5. James Gordon – The Dark Knight Trilogy

First introduced in 2006’s Batman Begins, Gary Oldman’s iteration of Commissioner James Gordon is one of the most iconic, with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy giving the character an added depth that previous cinematic adaptations hadn’t.

While billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne brings vigilante justice to Gotham, Gordon is out there pursuing real (legal) justice. He’s underpaid and constantly at risk from the machinations of his corrupt coworkers, but he carries on with his small acts of heroism simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Batman might be the figurehead of the franchise, but James Gordon is the far more ethical character of the two. He works within the confines of the law (mostly), only bending the rules slightly to allow Batman to continue with his own acts of illegal heroism.

Gordon risks even more than Batman does, too, because he doesn’t hide behind a mask. He’s out there on the streets, with his face and his name on display for all of Gotham’s criminals to see, and he still strives to make Gotham a better place. Batman might be one of the most recognizable superheroes in all of pop culture, but he’s outdone even in his own canon by James Gordon.