Over the years, DC’s Joker has become a phenomenon among geeks and comic book fans. Introduced by Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Bob Kane in Batman issued on April 25, 1940, the clown having Criminal mastermind abilities challenged Batman to the fullest. Joker has no rules to live by and no reasons for the things he does. Joker’s chaotic and disturbing mannerism left everyone petrified. To play him in a movie or TV show or voice him in an animated project surely consumes an actor wholly.
Joker and Batman are interrelated to each other, one cannot exist without each other and they complete one another. Even in the standalone Joker movie directed by Todd Phillips, the young version of Bruce Wayne had to be included cause the evolution of Mr. J is linked to Batman’s past. Every Joker story is interpreted differently and actors that played Joker in all of these stories manifested a different angle of the clown. A few actors were able to take our breaths away and a few couldn’t galvanize enough.
All criterion considered, here’s every actor that played Joker ranked from worst to best:
8. Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Portraying Joker doesn’t simply demand acting, it commands living the character. By far, Jared Leto holds the torch of worst Joker performance ever by any human on the planet. One can’t blame him entirely because the movie in which he played Joker didn’t have strong writing. Suicide Squad was a poor attempt of turning DC’s well-known villains into heroes which did not satisfy the fans and Joker, on the other hand, was absurd with his own ludicrous plans that pulled the story down. Leto’s Joker laugh is so awfully, it didn’t allow me to sleep for months. Harley Quinn was the only good part of the movie.
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7. Cesar Romero (Batman TV Series)
Back when Joker was still evolving, Batman show that ran from 1966-1968 featured Joker played by Cesar Romero. Right now, with more than 5 actors having played Joker, the character’s definition changed a lot. Cesar’s take on Joker was too goofy and not serious enough. Was he terrifying? No, He was wasn’t, maybe back in those days, people might have preferred comic book characters to be funny and cartoonish.
6. Cameron Monaghan (Gotham)
Bruce Wayne’s story from when he was a child to growing up as a moral man kept the fans of Gotham series clung to the story. If took a while for the writers of the show to finally introduce Joker. Although the role played by Cameron Monaghan on the show was for a short time, the character was given a justified origin story. With a mutilated face and white makeup, Cameron’s Joker looked sinister enough.
5. Zach Galifianakis (The Lego Batman)
Lego movies were never supposed to be dark and sinister. I understand if Joker in The Lego Batman was too funny and not dark at all. Unlike Mark Hamill, who also voiced for Joker in animated series, Zach did a jocular job with his voice. Being a comedic actor and a hilarious host on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, I assume the actor did what he was asked for, he turned Joker in an actual Joker. Will Arnett, the voice of Batman kept the movie on its feet and prevented a disastrous tumbling.
4. Mark Hamill (Batman Animated Series)
Known all across the galaxy, Mark Hamill and his Portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise is still a hot topic until today. Most cartoon goers associate Mark Hamill’s voice to be the ultimate voice of Joker. The hard and psychopathic voice of Mark was used in animated series and games as well, alongside Kevin Conroy as Batman. Seeing Mark Hamill playing a live-action Joker in the upcoming DC movies is not a possibility, yet the voice and its resonance give Mr. J an ominous turn that no other actor could ever give.
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3. Jack Nicholson (Michael Keaton’s Batman)
Jack Nicholson brings a hefty more to the table than what’s asked for, it’s his nature. Tim Burton’s Batman was lit up with Michael Keaton’s swift acting as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson’s personal touch as Jack Napier who turns into Joker. All the laughs and facial expressions by Nicholson in the movie made Joker into a more complicated persona. The standards for Batman’s arc nemesis and Gotham’s clown were set after Batman (1989). Jack Nicholson convinced the importance of a good villain that has to lie equally to that of a hero.
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2. Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Todd Phillips’ Joker received sundry reviews and critics have a totally different take on the movie. To me, The Joker movie is one of the best comic book movies ever made. Comic book movies are stereotyped to be a CGI extravaganza and that’s what audience expect. Joker takes a totally different turn and offers a dive into the backstory of Gotham City and how Joker becomes the ruthless villain he is. The sad, dark and painful story requires tremendous talent. Joaquin Phoenix nailed every bit of his role in the movie. I cannot think of a better actor for this significant movie. Hats off to Joaquin Phoenix.
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1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
The world agrees with Heath Ledger as the best Joker ever. The place will remain to be his on this list for a long time to come. Christopher Nolan created Batman according to his liking and his Batman needed a villain who could engender an intellectual challenge. Heath’s Joker never wanted to kill people for a good reason or end the world like any other villain, he just wanted the people of Gotham City to reveal their true colours, which he believed to be dreadful. calibrating to the story and plot, Heath Ledger tried to give us a Joker that is psychopathic and mesmerizing at the same time. Heath was unlucky because he didn’t get to watch his performance and died before The Dark Knight was released. Heath’s Oscar win for the role of Joker is the most deserved award in the history of Oscars.
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