There’s no Batman without the Joker.
Sure, the Joker isn’t vital to the origins of Batman, but over the years, the Clown Prince of Crime has become the most important villain to the Caped Crusader. The two make up a yin-yang relationship with each pushing the other to new heights.
The Joker has been around since 1940 and has undergone numerous iterations in comic book lore. The character made the leap to film and TV during the 1960s and has seen a fair share of interpretations.
Each one is unique and each actor brings something new to the character. So which is the best? The answer largely depends on your age.
I am a huge fan of Heath Ledger’s portrayal in the The Dark Knight. This came out while I was in high school and I thought no other portrayal could top this one.
Ledger did a fantastic job at shedding any doubts by fully diving into the psyche of the character. He was so believable as the Joker because he did all the heinous things a real-life Joker might. After 9/11, anything felt possible and it is that environment that allowed the Joker to feel more real than past iterations.
While there seems to be universal love for Ledger’s performance, there are many who have different answers. The deciding factor often seems to be age.
There are many my parents’ age who will cite Jack Nicholson from 1989’s Batman as the greatest Joker. Aside from Cesar Romero in the 1960s, Nicholson gets a lot of love for establishing the role and embracing the black comedy aspects of it.
Another popular answer I get, and mostly from those younger than me, is Joaquin Phoenix. Sure, there may be a bit of recency bias but many my age like Phoenix’s portrayal but still cling to Ledger has the pinnacle. That said, there are many younger fans who swear by Phoenix’s version.
Another popular answer I get is Mark Hamill, who voices Joker in the animated series and in the Arkham video games. This one tends to be the favorite of many Millennials and Gen Z.
I think what’s great about this debate is everyone seems to be in large agreement that each actor provides a unique take on the character. There are some actors, like Cameron Monaghan from Gotham, who offer multiple interpretations.
I love that each one is different enough that we can have a conversation on which one is the best because they all are so different.
So which one is your favorite? Do you think a person’s favorite Joker portrayal depends on their age? Who would you like to see portray the Joker down the road? Let us know in the comments below or head over to our Discord channel to join the conversation.
Featured Image: Esquire
The Boss Rush Podcast: The Flagship Podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network
The Boss Rush Podcast – The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, Stephanie, LeRon, and their friends from around the internet come together with other creators, developers, and industry veterans to talk about games they’ve been playing, discuss video game and entertainment based topics, and answer questions solicited on social media and the community Discord.
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