I've seen The Dark Knight movie few years ago. Only once. I didn't get the story properly. I haven't read any of the Batman's comics.

In The Dark Knight, (SPOILER)

I think Joker told at some point that whatever happening to Gotham City is Batman's fault.

I just finished playing Batman: Arkham City. Near the end of the story, (SPOILER)

Hugo Strange again stated that for all the crimes in Arkham City, Batman is responsible. In response, Batman remained silent.

So, why do Batman's villains blame Batman for all the crimes?

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    To be fair, most of them are sociopaths.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 17:16

5 Answers 5


The other answer, by Mario, is close, but not quite on.

It's wanting to deny responsibility for one's actions. I saw this all the time when I worked in treatment. The teens I worked with would do something blatantly illegal and then blame the cops for catching them. While I was teaching, so the counseling end wasn't directly my job, I was still supposed to support the social workers, so I'd say, "Didn't you know what you were doing was illegal?" They'd have to say, "Yes," yet, instead, they'd always do a "Yes, but..." and rationalized it. Sometimes they'd say, "We weren't hurting anyone, so they didn't have to stop us..."

Adults do the same thing. Everyone sees him or herself as the measure of good in the Universe. We all see ourselves as doing what's right, and if it's not normally considered right, we rationalize it. ("I had to rob the bank. How else could I pay for my Lotus Esprit?" - And, yes, there are people on record with such attitudes.)

When one is caught doing something bad, which one knows they'll get in trouble for, a weaker or sick mind will try to rationalize it and say, "You made me do it," or put the blame on a third party.

It's just because the person is now caught and can't accept that they're the ones in the wrong.

In Psych 101 classes, you might hear it called denial with some projection.

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    It's also worth noting that Batman often has some kind of involvement in his villain's development. Batman and The Red Hood explains why the Joker blames batman, of course Batman isn't solely responsible, but he was there. Batman is a dark hero, and he often will treat whatever involvement he has as reason to blame himself. Commented May 5, 2012 at 20:48
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    And above all, weakness blames strength for its weakness. Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:45
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    This answer is interesting, but I don't think it's right. See Arkham Asylum (the comic) where the inmates suggest Batman belongs in there with them. Batman is a psychotic vigilante who dresses up like an animal to beat criminals up. While it's true he fights "for good", in inflicting terror and unchecked vigilantism on his enemies, he forces them to escalate their crimes with similar tactics. The more like a bat he behaves, the more the Joker will behave like a killer clown, or the Penguin like a deranged bird.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 19:25
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    @AndresF. I remember that arc. They put Batman on Trial, and actually found him not guilty, by dint of them all being psychopaths even without Batman - possibly even giving a reason for Batman's continued existance...and in keeping with their psychopathy, decided to carry out his execution anyway.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 16:58
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    @jpmc26 Agreed, they don't have to commit crimes. But a Watchmen-inspired deconstruction of Batman must point out that he himself is a psychotic masked vigilante, "fighting fire with fire". Batman's enemies are crazy murderers, yes, but with his chosen method of fighting crime he is only escalating the situation. There are arguably more effective and less deranged ways to control/reduce crime than dressing up in a bat costume and punching individual criminals ;)
    – Andres F.
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 22:49

WRT "The Dark Knight", Batman changed the balance between the criminals and the legal system. This forced the criminals to extreme actions and so makes Batman responsible for this.

Also the Joker is mad and would say whatever would cause the largest amount of chaos. :)

  • "Batman changed the balance between the criminals and the legal system" - can you please elaborate?
    – Donotalo
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 10:52
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    <Speculation alert>Batman being outside the system, does not have to follow the rules. There are no checks on him. He can get away with things the regular police cannot. Eg: He can torture information out of a suspect. While the criminals can successfully fight the system, their usual methods, like bribery, would not work with batman. </Speculation alert>
    – Bharat B
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 10:56
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    @Donotalo: there's a great elaboration at the end of Batman Begins, where Gordon talks about escalation. Batman squeezes crime harder, with fear and theatricality, so crime squeezes back harder, with the Joker. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 10:10
  • I'm pretty sure that making all public servants to accept bribes would not reduce the crime, @BharatB
    – Ángel
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 0:38

Batman Begins

Gordon: What about escalation?

Batman: Escalation?

Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.

Batman: And?

Gordon: And, you're wearing a mask. Jumping off rooftops. Now, take this guy. Armed robbery, double homicide, has a taste for the theatrical, like you.

The Dark Knight

Bruce: I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.

Alfred: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed and hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.

And then

Joker: I had a vision, of a world without Batman. The mob ground out a little profit and the police tried to shut them down, one block at a time. And it was so...boring.

And later

Joker: What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, no, no. You...you...complete me.

Batman has disrupted the status quo. He's pushed some criminals to the point of desperation, and become an inspiration/challenge to other criminals like the Joker.

When you fight, the enemy fights back. Evil fights good. Great evil fights great good. Especially if they both wear costumes.


The speech by Gordon right at the end of Batman Begins pretty much sums this up (at least for Nolan’s interpretation of Batman): “escalation”.

Batman dresses up in a bat costume, drives a tank, commits violence, incites fear, and answers to no-one. As @BharatB points out, he goes further and harder than the police could.

Without him doing that, would his costumed villains be inspired to do what they do? Would Bane have come to Gotham if not for Batman? Would the Joker have gone to the lengths he did to create chaos if Batman wasn’t there as a contrasting force for order?

Have more innocent people been hurt or killed due to the fight between Batman and the bad guys being fiercer than the old fight between the cops and the mob?

Have they, Batman?!?!?

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    This. I was reading through answers looking for the word "escalation," hoping it hadn't been used yet so I could use it! I think it really is that simple. The good guys (if you'll allow me to put Bats in that category) escalate in symbolic power, skill, tech, and achievement, and so the bad guys escalate the same. And, it says something about the ambiguity of Gotham---on the one hand, it spat forth Batman as a response to its degeneracy; on the other hand, it spat for Joker (and Penguin, and Harvey, etc.) as a response to Batman's order and justice.
    – FoxMan2099
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 15:15
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    @FoxMan2099: indeed, like the city itself resisting attempts to make it a safer place. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 16:10
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    +1000 This. If you have read the comic "Arkham Asylum", the Joker suggests Batman belongs in the asylum with the rest of the inmates. It's hard to deny it, what with Bruce dressing up like a goddamn bat in order to beat up thugs.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 19:29
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    @Paul D. White---exactly; almost like the city itself is an entity (metaphorically of course), something beyond good and evil and having its own self interests. It has a personality, so to speak :)
    – FoxMan2099
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 20:01
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    To be fair, Nolan's version of Ra's Al Ghul was going to destroy Gotham even if Batman hadn't been there, and Bane arguably only came to Gotham because the Shadow League's previous plans to destroy it had been thwarted. That's a lot of people who didn't die specifically because Bruce Wayne started dressing up as a bat and punching people. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 14:30

Psychological Warfare - IMO it's just the same as in other superhero stories, especially if innocent people die (and the antagonists aren't of the "I just want to kill" type; but sometimes even then). "Look, they're dead, and it's all your fault disturbing me, so better don't do it again and let me do whatever I want."

Or slightly different: Without anyone trying to stop them, they could e.g. just take the money and be happy. But due to someone trying to stop them (Batman, police, people trying to protect their stuff), they have to resort to weapons, bombs, etc. (okay, the Joker would most likely do it anyway, but I think my point is clear.)

  • Out of curiosity, do the mentally ill ones that resort to harming others during the committing of crimes due to their own psychological issues, even if they don't actually need to, fall under the "I just want to kill" label? Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 18:39

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