The Joker has been the defining arch nemesis of Batman in all of the different mediums of its presentation, be it DC comics, animation, and films. The character has become a pop culture icon and has redefined the meaning of an antihero and how the character is not necessarily seen as a villain. There are multiple layers to the character and his psychotic, unnerving, and unpredictable nature has struck a chord with audiences. The Joker and Batman are clearly two sides of the same coin, who venture out to do what is right according to them, for the stability and evolution of Gotham City.
There have been multiple iterations of the character throughout the years and while some of them have been fascinating and groundbreaking, others proved to be lackluster and underwhelming. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how various people have gone ahead and provided their own take and fresh perspectives on the character, making it relevant to this day.
The 3 Best Joker Portrayals of All Time
Throughout the various on-screen portrayals of the Joker, some have redefined and added their own spin on the character that stands out and has remained with the audiences. Let’s take a look at 3 actors who have kept the legacy of the DC character intact.
3. Joaquin Phoenix
After the fascinating and groundbreaking portrayal of The Joker by Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix took on the herculean task of creating something new and unique with the character of Joker. The film being a full-fledged exploration of the character’s alienation and mental deterioration provided a new side to the character that hasn’t been explored before. Phoenix’s mind-blowing performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
2. Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill provided the necessary menace and terror that the character of Joker is known for. Throughout his various voice-over work for the character in DC TV, video games, and animated movies, he holds the record for the longest tenure of portraying the iconic character. He provides a level of fear and intimidation that no one has been able to convey through the character.
1. Heath Ledger
None of the on-screen portrayals of Joker created quite the impact and appreciation as Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight. He provided a calculative and manipulative side to the character that was fascinating to watch and proved to be a great foil for Batman. His nuanced performance changed people’s perception of superhero films and how they can provide compelling characters. He won the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for the role.
The 3 Worst Joker Portrayals of All Time
As the saying goes, wherever there is good, there is bound to be bad too. Although there have been great portrayals of the Joker on-screen, some of them have been pretty underwhelming and lacked the depth required to validate the role. So now let’s take a look at the 3 worst portrayals of the character.
3. Alan Tudyk
Continuing the tradition of representing Joker in animated form, Alan Tudyk voiced the iconic character in the Harley Quinn series for Max. The portrayal is decent compared to the other two in this list. The problem was that there was no uniqueness or fresh perspective that was brought by this iteration of the character. It did not create the level of fan frenzy and impact that Mark Hamill was able to achieve with his nuanced portrayal of the character.
2. Zach Galifianakis
There is nothing much to say about Zach Galifianakis’ portrayal of the character in the film, The LEGO Batman Movie. One could say it was serviceable for the film. Otherwise, it was just a bland performance.
1. Jared Leto
Jared Leto’s portrayal of the character is certainly the weirdest one out of all the actors who have played him. In Justice League, his facial expressions and his physical approach to the character felt out of place and extremely awkward to watch and enjoy. His weird ‘method’ approach to the character proved to be detrimental to the films as well as to his own career.