Shout out to Dr. Travis Langley, noted psychology professor and author, who explained the motives behind a wide range of Batman movie villains including Penguin, Catwoman, the Joker, Poison Ivy and more. But the first villain examined by the “superherologist” is Dr Daka from the 1943 serial film Batman:
The year was 1943, at the height of World War II. Dr. Tito Daka was not directly a character from the comics. He was a type. He was both the stereotype and a villain type. He fit that alien menace. It’s why xenophobia, fear of foreigners and strangers, played a role in this racist story. It is a racist depiction. It is a character who is acting very haughty, reflects mirror image perceptions. A mirror image perception during a conflict is when each side’s perception of the other mirrors the other side’s perception of them. Americans were looking at a villain such as Dr. Daka, wanting to see him as being egotistical, arrogant. Well, that was how Americans were seen as well by others. So each side’s perception mirrored the other side’s perception of them.
Langley also analyses the villains in 2022’s The Batman: The Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman who Langley notes as being more of an anti-heroine (agreed).
Batman movie related: The making of Batman Returns, when Batman mercilessly killed that Red Triangle Gang member, and Batman’s movie lips ranked