does remain a threat to the citizens of Gotham.
  • 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 you my compound would take you places. I never said they'd be places you wanted to go."
  • Ex-Big Bad: After being joint Big Bad of Batman Begins, he turns up briefly in The Dark Knight as the villain in the film's Batman Cold Open, and then again in non-costumed identity as a minion of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • 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. Even after he goes crazy himself, he still maintains a mostly jovial, smug air.
    • Laughably Evil: In Rises, as he's both calm and smug and his scenes are the highlight of the movie.
  • For Science!: Allegedly.
    "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.
  • Friendly Enemy: Entirely one-sided on his part, but his brief appearance in The Dark Knight has him acting rather chummy towards Batman and he seems more amused than anything at finally getting caught. Or perhaps he was just that amused at the Batman impostors.
  • 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. (Given that ruling is always the same - death - 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.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: During his cameo in The Dark Knight, he holds his own against the Batman impersonators fairly well, and remains entirely calm. When the real Batman shows up, however, he knows to get the hell out of Dodge.
  • 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 ambiguous' 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 straitjacket. The gray and tattered straitjacket, 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.
  • 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.
  • Sadist: It's observed by a few characters that beneath his For Science! facade, he actually gets a kick out of his experiments.
    Crane: "Outside he was a giant. In here, only the mind can grant you power."
    Rachel: "You enjoy the reversal."
  • Sanity Slippage: He was a nut job 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 Joker 

The Joker

Played by: Heath Ledger

Appears in: The Dark Knight

"I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger."

A no-name criminal who 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 and the police. This particular incarnation of the "Clown Prince of Crime" 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.
    • His interaction with Senator Patrick Leahy's character, however, implies he does have legitimate anger toward his father.
      Patrick Leahy: We're not intimidated by thugs.
      The Joker: You know, you remind me of my father. (pulls the guy by the back of his head, and puts a knife to his mouth). I HATED MY FATHER!
  • Adaptational Ugliness: In contrast to his clean, cartoonish appearance in the comics and in other adaptations, The Dark Knight brings forth a Joker with a dirtier, creepier appearance that gets worse over the course of the film.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The Joker was heavily affected by this. He still has a sense of humor, but he loses most of the tools and behavior that made him the audience's collective image of the Joker. Take away the fantastical laughing gas, acid posies, or the general fourth-wall eccentricities that people know him for, and you are left with his psychopathic nature that will use more mundane and unpleasant methods to achieve results. Like making pencils disappear and giving people Glasgow grins. This even applies to his Monster Clown appearance, itself a means for fear: instead of bleached-white skin and a Frozen Face, he applies "war paint"-like makeup over his own Glasgow Grin scars.
    • 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. The Joker has come full circle.
  • All There in the Manual: The Dark Knight Rises novelization 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."
  • Animal Motifs: Dogs roughly, as dogs are unpredictable and prone to go after whatever grabs their attention. When talking to a scarred Dent, the Joker calls himself a "dog chasing cars"; later, Dent refers to him a "mad dog" that the mob unleashed on Gotham. When he escapes Arkham PD, he leans out of the car window like a dog would. He even picks up a cadre of Rottweilers in time for the film's climax while questioning their loyalty. It's also symbolism for how he becomes the "alpha dog" in the criminal underworld of Gotham, practically decimating all the mob heads of the city by himself.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Batman, even stating that they were meant to fight each other forever.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's a sadistic, homicidal Mad Bomber, and a Cloudcuckoolander with an extremely warped viewpoint of human nature. When he's searched by the police, they find a whole lot of things that are already knives, and all his actions are motivated by an unbridled taste for doing evil.
    Joker: "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?"
  • Badass Longcoat: Tailored and purple. And, "It wasn't cheap. You oughta know, you [the mob's stolen money] bought it!". He's also a master planner who works without rules and is able to bring the city to its knees with just a few well-placed moves and some bullets hitting the right people.
  • Badass Normal: Compared to Batman's near mystical training from the League of Shadows, the Joker's physical prowess is considerably more conventional. Despite this, he comes out on top of every physical confrontation except against the Batman, such as easily overpowering Gambol's bodyguard, and subduing Detective Stephens and (an admittedly hospitalized) Harvey Dent on separate occasions. This indicates considerable skills or prior training on the Joker's part.
  • Bad Boss: The Joker, as Bozo, makes the clowns kill each other for money in the opening bank robbery and offs the survivor himself. Also his idea of "tryouts" with Gambol's associates to join him, which involves breaking a pool cue into a couple of wooden shivs and leaving them to fight each other to the death over "one open slot".
  • 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 by looking up a tip based on a print he found on a bullet from the scene of the Joker's previous victims. At 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' skin when he does it, and he has Chechen fed to his own dogs when he does it.
    • He's also pretty good at pressing other people's buttons as well. He knew Batman would go berserk after he told him he has Rachel hostage. He pressed Stephen's when he insulted the friends he personally killed. He deliberately "forgot" Rachel's name to piss Harvey off, and he insulted Gambol's grandmother, causing him to order a hit on him.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Played with. Everyone thinks he's just a freak in clown makeup or a low-level nobody, and the Joker is perfectly content with allowing them to believe that. He speaks slowly and deliberately and moves with an odd, jerky posture that hides how physically capable he actually is. That is, until all hell breaks loose and The Joker enacts his real plan.
  • Big Bad: Of the second movie.
  • Blatant Lies: "Do I really look like a guy with a plan?" The implied answer is a lie: this man is as organized as David Xanatos himself. Gordon furiously admits as much when he's notified of his breakout from the GCPD'S Major Crimes Unit ("The Joker planned to be caught! He wanted me to lock him up in the MCU!").
    • Though it could be an Exact Words twist; his means can be complicated or manipulative but they usually boil down to "Attack Its Weak Point"—steal the Mob's money, kill a man's lover, etc. He doesn't just plan—he can also look at his enemy's plan and turn it on itself.
  • 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. In addition, many of the Joker's crimes are done in broad daylight, while Batman was specifically created to be most frightening to criminals during the night.
  • 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." He is definitely one of the most mature and serious examples of this type of character in fiction.
  • Catchphrase: While he gets several memorable lines throughout the movie, the one that would best fit this trope is the question, "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 if he talks a lot. Given his Glasgow Grin scars, it's not a surprising behavioral trait.
    • 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. After seeing him do it a few times with the full make-up and finding it seriously creepy, Nolan and his team decided to 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 clown makeup. The longer he spends onscreen, the more it wears off. Most noticeable when he is in custody.
  • The Chessmaster: As much as 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)
    The Joker: I believe, whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you... (removes his mask, revealing his make-up and scars) stranger.
  • 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 alone 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 doesn't fight fair. 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 disappointed when, even after everything he's done, Batman still won't kill him.
  • Composite Character: He has elements from several incarnations of the Joker from other sources of media; he has the mob connections of Tim Burton's version and the nihilism of the The Killing Joke's incarnation. His Darker and Edgier presentation mimics the incarnation from the Joker graphic novel, and his use of a bomb-filled warehouse to kill one of Batman's loved ones is a nod to A Death in the Family.
  • 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.
    • His skill with lies is in the grafting of incredibly painful truth with very subtle but important fallacies. For example:
    The Joker: "Don't worry! I'm gonna tell you where they are - both of 'em. And that's the point: you'll have to choose. . . . He's at 250/52nd Street, aaaaand she's, uh, on Avenue Ex, at Cicero."
  • 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, assuming he broke out somehow. We don't really know, and there's a 50-50 chance that we probably never will.
  • Cop Killer: He kills multiple law enforcement officers throughout the film, including poisoning Police Commissioner Loeb, and uses the responsive anger within 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 more so than Batman. What's most impressive is that the Joker can be this without Batman's functionally limitless cash (which likely would have gone up in smoke).
    The Joker: Look what I did to this city with just a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: His pitch fluctuates throughout the movie, but whenever he's joking or mocking someone, he puts on a very nasally voice to do it, only succeeding in making him look more unstable and dangerous.
  • Darker and Edgier: Heath Ledger's Joker is the most openly cruel, violent, and narcissistic version of the character across all media. Mark Hamill noted that he was "joyless" without any of his Laughably Evil showmanship. Compared to superhero films in general, he's a villain who takes the garish get-up and motifs of a costumed bad-guy and makes it deadly serious and scary in a way that other films in the genre never quite manage to accomplish.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Maybe. Maybe not. But there's certainly a story behind those scars, and it couldn't have been pretty.
  • 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, but he still exhibits self-preservation occasionally (even by actions as simple as holding back the hammer of a revolver). Perhaps he just wants to die an amusing death.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: He is an expert in psychological manipulation and strategy though his only motivation is chaos for the sake of it.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: He has no Start of Darkness and no confirmed 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.
  • Do Wrong, Right: A rare instance of this tropes not being played for laughs. The Joker looks down the Mob as an inferior class of criminal for their focus on crime for the sake of money, as opposed to For the Evulz.
  • 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.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Offers his services to the mob, though it's quite clear he can force them to do as he wishes and is only using their resources to fight Batman, whom he sees as a Worthy Opponent. Between his dangerous insanity and intelligence, The Joker is clearly more threatening than his employers and as soon as he turns on them, they're crushed.
  • Dramatic Unmask: "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger."
    • Is quite put out when his attempt to do this to Batman gets interrupted.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Inverted. He believes the Mob to be an inferior class of criminal, because they actually care for things beyond committing crimes just for the sake of committing crimes (like money).
    • He mocks this when he mentions how Batman didn't stop Harvey Dent from being arrested after claiming to be the Batman, even saying: "even to a guy like me, that's cold". He's obviously trolling.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Zigzagged. His "social experiment" failed, because regular Gothamites were too decent to make the choice he expected them to make, which Batman assumes is proof that the Joker doesn't really understand normal people. Yet it's unclear how much the Joker really cared about how his "experiment" would turn out, because it was arguably just a Kansas City Shuffle designed to give Harvey time to go on his vigilante spree. But then that part of his plan also failed because it didn't occur to Joker that Batman would be willing to martyr himself and destroy his own reputation just to give people hope.
  • 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—bah, it's gone."
  • Evil Laugh: He's the freaking Joker. He also performs a very odd false laugh when he gatecrashes the mob's meeting.
  • 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 town 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 Plan: He's such a liar that 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.
    The Joker: 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...bah, it's gone. Oh, and by the way, the suit? It wasn't cheap. You oughta know, you bought it!
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Joker maintains a jovial demeanor in any given situation. Despite this, he has no conscience nor empathy, caring nothing for anyone else and will kill and maim if it serves his purpose, objectively or entertainingly.
  • 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.
  • Foil: A version of the Joker to meet this version of Batman.
    • Similar to Batman, he is willing to use people's fears to turn fear on to those who prey on the fearful (Batman targets the Mob, Joker targets Batman), plans ahead and seems prepared for whatever could happen. Unlike Batman, he doesn't have fancy gadgets or a tight network of friends.
    • They both keep their identities hidden, but where Batman uses it to protect his loved ones, Joker uses it as part of his "horrifying image". Batman became an dark urban legend, while Joker became a sheer force of terror.
  • 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, but we do know one thing: the scars on his face are implied to be real, and he got them somehow - that the experience that gave him them was anything less than traumatic is unbelievable.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Considered a small time hood by Batman at the start of the movie. The remaining acts see him rise. Both Batman and the Mob at first saw him as a nobody, but they clearly underestimated him as he became one of Gotham's greatest threats in a matter of days.
    • 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.
  • The Gadfly: In true Joker fashion. When meeting the Mob it takes him less than a minute to start mocking them. He always doubles down on the people whose skin he gets under the most, including Gambol and Stephens.
  • Glasgow Grin: Has one, and puts them on some of his victims.
  • Guttural Growler: "Look at me... LOOK AT ME!" or "Come on, hit me! HIT ME!" Apart from that, he uses a nasal voice.
  • 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 the Real Monsters: 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: All that evil laughing at his evil deeds; it has more impact by how sparingly he uses it.
  • Hypocrite: See Consummate Liar: he claims to be proving the futility of imposing plans and order on the world - except virtually everything he does is meticulously planned, complete with backups. A good example is when he gives Dent the chance to shoot him. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that, despite his claims of giving Dent a choice, he's holding back the hammer of the gun (to keep it from firing).
  • Interim Villain: Unlike the other Big Bads before and after this film, there is no evidence that connects him to the League of Shadows in any shape or form, the latter of which is arguably the Greater-Scope Villain of the entire trilogy. Yet he is undoubtedly the most damaging example of the trope, notably leading Batman to take the blame for Dent's murders and go missing for years, until the events of Rises take place.
    • Nolan originally planned on bringing Joker in the third part, but Ledger's death made him change his plans, and it's likely he would have played a much bigger role if things had been different.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Almost any time that he warns the authorities about what he's going to do next, it's because their attempt to stop him will give him an opening to do something else.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Taken both figuratively and literally - although not explicitly shown for obvious reasons, when he sics Chechen's attack dogs on Batman in the final act leading up to the ferry incident, he quickly loses his patience and begins savagely beating both Batman and the dogs indiscriminately.
    • He has his men switch clothes with the hostages and put tape on their hands while holding guns, so that the police would be forced to shoot them, and decide to go to a building with a lot of large windows so that the snipers could hit them easily. This whole part was unnecessary for the Joker's plan; he did this just to make the entire police force feel guilt for killing innocents without realizing it.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murder of Gambol. Later on, he also murders the 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: Ledger himself openly declared him 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.... bah, 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.
  • 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: 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—it's 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. And you know the thing they have in common? . . . They're cheap."
  • 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.
  • Mugging the Monster: Subverted In-Universe. The Gotham mob bosses initially think Joker's theft is this, with the man at the bank declaring that the Joker is "dead." They eventually realize that the monster mugged them.
  • 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.
  • Mouthing the Profanity: After Batman fails to mow him down on the street, he mouths "fuck".
  • Multiple-Choice Past: As is the case, he has several stories about how he got the scars on his face. This being a reference to The Killing Joke, the Trope Namer.
    • 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. While the real reason remains a mystery, the scars on his face are implied to be real, and he got them somehow - that the experience that gave him them was anything less than traumatic is unbelievable.
  • Mythology Gag: The use of play cards as his calling cards, but also done on a meta level when Batman dismisses Joker as a clown and not a real threat. This signals to the audience that Batman's made a fatal error.
  • 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 had originally intended.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His mannerisms seem to be at least partly based on John Lydon.
  • 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. More impressive by not needing a "clean slate" to go incognito, like the one Selina Kyle would try to obtain eight years later.
  • Noodle Implements: His collection of knives as the evidence handler arranges them. Knife, knife, knife, potato peeler. Even the handler has a Double Take.
  • Not Afraid to Die: He's completely unfazed by the prospect of death, especially if it means tarnishing the Batman. 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...
    • Going further, everything about The Joker's appearance is meant to both disturb, yet mask his lethal nature. His hired goons liken his make-up to "war paint", he buys an expensive (custom-made!) overcoat that he proceeds to pack with knives and grenades, and even his physicality is informed by this - he usually walks with a hunched, loping gait that hides just how quick he can actually be.
  • 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.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Downplayed Trope. His character-defining theatrics, while still present, goes nowhere near the levels seen in other medias. His wears a custom suit, paints his face, uses a two-tone automatic Glock, and once in a while he does something crazy like hanging a fake Batman from a noose, but things that go into the realm of silliness like the "Bang" pistol he is seen using a few times in other medias are not present. He's more of a "practical Joker".
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: As he put it, "Do I look like a guy with a plan?" He's pretty clearly not stable, but he's not the completely random loon he presents himself as.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: When it suits his needs he's capable of convincing the likes of Harvey Dent that he's just a "mad dog" out to kill people. Obviously a Blatant Lie, given his masterful planning and Batman Gambit usage.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The Joker's motivation for putting a hit out on Coleman Reese was not wanting Batman's identity to be revealed and thus lose his Worthy Opponent. His killing off of Gambol and The Chechen can be seen as this too.
  • 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.
  • Outside-Context Problem: No one saw The Joker coming. Not the police, not the Mob, and certainly not the Batman. Gordon drops a bit of foreshadowing at the end of Batman Begins, when he worries about escalation within the criminal underground (back when The Joker was merely a thief with a flair for theatrics) but until the clown knocks off a Mafia-run Bank at the beginning of The Dark Knight, no one takes him seriously.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In order to keep up with the film's realistic approach, this version of the Joker doesn't have permanently bleached skin and green hair. Instead, he achieves his Monster Clown appearance through makeup and hair dye.
    Happy: So why do they call him the Joker?
    Dopey: I heard he wears makeup.
    Happy: Makeup?
    Dopey: Yeah, to scare people. Y'know, war paint.
  • 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 mob's employ for long. Also, he doesn't care for the money.
  • "Psycho" Strings: The Joker's theme motif is the sound of plucking violin strings with a razor blade.
  • 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 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.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The Joker robs a mob bank, then calmly walks into a meeting of the gangsters he stole from and proposes they give him half their earnings if he kills Batman.
    • "Oh, by the way: The suit, it wasn't cheap. I mean, you oughta know, you bought it!"
  • 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.
  • Sinister Switchblade: With the exception of his shoe knife and his potato peeler, all of his blades are out-the-front automatic knives.
  • Sissy Villain: The Joker is costumed, full of makeup, wears drag for a large chunk of the film to carry out his evil plans, and giggles hammily.
  • 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 Social Expert: 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 Sociopath: Like most versions of the Joker. He's devoid of compassion, morals, limits, mercy, and remorse. He'll manipulate people like nobody's business and is willing to kill and endanger hundreds of people while terrorizing millions more, all with a smile on his face.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Joker is a self-proclaimed "Agent of Chaos"; he really doesn't plan (or so he claims to Dent), he just looks at his enemies' plans and attacks the weak point that causes the most chaos - though the means he uses are often complicated, the goals is usually just "Attack Its Weak Point". He's not a planner, he's an anti-planner.
    Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just... do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. When I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth. It's the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets.
  • 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 already, 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! And you know the thing they 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". Plus, the MO behind his "social experiment" is to prove people are bad at heart. For example: he has his men switch clothes with the hostages and put tape on their hands while holding guns, so that the police would be forced to shoot them, unaware they just killed innocents without them realizing it. While this was unnecessary for the Joker's plan, he did this just to make the entire police force feel remorse for it, as part of his scheme to prove everyone is Not So Different from him and that people are cruel beneath their goody-goody exteriors.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: How he convinces Harvey to give into madness, and how he hopes to corrupt Batman too.
    Joker: Come on...! Do it! I want you to do it! Hit me! HIT MEEEEE!
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: He can go from something slightly higher than a whisper to snarling threats in a second.
  • 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.
  • Troll: As noted above in Berserk Button, he loves pushing people's buttons like Gambol and Batman. The terrifying thing is that he uses it as another weapon in his arsenal: he alternates from doing it just because he can, to manipulating people by using their own anger against them, all while sprinkling half-truths and full lies to make it all the more confusing as well as infuriating. By the time you figure out whether he is just taking the piss or if he is telling the true, you've most likely already fell right into his trap.
  • 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: He espouses a moral version of this in regards to himself and Batman, describing it using this very metaphor. While Batman will never be corrupted by the Joker into breaking his Rule #1 (incorruptible spirit), the Joker will never be stopped by anything less (endless mayhem). Thus, stalemate. "I think you and I are destined to do this forever."
  • Verbal Tic: He tends to stutter, draw out his words and insert "uh" into pretty much every other sentence.
  • Villain Has a Point: When he tells Batman that Gotham will cast him out the moment they no longer need him, because to them, he's just another 'freak' like The Joker.
  • 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. 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: "Ohhhh, you... You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You...truly are...incorruptible, aren't you?"
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Briefly dresses up as a female nurse, complete with wig, to get into Gotham General Hospital—and to a mentally-fragile Dent. It's shown when he shoots a guard who finds "her" while looking for another guard who failed to check in through radio (doubtless also the Joker's work).
  • Villainous Rescue: In a way. Joker's intervention is what prevents Coleman Reese from exposing Batman's identity. Not that Batman wanted the help since it involved a hospital being blown up.
  • Villainous Underdog: Batman is a billionaire McNinja, against whom Joker uses his personality and his intelligence. He gloats about how cheaply and quickly he brought the city down to its knees.
  • 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: That suit he wears is stylish, custom made and very expensive.
  • 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. In his own words, "I don't wanna kill you. What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no. No, you... You. Complete. Me."
  • You Remind Me of X: "You remind me of my father. I hated my father."
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: It might not be obvious until you count them all, but he dismisses so many things as "little" that it's practically another Catchphrase.
  • 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.
    • More generally, because his only apparent goal is to create chaos, he 'wins' even when he loses as long as he's managed to make the world seem less orderly and predictable.


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."
"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne."

Played by: Anne Hathaway

Appears in: The Dark Knight Rises

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 Rises, 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 Distillation: The "sultry dominatrix" aspect typically associated with most iterations of Catwoman have either been downplayed or entirely removed (such as the forgoing of her signature whip), in favor of emphasizing her characterization as a classy master jewel thief.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Anne Hathaway keeps her normal brunette hair color here, which is different from the pure black (sometimes blonde) 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 safe-cracking 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 whatever 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 Biker/Biker Babe: In the climax, Selina commandeers the Batpod, when she is commissioned by Batman to dismantle the blockades surrounding Gotham. She then silently considers her options before heading back into the city, using its cannons to blast Bane and save Batman.
  • Battle Couple: Shades of it with Batman in the climax.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Selina drops this line verbatim when she confronts Daggett shortly after Bane's attack on the Stock Exchange.
    • Later indirectly turned on her. After 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. And it won't be pretty.
  • 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 few seconds to suck face before he departs.
  • 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 preference to guns and lethal force in combat in contrast to Batman's one rule, which would've allowed 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: Naturally.
  • 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 with her theif outfit. 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 and the city.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Selina knows 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:
    1. She seduces a Congressman who was leching over her at the Harvey Dent Day party (which isn't too hard for her).
    2. 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.
    3. When this happens, Selina pulls a cell phone out of her purse and tells Stryver to hit the send button.
    4. 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.
    5. 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-day society.
  • 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.
    • There's also Selina and Bruce's Snark-to-Snark Combat while dancing.
  • Domino Mask: Selina's safe-cracking goggles functions as one. It's not meant to hide her facial features or her hair so much as it serves as eye protection. The goggles also serve as useful eye protection while riding the Batpod. There's also her domino mask from the masquerade ball.
  • 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.
    "You trust me with that? After what I did to you?"
  • 11th-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 utterly break the Batman. Who wouldn't, given that the second 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 towards the rich that formerly she used to justify stealing from are changing. It also helps that given the last few months, she's seen that corruption is not exclusive to Gotham's elite—with the addition of Bane and his men.
    • Also happens to be a Friend to All Children, when she takes out two gang-bangers 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. Selina is a more obvious version of the trope, however, in contrast to Miranda Tate/Talia Al Ghul, who plays the trope far straighter and more subtly as a modern-day Femme Fatale, with almost-fatal results.
  • 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 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 kid being mugged by street thugs he'd stolen from, and warns him against stealing from those he can't outrun.
  • Gaussian Girl: Inverted. Selina is not introduced with a romantic blur, but the last shot of her gives her one.
  • Genius Bruiser: From safe-cracking 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 not Bruce Wayne's hired muscle (as she had assumed), but is Bruce Wayne himself—thanks to what Bane says in their 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.
    Batman: To start it, you throttle—
    (Batpod engine roars to life; Batman tilts his head in a "yeah , like that" manner)
    Selina: I got it.
  • 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. See Pet the Dog.
  • 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 thrown for a loop when Bane reveals Batman's secret identity, and more so when Bane goes to town on him, leaving Gotham's "dark knight" out of commission and the city at the League's mercy. While Bruce later points out that her apologizing "wouldn't suit you", it's clear that Selina regretted her actions and only betrayed the Batman to make sure that Bane didn't kill her.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Becomes this by the climax of the movie.
  • Last Girl Wins: She's the last of Bruce's love interests that he meets, and the one he ultimately ends up with.
  • Little Black Dress: Selina wears one to the bar meeting 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: Selina obtaining Bruce Wayne's fingerprints (and his mother's necklace) slowly rouses the billionaire from his self-imposed seclusion from the world. Later, a shootout caused by Selina's abduction of the Congressman leads to Gordon discovering Bane's lair in the sewers.
  • 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 used 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. Bruce doesn't seem to think so.
  • 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 coming from "the Cat", ironically enough.
    • When a kid is being mugged by the thugs he'd taken an apple from, she puts the hurt on the crooks before they would otherwise hurt the kid. She then gives the kid back his apple (minus one bite) and some advice:
      "Never steal from someone you can't outrun, kid."
    • 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). Bruce can tell that she isn't really sorry, judging by the cheerful "No, you're not" that he leaves her with. It's the thought that counts.
    • Helping Batman, Fox, and the GCPD in their fight against Bane, including saving Batman from Bane and taking out the hostile Tumblers protecting the convoy.
  • 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 Stryver's 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?"
  • Second Love: To Bruce
  • Sensual Spandex: Selina's catsuit.
  • Sexy Cat Person: Just like any incarnation of Catwoman.
  • 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 a 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 Batpod'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 Batpod's cannons on Bane.
    Selina: About the whole "no guns" thing? I'm not sure I feel as strongly about it as you do.
  • 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. She slowly comes around, though.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: To the extent that this trope name have become her Character Arc Words.
    Selina: I'm opening that tunnel, then I'm gone.
    Batman: There's more to you than that.

Alternative Title(s): The Dark Knight Saga Other Costumed Characters


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