Soaring through the skies and searching for clues may seem fun, but Batman has an incredibly hard life. After his parents were gunned down in front of him as a child, Bruce Wayne completely reshaped himself into a hard, crime-fighting machine. Over his long career, Batman has stopped numerous bad guys and even saved the world countless times. But, at the end of the day, he has also failed numerous times and had to endure certain amounts of physical and psychological torture. Not only have audiences seen Batman beaten down by mafia members, but he’s also been humiliated by Superman numerous times on the big screen.
In all the comic books, various games, TV shows and movies the Caped Crusader has starred in, he constantly puts himself in harm’s way to do the right thing. No matter what, Batman is fine sacrificing his body and mind if it means he can save one person. Part of what makes the character so inspiring is the fact that he has no problem taking on great discomfort or anguish if it means something good will come out of his actions. Turn on the Bat Signal and come read about the 15 worst things that happened to Batman on screen!
15. SHARK ATTACK
In the classic Adam West Batman film, the Dynamic Duo fights a team of their greatest foes. Everyone from The Joker to Catwoman makes an appearance as Batman’s rogues gallery tries to take him down once and for all. Despite the fact all the villains were working as a team, it was something else that almost took down the bat in the 1966 film.
As Robin flies the Bat-Copter, Batman dangles underneath it from a rope ladder. Slowly climbing up the ladder, Batman is attacked by a shark that launches right out of the water. The great white is gnawing at Batman’s leg and his punches aren’t doing anything to pry the beast loose. Luckily, he always keeps some shark repellent in the Bat-Copter and was able to escape the situation.
14. TRUTH ABOUT HIS FATHER
In most Batman stories, his parents are considered saints within Gotham. As members of the prestigious Wayne family, both Thomas and Martha used their influence for positive change in the city and inspired their son to help other people. A successful surgeon and proud businessman, Thomas was idolized by his young son.
The Telltale Batman game completely changes Thomas Wayne’s background. Instead of depicting him as a good person, the game revealed that Wayne had connections to mob boss Carmine Falcone and the city’s corrupt mayor Hamilton Hill. Wayne was ruthless in his thirst for more power and would launder money, hire hitmen and even falsely convict people and lock them in Arkham. It turns out his cruel decisions in the past led to the Children of Arkham’s attack on Gotham and the revelations completely shattered Bruce.
13. FIGHTING HIS OWN SON
To put it mildly, Batman has a complicated relationship with Ra’s al Ghul. The global terrorist and head of the League of Assassins has crossed swords with the Caped Crusader multiple times, but he also happens to be the grandfather of Batman’s son. While Damian Wayne ultimately walks away from the League and decides to become Robin, he still has a lot of the aggression and killer instincts his grandfather bestowed upon him.
In the Batman Vs. Robin animated film, Robin’s killer instincts were put to the test. Talon, a mysterious killer who works for the Court of the Owls, convinces Robin that his brutal crime-fighting habits are the right way to do things and even invites him along on a few street missions. Unable to see that he is being manipulated by the organization, Robin chooses to fight his own father instead of allowing him to confront Talon.
12. MANIPULATED TO COMPETE FOR IVY’S LOVE
After Dick Grayson’s parents are murdered during their circus performance, Bruce Wayne takes the young boy in and slowly integrates him into his lifestyle. While he tries to keep his nightly activities a secret at first, Grayson is able to figure things out and starts snooping around the Bat Cave. Batman is supposed to train Robin how to be a crime-fighter, but in Batman and Robin, the dynamic duo is manipulated into fighting each other.
As a result of Poison Ivy’s seductive powers, Batman and Robin argue and try to one-up each other in a battle for Ivy’s affections. The scene is meant to be humorous, but it spills into embarrassing territory when Batman pulls out a special Bat-Credit Card and offers Ivy anything she wants. Luckily, Ivy’s powers eventually wear off and the heroes are able to return to their senses before getting into a full-blown fight.
11. GOTHAM BECOMES A WAR ZONE
After Bane runs Batman out of Gotham City in The Dark Knight Rises, he completely reshapes the city. Bane publicly murders the mayor and sets the inmates of Blackgate Prison free to wreak havoc on the city. With no one able to stop him, Bane takes over the city and scares the federal government out of trying to take him down.
Batman eventually rebuilds his body and escapes the pit Bane left him in to find Gotham City in ruins. Luckily, Gordon is still alive and leading a group of rebels to try and retake the city, but the villains have them on the run. At the end of the day, the only way to save Gotham is a full-blown war in the streets that ends with Batman seemingly sacrificing himself while taking a nuclear bomb out of the city.
10. DEATH OF THE WAYNES
Even though Batman’s origin story is known by both hardcore and casual fans of the character, every film or TV show he is in makes a point of recreating the death of his parents. Whether he saw an opera like he did in Batman Begins or a showing of The Mask of Zorro like in Justice League Unlimited, young Bruce Wayne loses his parents in Crime Alley after a lovely evening together.
The iconic imagery of his mother’s white pearls on the dirty ground serves as a metaphor for the transformation Bruce goes through in order to rebuild his life. At the time, everything was going perfectly for him and he was happy with his life, but after his parents are murdered in front of him, he loses interest in fancy clothes and he slowly hardens himself into the dark, vengeful hero audiences know.
9. EVIL GIRLFRIEND
In order to find a little bit of peace in his dark, action-filled life, Bruce Wayne sometimes dips his toes into the dating game. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, shows Wayne striking up a relationship with a woman named Andrea Beaumont before he fully becomes Batman. It’s only Beaumont’s decision to ditch her fiance and run away from Gotham City that gives Wayne the final push to become Batman.
Years later, Beaumont returns to the city and tries to strike up another relationship with her former lover. Unfortunately, it turns out that Beaumont has been dressing up as the Phantasm, a silent-killer who has been taking down people formerly associated with her father. As if fighting the Joker isn’t hard enough, learning that one of his greatest loves turned into a vengeful killer is an emotionally taxing experience for the Caped Crusader.
8. DOSED WITH FEAR TOXIN
Out of all of Batman’s dastardly foes, only one of them has the ability to directly manipulate Batman’s fears. After being severely bullied as a child, Jonathan Crane grows up obsessed with the power of fear. Later in his life, as he works as a practicing psychologist, he forces his patients into various fear-inducing experiments and even develops a serum that makes the recipient’s biggest fears bubble up to the surface of their mind.
In both Batman Begins and the various Arkham games, Scarecrow doses Batman with his fear toxin when he is vulnerable. In addition to suffering vicious hallucinations, Batman doesn’t have total control over his body, meaning he is more susceptible to being badly injured by whatever nefarious trap Scarecrow has waiting for him.
7. JUSTICE LEAGUE
Some readers may not like it, but Justice League has the worst depiction of Batman to ever hit the big screen. While Batfleck impressed fans in Batman V. Superman, the character was radically different by the time Justice League came out. The dark, grim version of the character disappeared and Batman is depicted as someone who is constantly cracking jokes. Instead of a brooding genius, Batman is just a rich guy with too much time on his hands.
His personality changes are one thing, but Batman doesn’t even act like a master detective. The film’s opening scene shows him chasing a common criminal and fighting a Parademon. After the demon blows itself up, Batman speaks to Alfred through the communications system in his suit. Instead of sticking with code names, Batman blatantly says Alfred’s name in front of the conscious bad guy, a slip that could potentially give away everything.
6. FAILING RACHEL
No matter how great a hero Batman is, he fails every once in a while. In pretty much every movie or television series featuring Batman, innocent people die as a result of his inability to be everywhere at once. Out of all of this loss, the death of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight hit Bruce Wayne the hardest.
Bruce’s life-long friend and love interest, Rachel is a skilled city attorney who’s unafraid to challenge the city’s corruption. As part of the Joker’s sick games, he kidnaps both Dawes and Harvey Dent. During an intense interrogation sequence, the Joker tells Batman where to find each hostage and that he will only have enough time to save one of them. Unfortunately, the Joker gives Batman the wrong information and he ends up arriving at the warehouse where Dent is being held hostage, meaning he just lost the love of his life.
5. OWN PLANS USED AGAINST HIM
In addition to being a skilled fighter and detective, Batman is also an adept strategist. He may be a regular human being, but with enough prep time Batman can take down anyone in the DC Universe. Batman has plans ready to take down some of the DCU’s most dastardly villains and strongest heroes.
In Justice League: Doom, a rough adaptation of Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” storyline, Ra’s al Ghul accesses Batman’s plans and attacks the Justice League. To distract Batman from realizing what’s going on, Ra’s sends some assassins to ransack the Wayne gravesites. As Bruce struggles to recover his parents, the League members are taken down. Martian Manhunter is lit on fire with a special Magnesium compound and the Flash has a bomb attached to him that will explode if he slows down. The League eventually recovers, but their trust in Batman is never as strong.
4. WATCH HIS BUSINESS COLLAPSE
Man of Steel ends with a huge fight between Zod and Superman. Due to the destructive nature of their Kryptonian powers, numerous skyscrapers were knocked down and cars were smashed across the city. The scene is controversial for the gratuitous amount of destruction, but it plays a vital part in introducing Batman to the DCEU.
The beginning of Batman V. Superman introduces a nice twist on that fight. While the confrontation took place in Metropolis and not Gotham, Bruce Wayne was still directly affected by the incident. As everyone else rushes away from the fight, Bruce runs towards Metropolis’ Wayne Tower and sees the building come down right in front of him. Everyone inside, including the employee he was just talking to on the phone, all died and there was nothing he could have done to save them.
3. BACK BROKEN
To make sure he’s always one step ahead of crime, Batman trains his body to near perfect levels. Avoiding sugar and constantly working out, Bruce Wayne has trained his body to do things most humans couldn’t even imagine.
No matter how prepared Batman is, there is always going to be someone bigger than him. While Batman can usually strategize and out think his opponents, Bane is a whole different type of beast. A product of darkness and struggle, Bane is an incredibly smart, brutal fighter. Batman may be a big guy, but Bane is easily two times his size and has no problem dragging him around like a doll. Based on the classic moment in the “Knightfall” storyline, The Dark Knight Rises shows Bane breaking Batman’s back over his knee and deeming himself the new top-dog in Gotham City.
2. DEATH OF JASON TODD
In his quest to stop crime, Batman has lost a lot of good friends and allies. The loss that has weighed on him the hardest and for the longest amount of time is likely the death of Jason Todd. The second Robin, Todd was arrogant and thought he could handle dangerous situations. Unfortunately, Todd isn’t as capable as he thought he was and is brutally beaten by the Joker in Batman: Under The Red Hood. Batman raced to save him, but by the time he arrived Joker also triggered a bomb that brought the whole warehouse down on top of Robin.
As if losing his sidekick wasn’t hard enough, Under The Red Hood also forces him to fight a reincarnated version of the character. Dressed as the mysterious, murderous Red Hood, Jason has his sights on taking over Gotham’s criminal networks and taking the Joker down once and for all.
1. WATCHING TIM DRAKE’S TORTURE
For the most part, the Bruce Timm led DC Animated Universe was a cheery place. While dark things certainly happened over the years and characters were tested, stories generally stayed on the lighter end of the spectrum. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker flipped the script and gave audiences a truly dark, original story.
Throughout the movie, audiences are slowly cued into the fact that The Joker once kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake, a former Robin. The movie includes a flashback sequence where Joker forces Batman to watch home-video style footage of Joker slowly torturing and converting Tim into a mini Joker. Tim is shown multiple times throughout the film trying to live a normal, blue-collar life in his adult years, but Bruce is never able to forgive himself for failing his former sidekick.
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