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Who was the best Joker?

Updated on August 2, 2015

Disclaimer.

Obviously, this is just my opinion.
As far back as I can remember, I've always been a huge fan of the caped crusader.
I've read the comics, I've collected the cartoons, I've watched the movies, and I've played the games.
I've loved the good (The Nolan Trilogy), the bad (The watered down cartoons), and the ugly (Damn you Clooney), and I've definitely collected some strong opinions about the series and it's characters.
You are more than welcome to disagree, and I hope to read your arguments in the comment section below.

I will never, ever, ever, ever understand how Sam Rockwell didn't get to play the Joker... or Deadpool... or me, in a live action re-telling of the road so far.
I will never, ever, ever, ever understand how Sam Rockwell didn't get to play the Joker... or Deadpool... or me, in a live action re-telling of the road so far.

When discussing villains..

Let's be real.
If you're discussing comic book villains, there's one guy who stands cape and cowl above the rest.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most beloved comic book villain of all time is...
FLORONIC MAN!

Kidding.
Obviously, when you think of comic villains, the bluest of the blue chips is The Joker.

The green hair, the purple suit, that broken smile, and that trademark cackle, even the most hardcore Marvel fans admit that the Joker is king of the paperback baddies.
Ever since his debut in the very first Batman comic, the Joker has been giving readers, watchers, and even listeners an odd case of the giggles and the creeps.
Everything that the Batman is, the Joker isn't.
Everything that the Joker is, the Batman isn't.
A homicidal maniac with no regard for the lives of himself or anyone else, the Joker's mission in life is to terrorize and torture the Batman.
If Batman is Sherlock Holmes, The Joker is James Moriarty.
If Batman is Yang, the Joker is Yin.
You simply cannot show the Batman without the Joker.
Literally.
You can not have a Batman series without the Joker... At least nobody has yet.
In every adaptation of Batman, or even the Batman universe, the Joker has been present.
Even when he's not supposed to be!
In the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the Joker looks to play a huge part... despite not being a huge character in the comics.

Cesar Romero

Now I admit, despite being a diehard Batnerd, the Adam West Batman never really did it for me.
I have a love for the grittier, darker Batman comics, and though it was more appropriate for the time... the corniness just doesn't do it for me.
None of the villains during the West era were too menacing, and it's hard to be intimidated or disturbed by a guy who clearly put makeup on over his mustache.

Maybe I'm just too young to appreciate Romero's performance, but... To each his own.

Jack Nicholson

Without a doubt, the most accurate portrayal of the Joker on the big screen belongs to none other than Mr. Jack Nicholson.
Easily the most accomplished actor to ever take on the role, Nicholson pulled off something I don't think most actors could.
Nicholson managed to capture the essence of the Joker as a character.
One minute, he's dancing to Prince and destroying artwork, and the next he's flirting with Vicki Vale and casually brushing off how he murdered his girlfriend.
There was no break in character between the most ridiculous and most violent moments.
When I think of the Joker on the big screen, Nicholson is who comes to mind.
However... He's not my favorite.

Heath Ledger

If Nicholson's was the most accurate portrayal, Ledger's was...
Well.
What is there to say about Heath Ledger's Joker?
It was unconventional, unorthodox, inaccurate, and insanely captivating.
While Ledger's performance wasn't ripped out of any comic book I picked up, he didn't do the character a disservice.
In fact, I think he injected some youth into a character that had previously been performed by older actors.
He brought the character into the 21st century with a subtle swagger, a certain unpredictable energy that made the most vile and disturbing acts seem whimsical and innocent.
I mean, for Alfred's sake, there's a point in the movie where Ledger is dressed up like a nurse and blows up a Hospital... and it's hilarious.
While the performance does have an added mystique of being Ledger's swan song, it's undeniably the best performance by an actor that the role had ever seen.

But...
He's still not my favorite.

Jared... Leto?

No.
It's not Jared Leto.
Bad.
Bad Warner Brothers.
This makes me want to return some video tapes.

Mark Hamill

Without a shadow of a doubt, Mark Hamill plays my favorite Joker.
For some of you, these words are golden, sent from heaven, right into the feels.
For others, there's probably some confusion.
"...You mean Luke Skywalker?"
Yes.
The same guy who played Luke Skywalker (and Firelord Ozai for those who know).
Hamill has voiced the clown in 18 different shows, games, and movies over the years, including the beloved animated series from the early 90's.
For me, it's no contest.
I admit, it's a little unfair to include a voice actor with the other guys, because all he had to do is talk into a microphone...
But that's just the thing.
There are so many guys who have and will play the Joker on screen, and while we all have our favorites... They come and go.
Recently, I re-watched "The Red Hood", which is easily one of the best animated Batman movies, but in The Red Hood, a different voice actor plays the Joker.
And it completely ruins the character.
The laugh is different, the quick, witty remarks aren't as funny, and the mystique is gone.
Then I picked up a copy of Arkham Knight.
Without getting to into the plot or flashbacks, Hamill puts the proverbial purple suit back on... and he gives one of the best performances as a voice actor that I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's just personal preference, but for me, when I think of the Joker, it's Mark Hamill or nothing.
Rumors are flying everywhere that the infamous "Killing Joke" comic will finally get an animated movie, and Hamill is slated to voice the Joker.
If that's true, I think my argument is about to be made once and for all.
Thanks for reading, dorks.

So, what do you think?

Who is the best Joker?

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