The Joker is Batman’s most iconic nemesis. In fact, it wouldn’t be too bold a statement to say he is one of the most iconic villains of all time. From his fascinating origin story to his crime loving ways the Joker is truly compelling. He is funny, yet calculated and evil. He has been portrayed by dozens of actors but here are ten of the best. Ranked in order.
10 Lego Batman (game)
I know a lego game character seems an odd choice to include on the list. Obviously being a Lego game this version of the joker lacks the maniacal psychotic-side that some other portrayals do. However, this whimsical take on Batman’s most infamous enemy is a refreshing break from the norm.
9 Suicide Squad film
For all the hype that Jared Leto got his version of the Joker didn’t have a particularly large role to play in the Suicide Squad movie. Rumour has it he went to great lengths to give the greatest portrayal he could. Including taking method acting to new lows by sending co-workers dead animals – yuck.
8 Arkham Origins
Although effectively this take was just a copy of Mark Hamill’s Joker it was a damn fine attempt. In many people’s eyes, Mark Hamill is the voice of the Joker and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so….
7 Lego Batman movie
Many would have baulked at the idea of “that guy from the Hangover” playing the Joker. And yet it is an endearing take on the Joker. The idea behind his Joker is that he is secretly in love with Batman. Come on we have all thought it at some point, right?
6 Gotham (Jerome Valeska)
Although not “technically” the joker, for argument’s sake let’s say he basically is. The portrayal is amazing. Cameron Monaghan really captures the maniacal side of the character much in the way legends such as Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson had done before him. It is no surprise that he claims to have studied these two a lot in preparing for the role.
5 Arkham Series
Being voiced by the incredible mark Hamill doesn’t hurt this iteration. He is physically repulsive and over the top as you would expect for a video game character. In many ways, this is the most grotesque representation of the character and fits perfectly with the games dark nature.
4 Original TV series
An iconic incarnation of The Dark Knight’s nemesis. In many ways, he is the one that started the ball rolling. Jack Nicholson claims he took inspiration from Cesar Romero’s Joker. Unfortunately, the show producers considered him a weaker character than the Penguin and Riddler and so he often got lumbered with poor storylines.
3 Batman movie
Jack Nicholson for a long time was the standard when it came to the Joker. Let’s be honest here the guy is no stranger to playing a disturbed character. Just look at his famous performance as Jack Torrance in The Shining.
2 Batman the animated series
There is not much you can say about Hamill’s performance that hasn’t already been said. He plays the part perfectly. This incarnation is responsible for bringing Harley Quinn to the forefront of our consciousness too.
1 The Dark Knight
There is no surprise that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his mind-blowing turn as The Joker. He made the role his own, despite having some big shoes to fill. Before taking on the role many comic book fans rolled their eyes at the casting but they were all proven very much wrong. Every tick, every smile, every blink oozes a psychotic edge. This is truly one of the greatest movie performances and is the reason Ledger sits proudly atop this list.
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