Best Joker Performances (Live-Action & Animation), Ranked

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Over the years we have observed the Joker—Iconic oversight of DC Comics — through film, television and literature. The character first appeared in the first issue of the comic Batman in 1940. Although it was planned to kill him when he first appeared, The Joker was spared editorial intervention, allowing the character to remain the arch-nemesis of the superhero Batman.

In his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a criminal mastermind. Featured as a psychopath with a twisted sense of humor, the character became a wacky prankster in the late 1950s before returning to his darker roots in the early 1970s. The Joker has had various origin stories. possible during its decades of appearances. The most common story involves him falling into a tank of chemical waste, the resulting disfigurement driving him mad.

Antithesis of Batman in terms of personality and appearance, the Joker is considered by critics to be the perfect adversary of the Caped Crusader. He remains a timeless character in pop culture and is often among the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters of all time. It has been adapted in live action, animation, and video game media. As we count the days until the release of Robert Pattinson’s tour as the Dark Knight with The batman, here’s a look at our top-rated performances from the Superhero Archnemesis.

5 Zach Galifianakis in The Lego Batman Movie (2017)


Galifianakis_Joker_Lego_Batman_Movie_2017_IMDb
Joker_Lego_Batman_Movie_2017_IMDb

Big changes are brewing in Gotham City, and if Batman is to save the city from the Joker’s hostile takeover, he may have to work with others and learn to lighten up a bit. This is the simple premise of The Lego Batman movie, which hit theaters in the US in 2017. The film received generally positive reviews from critics for its animation, voice acting, soundtrack, visual style and humor, and was also a hit commercial, having grossed $ 312 million worldwide against a budget of $ 80 million.

In person, Zach Galifinakis is perhaps best known for his stage support role in The Hangover films as well as his starring role as a literal clown in the FX series Baskets. His particularly hilarious vocal inflections complement The Lego Batman movie Perfectly; therefore, it earns a place on this list.

Related: James Gunn Isn’t Interested In Joker, Prefer Using Unknown Characters

4 Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series (1992-94), other projects


Hamill_Joker_Batman_Animated_IMDb
Via IMDb

Hamill’s role as Joker began in the 1992 series Batman: The Animated Series and went on to numerous spinoff series, video games, and subsequent films. Hamill received critical acclaim for his performance, which made him in high demand as a voiceover actor for cartoon villains.

“I wanted a role that was in every way the opposite of Luke”, Hamill tweeted earlier this year in reference to his iconic Star Wars character. “Something unexpected that would surprise people and show range and versatility. The Clown Prince of Crime was a gift from character-cast heaven.”

Hamill voiced the Joker in a handful of episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, as well as several episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, The New Adventures of Batman and Justice League, plus a few segments for robot chicken. He also voiced the Joker in the 1993 motion picture film. Batman: Mask of Fantasy and the 2000 live video film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Hamill was also praised for his performance as the Joker in the animated version of Batman: the murderous joke, which hit theaters for a limited time in 2016. He was nominated for two Annie Awards for his unique take on the character, which is why he is on our list.

3 Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989)


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Via IMDb

Tim Burton’s Megahit follows Gotham City’s crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), who effectively rules the city until a new crime fighter appears: Batman (Michael Keaton). Grissom’s right-hand man is Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), a brutal man who is not entirely sane. After a falling out between the two, Grissom put Napier in touch with the police, and Napier falls to his apparent death in a vat of chemicals. However, he soon reappears as the Joker and begins a reign of terror in Gotham City.

Darker version of the Joker made his film debut in the 1989s Batman, which grossed over $ 400 million at the global box office. The role was a defining performance in Nicholson’s career, and critics said he overshadowed the lead role of Batman. Batmanthe success of led to the 1992 television series, Batman: The Animated Series, that’s where Hamill came in to shine as a supervillain. But Nicholson, the legendary Oscar winner, took center stage as a live-action version of the Joker for years to come.

2 Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019)


Phoenix_Joker_2019_IMDb
Via IMDb

The Joker’s most recent live-action film performance is Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a working clown and stand-up comedic aspirant. He has mental health issues, part of which involves uncontrollable laughter. Times are tough, and due to his troubles and occupation, Arthur is having an even worse time than most. Over time, these issues weigh on him, shaping his actions and ultimately causing him to adopt the character he is best known as.

Todd Phillips’ 2019 film focuses on the origins of the Joker in a very different light from previous episodes in the Batman franchise. Although the film was controversial for its violence and portrayal of mental illness, Phoenix’s electrifying performance was widely acclaimed. Just like The black Knight before that, Joker grossed over $ 1 billion at the box office and won numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor for Phoenix. Joker is the first live theater Batman movie to receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association, but it succeeds with the freedom of an adult-only rating as it gave Phoenix the free field to go wild and completely become a modern Joker.

1 Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)


Ledger_Joker_Dark_Knight_2008_IMDb
Via IMDb

Located in the year following the events of Batman begins, The black Knight follows Batman (Christian Bale), Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and new DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) as they successfully begin to round up the criminals plaguing Gotham City – that is, until A mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as “The Joker” appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman’s struggle against the Joker becomes deeply personal, forcing him to “face whatever he believes in” and improve his technology to stop him.

Considered one of the best films of its decade and one of the greatest and most influential films of all time, the film received critical acclaim for virtually every component – script, creation, visual effects, musical score, cinematography and performances, in particular by Ledger. With over $ 1 billion in revenue worldwide, it became the fourth highest grossing film at the time and the highest grossing film of 2008; he also set the record for the highest grossing nationwide opening at $ 158 million, a record he held for three years. At the 81st Academy Awards, the film received eight nominations, with Ledger posthumously awarding the first of two Joker character Oscars. While The black KnightThe Joker is a more secondary role than the turn of Phoenix in 2019, it’s Ledger who carries Christopher Nolan’s best film to date. When asked early on why Ledger in particular was chosen for the role, Nolan replied, “He’s fearless.”


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