Top 10 Iterations of The Penguin in Batman Films and Shows
The Penguin is by far one of our most favorite characters in the Batman lower, especially since he’s a huge part of the early days of Gotham. Over the years, there have been many different renditions of the Penguin that have graced both the big and small screen, and we’re here to rank which one is the best. So, without further ado, let’s get right into the rankings.
10. The New Scooby-Doo Movies (Ted Knight)
Perhaps the worst version on the list, but it’s worth mentioning because of how funny The Penguin is here, given that he’s featured in a Scooby-Doo and Batman crossover. He’s often seen attempting to commit crimes with The Joker and is caught twice by the gang. Not to mention, Scooby-Doo has been a kid series and it always will be, which is why this version of the Penguin is not really that big of a threat.
In fact, if it was the actual version of the Penguin that we know in love, he would throw the mystery machine in a loop of clues and questions that they wouldn’t be able to answer. However, as it stands, this particular version of the Penguin is still worth a mention due to how funny Ted Knight’s voice acting is and how hilarious this character can get when given the spotlight.
9. Batman: Unlimited (Dana Snyder)
Batman Unlimited showcase is a weird and mechanized version of the Gotham City that we know and love, admit that it comes and eccentric, over the top version of the Penguin that is quite different to what we’ve before. This is a fairly recent rendition of the character, and it’s one that we actually appreciate for doing something new. This Penguin is ruthless, he will lie and cheat his way out of any situation and he dresses in the best way.
The character is present in almost every single one of the Batman Unlimited series films, and he brings an unusual charm to them. While the Batman Unlimited films weren’t the best ones in terms of how Batman animated movies go, the Penguin in those films is truly one to behold.
8. The LEGO Batman Movie (John Venzon)
Love it or hate it, the LEGO Batman movie is absolutely hilarious. Not only is it completely animated with LEGOs, it’s a beautifully funny film with a script so airtight that it can make you laugh with every other joke that it throws your way. While most people believe that The Joker was the best part of this film, the Penguin voice acted by John Venzon was also genuinely hilarious here. The character is a major antagonist in the film, and he has a huge part to play.
This version of the Penguin is lovable yet still untrustworthy enough then you can feel he’s got something bad cooking up. And boy oh boy, does he always have something bad cooking up!
7. Batman 1966 (Burgess Meredith)
The original and iconic first live action adaptation of the Penguin was in Adam West’s 1966 Batman series. this was a much different series than what we’ve come to expect of Batman, instead of being dark and gritty this was groovy and corny, with lots of vibrant colors and disco music. This is why Burgess Meredith fit right in as the Penguin, and gave one of the most iconic renditions of the character.
This version of the Penguin works together with the rest of the Batman villains such as the Riddler, Catwoman and the Joker. they call each other ‘Mr. Penguin’ and ‘Mr. Joker’, which is kind of funny to me. Not to mention, it’s just a hilraious series from beginning to end.
6. Gotham (Robin Lord Taylor)
Now come over diving back into the world of dark Batman adaptations, and what better way to start it off than to begin with Gotham. Gotham is a TV series that spend a bunch of seasons, and it served as a prequel to the Batman franchise, depicting a young version of Bruce Wayne growing up in Gotham City. Now I’ll add wasn’t origin story for the Batman, Gotham is also an origin story for most of, if not all of the Batman villains. The most important of these villains in Gotham the Penguin, played by Robin Lord Taylor.
The series showcases how the Penguin rose to power by overthrowing the Maroni and Falcone crime families, as well as taking down Fish Mooney’s operation. It also shows how much influence he gains within a few years, becoming one of the most powerful people in Gotham’s underworld. Performance by Robin Lord Taylor is absolutely outstanding, he fits the tone of the character in an unsettling and demonic way, it almost feels like a version of the joker come to life. However, he can turn on the charm with the flick of a switch whenever he needs to, hence being the Penguin that we all know and love.
5. The Batman 2022 (Colin Farrell)
Collin Farrell went through hours and hours of prosthetic work before he could begin filming as the Penguin every single day on set. Now, while this was extensive work, was it worth it? Yep! It was totally worth it because Colin Farrell is one of the best actors in the industry who is currently giving his best with every role he takes. This version of the Penguin is essentially a henchman to Falcone, which makes him a dangerous man in Gotham, but nearly not as powerful as the rest of them.
The Batman 2022 serves as an origin story for the villains, while serving as a development story for the Batman. The film showcases the Penguin rising to power by the end of it, but the performance here is what sold us. Farrell is so good as the character, from the dialogue delivery to the way he looks and moves, he embodies the character to perfection.
4. The Batman 2004 (Tom Kenny)
The unusual art style, the offbeat character design and the otherworldly versions of characters that we know and love is what defines the Batman 2004. This animated series was one that took risks, it took risks to make longtime fans angry at the cost of giving something new and unique. Well, it didn’t succeed in many departments, but it succeeded at making a version of the Penguin that we can genuinely remember.
Cobblepot looking like a Leprichaun.(https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0519655/mediaviewer/rm3082488320/?ref_=tt_ov_i)
This version of the Penguin looks different. He’s still extremely short, but she has orange hair and he has a weapon this time around that he carries with him. Not only is his umbrella a gun, but he also has a hidden Mace under there, as well as his wits which can get him out of any situation. Sure, this series had a different art style, but the character design here was spot on when it comes to the Penguin’s personality.
3. Batman: The Animated Series (Paul H Williams)
There is nothing more iconic in the world of Batman than Batman the Animated Series. Not only did it give us Mark Hamill as the Joker, it also gave us Kevin Conroy as the Batman, the first appearance of fan favorite Harley Quinn and of course Paul H Williams as the Penguin. This version of the Penguin is the chubbiest one yet, not only is he insanely eccentric and one of the wealthiest people in the series, he’s also one of the most gifted criminal masterminds in Gotham.
No other version of the Penguin does as much damage to Batman as he did in the animated series. Not to mention, he’s simply iconic because he’s responsible for many moments that define Batman as a character.
2. Batman Returns (Danny DeVito)
On a much grittier, darker turn, Danny DeVito as the Penguin in Tim Burton’s Batman returns 1992 is genuinely grotesque. This is the most terrifying version of the Penguin so far, even more terrifying than the one in Gotham. This version of the Penguin was a rich boy who found himself living amidst a group of Penguins in the Gotham sewerage system. this resulted in him looking like an actual Penguin with weird hands and feet, a small composure and a terrifying appetite for raw fish.
It is honestly hard to rate this version of the Penguin at any lower number. In fact, it would have been the first on this list if it wasn’t for the number one contender being so much better than any other version of the character.
1. Batman Arkham Series (Nolan North)
Of course, at the number one spot we have Penguin from the Batman Arkham Series. If you’ve ever played these games, you should be well aware that this is the definitive version of the Batman that we know and love. It has an aura of fantasy to it, but it also remains mainly in realism that you can believe in the story and these characters. That is why this version of the Penguin is such a joy to witness.
Not only is he a major antagonist in the games, he does a ton of damage to Batman in terms of wasting his time and killing many that he’d like to save. He’s also a genuinely smart version of the character, as he imprisons not only Solomon Grundy, but he also finds Mr. Freeze into doing his bidding, and he also has a pet robot shark in a museum that he takes over. He throws a bunch of curveballs at Batman, such as throwing him in a gladiator pit, causing him a lot of trouble for information and forcing him to fight Deathstroke. This version of the Penguin is a downright menace!