THE DARK KNIGHT
|Villain #1: Chaos, the Joker Turns Partner Against Partner and Dog Against Master|
|Villain #2: The Joker|
is an ideological beast that only wants to watch the world burn. While the Dark Knight attempts to provide another check and balance to a broken system, The Joker simply wants to destroy all systems and unleash the id hiding behind everyone's ego and superego. He conceals his identity behind a completely blank paper trail of an existence and constantly lies to his victims about how he got those scars. So The Joker seems obsessed with uncovering the deepest recesses of everyone's identity but his own. And there's no brownie points to be earned with The Joker. If he cannot find a way to corrupt you, he might let you live until he does. But he will eventually kill off anyone and everyone who chooses to work with him.
|Villain #3a: Chechen, Gotham's Russian Crime Boss|
|Villain #3b: Salvatore Maroni, Gotham's Italian Crime Boss|
|Villain #3c: Gambol, Gotham's African-American Crime Boss|
|Villain #4: Lau, C.E.O. of a Chinese Corporation and Mob Money Launderer|
Harvey Dent prosecuted and convicted every money launderer in Gotham, leaving the Crime Bosses to entrust their money with a Chinese foreign national with his own corporation to help justify his frequent excursions to Gotham. The Joker correctly surmises Lau is a slippery white collar criminal who is vulnerable to Batman and will turn state's witness given half a chance. Lau has a fascinating implied back story, because he is clearly the wealthiest criminal that Batman has had to face and he lives in a veritable fortress with police and government protecting him when his guards are insufficient.
|Villain #5: Colman Reese, Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney for Wayne Enterprises|
threatens to blow up a hospital if someone in Gotham does not kill Reese first.
|The Joker Needed to Buy Time to Prepare the Ace Up his Sleeve to Undo All|
the Good Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent did for Gotham
|A Singular Moment of Contrition by One of Bruce Wayne and Batman's Rogues Gallery|
|Villain #6: Glaring Corruption Allowed to Exist Within the System, Police Officers on the Take|
|Villain #6a: Officer Wuertz, Corrupt Cop on Gordon's Special Task Force|
|Villain #6b: Officer Anna Ramirez, Corrupt Cop on Gordon's Task Force|
The Joker strikes out at Batman personally and forces the Caped Crusader to choose one of two lives to save from a fiery explosion: Rachel Dawes or Harvey Dent. District Attorney Harvey Dent was the most necessary component to turning Gotham around and purging the corruption in the system, yet The Joker detected genuine feelings of love and romance in Batman for Rachel Dawes. At the Dent fundraising party The Joker pushed Rachel off a skyscraper and Batman abandoned a large room full of Gotham's elite at risk from The Joker to fling himself after Rachel alone.
The Joker gives Batman just enough time to rescue one of them before the explosives go off, but reverses the addresses of where they are being held. The Joker wants to break Batman's ethical code, provoke him to the point of making him homicidal and kill The Joker in response. He essentially wants to become Kevin Spacey's serial killer character at the end of David Fincher's Seven (1997), whose ultimate philosophical victory is to break his opponent to prove his chaotic philosophy of life correct.
So The Joker reverses the addresses where Batman can find Rachel and Harvey, thereby killing the person Batman cares about most. Batman said he lives by only one rule. In Batman Begins (2005) he demonstrated that that rule is not killing people. And The Joker wants to ensure that by the time this is all over, in some way Batman will feel responsible for the death of the person he cares about most.
|The Joker's Philosophy of Chaos Demands Lose-Lose Scenarios to Drive People Insane|
|The Joker Pulls a 'Seven' on Batman|
|Villain 1: Chaos, The Joker Forces One Boat Full of Gotham Citizens to Eliminate Another One or Both be Destroyed|
This next class of villain is more of an abstract concept that is taking root in several Gotham citizens, namely The Joker's philosophy of chaos. In an attempt to prove that human beings are vicious and selfish by nature, The Joker sets up what he calls "a sociological experiment." The Joker hijacks the controls of two ferries by remote, each filled with Gothamites. One ferryboat is filled with Gotham's most dangerous criminals being transferred from prison. The other ferryboat is filled with everyday civilians. The Joker rigs both ferries to explode and offers the remote detonators to the passengers of each vessel. If anyone attempts to jump off the ferry, The Joker will blow up both boats. If neither boat's passengers makes a decision by midnight, The Joker will trigger both boats to explode.
|Villain 1b: Fearful Mother Riding a Ferry Hijacked by the Joker|
Although not conventional villains, there are three morally challenged ferryboat passengers given particular emphasis during this scene. The first is an average mother, who was simply trying to escape Gotham with her son to avoid getting caught in the very game she now finds herself. When the ferryboat captain with the remote trigger refuses to discuss the possibility of murdering the people on the other ship, this mother helps lead the cause for putting the issue up for a vote. She argues for the sanctity and value of these passengers' lives over that of the prisoners' lives. Like Ramirez before, this mother seems to have some remorse and second thoughts about her rashness when the vote is overwhelmingly in favor of blowing up the boat of prisoners.
|Villain 1c: Fearful Prison Warden Riding a Ferry Hijacked by the Joker|
The next villain is intriguing since his only wrongdoing is that of omission. That is, the prison warden seems like a relatively good and honorable man generally speaking, but when his life is at risk he selfishly keeps the remote trigger in hand in spite of the criminals who will surely wrest control of it when the deadline approaches. In a powerful moment, an intimidating murderer convinces the warden to hand the device over to him for the purpose of triggering it, but throws the remote trigger out the window of the boat instead. In the words of the prisoner, "I'll do what you should have did 10 minutes ago."
|Villain 1d: Coldly Pragmatic Gotham Citizen Riding a Ferry Hijacked by the Joker|
|Villain #7: Harvey "Two-Face" Dent, the Only Thing Fair is Chance...|
|The Joker Wishes to Cause the Ultimate Inversion and for Chaos to Reign|
in the Wake of Gotham's Fallen Hero Going Mad with Revenge
|The Villain Gotham Deserves...|
|... But Not the One it Needs Right Now|