No one can deny that Batman’s archnemesis is The Joker. He has been involved in Gotham City since the beginning. He started out as a violent nemesis causing havoc throughout the city, baffling the Dark Knight and the police alike. In the final showdown, Joker accidentally stabs himself. He was originally suppose to die, but writer Bill Finger saved him when he realized the potential.
Since then, he has appeared in multiple incarnations. Sometimes he is a prankster, a serial killer, a terrifying gangster, a mass murderer, but no matter what he is, he is always the Clown Prince of Crime. Several people have portrayed him in live-action and animation media. Some have been good, while others have been bad.
This is the list of some of the main film and television incarnations of The Joker, going from worst to best.
Tony Hale – In the English dub of Batman: Ninja, he portrays a very lackluster version of the Clown Prince of Crime. He relies on nasal-quality to make his voice flow and it fails in epic fashion.
Jared Leto – Some faux nerds are trying to say that this guy did a good version of the Ace of Knaves in Suicide Squad. Nonsense. He was gimmicky, pointless, and had a guy in a panda-suit in his gang. There was nothing that redeemed this disaster.
Kevin Michael Richardson – No one knew what was going on in ‘The Batman.’ That included this bizarre Monkey-style Kung Fu version of the Clown Prince of Crime. He’s already portrayed in a bizarre fashion, so why make it worse with a poor casting decision.
Jeff Bennett – ‘Batman: The Brave And Bold‘ was a throwback to the 60s and 70s version of The Dark Knight. The Joker made varying appearances, but during the time the great Jeff Bennett voiced him. While I have nothing but admiration for Bennett, his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime was somewhat benign. It offered nothing new or even anything old. Don’t get started on that version of Harley Quinn.
Larry Storch & Lennie Weinrib – The Adventures of Batman (1968-1969) and The New Adventures of Batman (1977), these two voice actors made headway in portraying the Clown Prince of Crime in a new way.
Frank Welker – In The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, The Joker appeared in disguise to help Darkseid fight the Super Friends as Ace, a member of The Royal Flush Gang.
Zach Galifianakis – He tried in The LEGO Batman Movie. He tried.
Jeff Bergman – Attempting to recreate the 1960s Cesar Romero (more on him later) role is tough. He did a good job reproducing the character in the style of camp.
Brent Spiner – You might know him as ‘Data’ from Star Trek: The Next Generation or The Purple Man from Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He also portrayed The Joker in the Young Justice. While he was not the best Joker, I will give him props.
Cameron Monaghan – While the Joker has not exactly appeared for real, Gotham has created a proto-Clown that has inspired other people and maybe will inspire another.
John DiMaggio – In Batman: Under The Red Hood, it retells the story of Death In The Family and Under The Hood, where comedian DiMaggio does a decent job of recreating the dark, twisted nature of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Troy Baker – He portrays the Joker in Batman: Assault on Arkham. While the movie is terrible, the video games it is based are good. Baker did a terrific job especially when he stepped after Mark Hamill (more on him later) decided to step down.
Cesar Romero – Come on, you knew this was coming. The 1966 Batman film had him as a prankster and while not completely psychopathic, he was definitely twisted.
Jack Nicholson – In the 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton, he played a murderous, conniving gangster named Jack Napier who is brutal.
TIED FOR 1ST PLACE
Mark Hamill – Batman The Animated Series redefined the genre of comic book-based shows. Hamill’s portrayal of the character was nothing short of masterful. Out of that continuity, he appeared in various films, video games, and other shows. He is genius and I’ve got the chills down the spine to prove it.
Heath Ledger – The young actor died too young. He portrayed the Joker in The Dark Knight. He was nothing short of brilliant in the role. It was chilling, powerful, twisted, and deep. Every single moment of every scene is a movement in a bold movie that was a game-changer for the superhero genre.
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