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The Joker – Who did it best?

Sarah Casserley



jack nicholson joker image
Warner Bros.

With the drop of the new Justice League: The Snyder Cut trailer, there’s been some conversation around Jared Leto being The Joker again. Especially after the Oscar-winning performance from Joaquin Phoenix in the 2019 film Joker. With this in mind, we got thinking about The Joker and all his TV, video game and film appearances since his debut in the DC comic book, Batman, in 1940. Although the illustrations and storylines were first created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. All 20 of the actors and voice actors that have taken on the role have put their own fantastic and entertaining spin on the menacing supervillain. But, who did it best? Below is a list of our top 10.

After all, “we live in a society” where The Joker is clearly the best villain in the DC Universe… “Isn’t that right, Batman?”

10. John DiMaggio

Batman: Under the Red Hood 2010 / Batman: Death in the Family 2020

When it comes to The Joker, you can’t just look at the live-action performances. Some of the best Jokers come from cartoons and video games. Where the character is propelled by amazing voice actors, such as John Dimaggio.

His serious and intimidating take on The Joker really stands out. It sends shivers down most viewers’ spines, especially when he does the trademark Joker laugh. Obviously, Dimaggio can’t take all the credit. The animators and screenwriters in both films complemented his take on The Joker. Despite the styles being different in each film.

Bonus Fact: DiMaggio also did a small voice role as The Joker in ‘Lego DC Comics Superheroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom’ in 2015. As well as voicing Lex Luther. Throughout his illustrious voice acting career, DiMaggio has voiced several DC and Marvel characters.

9. Zach Galifianakis

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)/ Batman Is Just Not That Into You (2017)

Normally, The Joker is associated with a darker creeper voice and presence. But, in ‘The Lego Batman Movie’, Zach Galifianakis gives us a completely different feel with his vocal performance. He is more jovial, funny and everyday-sounding. Rather than the dark menacing sound we have come to expect from the character. Obviously, this is to keep in tune with the Lego brand and audience. But funnily enough, it works for the Lego character, making him a definite contender for the top 10.

Bonus Fact: A lot of the lines between Batman (Will Arnett) and The Joker (Galifianakis) for the Lego Batman movies were improvised and they pretty much recorded on the spot.

8. Anthony Ingruber

Batman: The Telltale Series 2016 / Batman: The Enemy Within 2017

Again, we do need to shout out to the animators and storyboard writers at Telltale Games for this Joker. The incredible scenes, backstory and characteristics add to Anthony Ingruber’s interpretation of the character. In games like this, where the storylines push the narrative forward make you want to play it to until 3am. Even on a school night (talking from experience). You really have to get the voice acting right, otherwise, the story could just fall flat. Anthony Ingruber does just this in both games.

He manages to capture all the emotions in the animation and create a new creepy sound for this version of the Joker. Along with one of the best Joker cackles. Ingruber’s version of The Joker is so easy to detect throughout the game. Which is good as there are scenes when all you see of The Joker is his fingers through the bat signal.

Bonus Fact: As an accomplished screen and voice actor, Ingruber has also had another DC role in his career as the voice of Johnny Quick (AKA The Flash) in the 2018 Lego DC Super-Villains game.

7. Cameron Monaghan

Gotham (2015- 2019)

He may only be a baby Joker when we first meet him in Gotham, but throughout the series, his character grew and, boy, was he good! Just when we thought Gotham had killed off who we thought The Joker was going to be. He rises from the dead and brings his twin brother too (also Monaghan), who ends up being smarter and even more twisted. The many twists and turns in his storyline were incredibly binge-worthy. Yet, it was Monghan’s facial expressions, mannerisms and expert acting skills that really made this character one of the best villains in the Gotham series.

Bonus Fact: Whilst playing the part of The Joker in Gotham, Monaghan was only in his early twenties (22 – 26), making him the youngest Joker in the pack.

8. Cesar Romero

Batman: The Movie (1966) / Batman (TV Series 1966 – 1968)

In the first-ever Batman series and spin-off movie, we got our first-ever onscreen version of the Joker, Cesar Romero. The producers of the 1966 series loved Romero’s intimidating yet jovial portrayal of the character. So much so, in fact, that The Joker, alongside The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), were the most frequent villains on the series.

Even though Romero’s portrayal of the character was more jovial and mischievous than menacing (mainly because it was aimed at families and on daytime TV). Some of his attributes are still used in interpretations to this day. Including how he laughed and some of his movements as he pranced around the set.

Bonus Fact: Romero, also known as ‘The Latin Lover’, loved his trademark moustache so much that he point blank refused to shave it off for the part and instead famously just painted over it.

5. Jared Leto

Suicide Squad (2016), Justice League: The Snyder Cut (2021)

So, let’s face it, Leto’s take on The Joker is controversial and divides opinions. With a lot of anguish aimed at the ‘damaged’ tattoo on his head (which we agree was a bad decision). But the costume department and some of the scripting choices put to one side. Leto is actually a really great actor and played the part well, bringing across The Joker’s creepy and unpredictable behaviour.

Also, his depiction of the character matches up well with Margot Robbie’s Harlequin and works well for the Suicide Squad.
Although there is some disagreement around Leto appearing in the ‘Justice League: The Snyder Cut’. It does make sense in the current DC world. The characters from both the ‘Justice League’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ have intertwined since they started this set of movies. Even though it looks like Leto’s part might be short. With writing and directing skills from Zack Snyder, his take on The Joker may be given the freedom it needs to flourish a little more this time around.

Bonus Fact: When preparing for the role, before he met Harlequin (Robbie), Leto wrote her a love letter as The Joker along with a present. The present was a live rat! The cast apparently had shared custody of the rat until the end of filming, when it was gifted to ‘Pacific Rim’ director Guillermo del Toro, and it lived happily in his family home.

4. Joaquin Phoenix

Joker (2019)

The newest member of The Joker club. Joaquin Phoenix takes The Joker’s sinister undertones to new levels, drawing the character closer to the creepy clown realm than we have ever seen before.

After being seen as a joke, and not taken seriously, this Joker wanted to turn the city upside down. Making it the world that made this Joker who he is, not a chemical accident. This is portrayed superbly by Phoenix, revealing new sides of The Joker. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of this interpretation in the future.

Bonus Fact: As this character is based more on the mental stability of The Joker, when preparing for the role, Phoenix-based his laugh on videos he’d seen of people suffering from Pathological Laughter.

3. Jack Nicholson

Batman (1989)

In the late 80s and early 90s, we had a string of fantastic Batman films directed by Tim Burton. Not only were these films full of action and intrigue, with a drizzle of slapstick, they also brought the darker, fully realised DC characters to our screens and the forefront. And the one that stood out the most was Jack Nicholson’s take on The Joker.

As the Gangster turned Joker, Nicholson was the first to give the villain a little more of a murderous edge, tapping into the evilness of baddie. Nicholson was reported as being a hands-on actor, having a say on his makeup, as well as some of Burton’s scripting. Together Nicholson and Burton made this character one of the most honoured and referenced jokers of all time.

Bonus Fact: There were quite a few of famous people that were considered for this role, including Robin Williams and David Bowie, but Nicholson’s menacing ideas for the character won out.

2. Heath Ledger

The Dark Knight (2008)

One of the most memorable and iconic versions of The Joker comes from Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight’.

It’s strange to think that back in 2007 when the cast for the film was released, the director Christopher Nolan was criticised for the casting. Fans had a few other names in mind of the role. At the time Ledger was better known for romantic comedies such as ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘A Knights Tale’. Which doesn’t really fit with the dark and brooding feel of the Batman franchise. But Heath Ledger proved all of the nay-sayers wrong.

Ledger stole the spotlight and out-acted everyone in the movie, including the titular Batman, played by Christian Bale. He went on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role’. Unfortunately, the release of the film, the masses of critical acclaim and the awards came after Ledger’s heartbreaking and untimely death.

Extra Fact – Ledger put so much thought into his character right down to the makeup, insisting that he wanted to do it himself to make it look more realistic.

Disclaimer – We know putting Ledger in the second spot might be controversial, and yes, Ledger, is arguably the best live-action Joker (closely followed by Nicholson), but there is someone else that just clinches the top spot, whose voice embodies The Joker we all know and love…

1. Mark Hamill

10 video games/ 5 animated series/ 5 feature-length films / 3 short films (1992 – present)

As you can clearly see, Mark Hamill already wins on credits alone. So much so that listing all his Joker appearances would have taken up half of this article. But, is why we think he is the best Joker based on the number of appearances? Oh no, there are lots of reasons why we believe he earns the top spot! For example, like a lot of people in DC forums all over the internet, whenever we read comics now or think of the Joker, it’s his voice we hear.

Also, across the 3 decades, and throughout the TV, movies, cartoons and many video games, The Joker’s appearance and the world around him changes. Yet Hamill has somehow managed to expertly evolve his voice alongside the character and perfectly change it up slightly to fit the aesthetic in the specific medium. All while still making it familiar and quintessentially The Joker we hear in our own heads.

Extra Fact – Mark Hamill wasn’t the first choice to voice The Joker in the original Batman animated series. In 1992, Tim Curry recorded around four episodes; but, he had to step down. There are two rumoured reasons for this decision. The first is that Curry developed bronchitis, and the second is that the producers simply just didn’t like his take on The Joker.

So, there we have it, our top 10 favourite Jokers of all time, I hope you enjoyed reading our list. If you think there should have been another Joker up there, or you would have changed the order, let us know below.

But I think the above just proves that the ever-evolving Joker is the best DC villain of all time. If you disagree just ask yourself – ‘Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?’

Thank you for reading our article on The Joker, who did it best. Do you agree with our list? What would your order be? Let us know in the comments below.

See the teaser trailer for Robert Pattinson’s The Batman HERE.

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Movie News

The Good, The Bad And The Classic

Sarah Casserley



Star From Disney Plus

Disney Plus Star image
Disney Plus

Disney Plus introduced Star to the service a little while ago now with loads of highlights. We’re sure, like us, you’ve had a good old delve into the catalogue and watched some of your faves. But, just in case you’ve missed anything, we have put together a little guide on what’s good to get stuck into. Also what’s bad and could do with being swiped past, and the classic must-see TV series and films that you probably didn’t even realise were there.

So, when you find yourself looking for something to watch on a Friday evening or binge for a couple of weeks, don’t scroll endlessly, just take a look at our guide of Disney Plus Star recommendations.

The Good

These are the films and series that have been released within the last 10 years, which you need to watch or should at least be on your ‘to watch’ list.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Atlanta (2016 – Present)

If you haven’t watched this series yet, why not? The creative and talented Donald Glover heads up the show as the main character ‘Earn’, and on the writing credits too (among 6 others, including his brother Stephen Glover), in this funny, gritty and realistic series which follows a rapper ‘Paper Boy’ and his manager Earn (Glover) as they navigate the rap business. If you have watched the show before, you may want to re-watch for a recap as season 3 has been promised to us very soon.

9-1-1 (2018 – Present)

This isn’t just any emergency service drama, this series covers the lives of several Los Angeles first responders: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers. It also has some big names involved, including Angela Bassett and, later in the series, Jennifer Love Hewitt. For some reason though, there’s only two of the four seasons of 9-1-1 on Disney Plus Star so far, but it’s well worth a watch and we’re sure the other two seasons should be along soon.

Doll Face (2019 – Present)

By the title alone, and the fact that it’s a weekly release, it initially looked like this series was set around a stereotypical break up and was destined for the bad list. However, the witty script, amazing female actors and relatable storyline made me put this series firmly within the good pile as I can’t wait to watch more. Kat Dennings takes the lead in the series and really brings to life upcoming writer Jordan Weiss’ story of female friendships after a breakup.

Films on Disney Plus Star

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

This beautiful coming of age story, based on a book with the same name, is a great watch for all ages, not just teens. Be ready for oodles of romance, as well as teary and heart-warming moments, as you follow two teens affected by cancer as they set off on a journey of discovery.

The Favourite (2018)

We love a period drama, and this quirky look at the reign of Queen Anne is no exception. With starring roles from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, it’s no wonder The Favourite had 336 nominations in award season and 182 wins. It’s definitely one of the best films from the last 5 years on Disney Plus Star.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

There are some examples coming up in these lists that give sequels a bad name, however, Deadpool 2 isn’t one of them. If you were putting off watching this one because of the sequel curse, don’t, it’s just as good – if not better – than the first. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is back as the foul-mouthed superhero and, this time, he brings some new friends: Domino (Zazie Beetz), Fire Fist (Julian Dennison) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) among others.

The Bad

There’s not as many on this ‘bad’ list as Star has done a pretty good job with their chosen titles. However, like any service, there are always a few bad eggs in our opinion… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch these, it’s more of a warning that there may be better things to press play on.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Lost (2004 – 2010)

To be completely honest here, the first two seasons of Lost are very entertaining and interesting to watch, as you follow several people who try to survive a plane crash and have to adapt to life on a strange island. But, by the middle of season three, things start to get a little confusing and we found ourselves getting lost (pun intended) in the plot until the final sixth season, only to be hit with a heavily reported disappointing end… even worse than some people’s feelings about Game Of Thrones. So, we recommendation delving into some of the other series rather than this one.

24: Legacy (2017)

Trying to build another series from an established series can be very hit or miss – and this one was a huge miss. So much so that Fox axed it just after one series.

It takes on the same format as the original 24 series, where one season is just one day, however, this time they are trying to stop a terrorist attack. The format just doesn’t work with this storyline and you lose a lot of momentum and excitement, plus the acting just isn’t the best.

Films on Disney Plus Star

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Just like building another series off a series, sequels can also be tricky beasts… some are good, some are bad and, when it follows an absolute classic like ‘Independence Day’, it needs to be amazing. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite live up to the legacy of the first film; I mean, not even ‘Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth couldn’t get this to match up with the original. But it is still entertaining, so if you do decide to watch this one, just do so with caution.

The Classic

As you have probably already noticed there are some absolute classics on Disney Plus Star, so this is going to be the longest list, full of series that you can binge from start to finish and films that stand the test of time and can be re-watched repeatedly. Most of these titles don’t need much explanation as you’ll have already watched or heard about them, but you might not have spotted them yet on Disney Plus Star as some were buried deep in the archives.

Series on Disney Plus Star

X Files (1993 – 2001)

If you were born in the 90s or 00s, this one may have gone under your radar; however, once you watch the first season full of aliens, wired going ons and the brilliantly disjointed relationship of FBI agents, conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder and realist Dana Scully, you won’t want to stop watching. Granted some of the special effects are a little dated and unbelievable, but you will soon forget about that as you get sucked into the narrative.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2002)

I know, I know, it’s hard to think there are people out there that haven’t watched a single vampire slaying, kick-ass, sci-fi loaded episode… but there is. If you are one of those people, what are you waiting for? Every single episode is here wating for you to binge. If you don’t fancy delving into the full thing, I would recommend at least taking a peek at the seventh episode of the sixth series (Once More, with Feeling: Buffy the Musical).

24 (2001 – 2014)

Before Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) burst on our screens in 2001, this kind of format for a series had never been attempted before and it just worked, so much so it ran for 9 seasons. It may seem odd at first, as each series is just one day, but you really do get sucked in.

Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – 2018)

Within its almost 13 years of being on air, this series has offered every heart-warming and breath-holding moment you need from a hospital-based drama. This would be a perfect series to start if you want something that will last you a while.

Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

Bikes, leather and action: what’s not to like? This series ran for a glorious 7 seasons, and within these episodes, there is storyline upon storyline that will keep you hooked and wanting to know more about the motorcycle club that straddles the line between legal and illegal.

Films on Disney Plus Star

(We’re pretty sure you will have watched most of these films, but they are well worth a re-watch)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

The film that started them all. Since the release of this film in 1968, there have been seven more sequels and remakes of the original sci-fi movie, two of which you can also watch on Disney Plus Star: Planet Of the Apes (2001) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

Jewel of the Nile (1985)

It could possibly be that the countless TV showings over the have passed you by, but if you’ve not seen Jewel of the Nile, you should definitely give it a go. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito are fantastic in this pure 80s romantic action comedy.

Cocktail (1988)

Sticking within the 80s romantic comedy realm, you’ve also got Cocktail, which is full of love ultimatums, with a dash of cheese. Come on, you know you want to watch a young Tom Cruise at work.

The Fly (1986)

One name – Jeff Goldblum. Watch it.

Pretty Woman (1990)

We were just as excited as the first time we watched it when we saw this classic on the service. To not watch this again would be a big mistake. HUGE.

Toys (1992)

This wonderfully wacky story by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson comes alive with the help of one of the best comedic actors of all time, Robin Williams, alongside the wonderful Joan Cusack and, bizarrely, LL Cool J.

What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

Whether you love Tina Turner’s music or not, it does not matter. This is one of the most interesting and inspirational biographical movies that you will ever watch. Word of warning, the incredible Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne are so great at their roles that some of the more sensitive scenes are very realistic.

Braveheart (1995)

With any new service, there are glitches, and we found one! Whilst watching this absolute classic a few weeks ago, about two and a half hours into the film the screen when to the small screen format as if the credits had come up, making it difficult to watch the last part of the film. However, when we went to finish the film off a week later the glitch had been fixed and you can now watch the whole film without interruption… FREEDOM!

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

We all know that when it comes to film, Baz Luhrmann is a genius and he doesn’t disappoint with this abstract take on the story. It’s worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

Independence Day (1996)

90s Will Smith doing what he did best: lots of running, fighting and shouting – need I say more? Oh yes, you can also watch another one of his masterpieces, Enemy of the State (1998) on this service too.

Con Air (1997)

‘Put the bunny back in the box’ and sit down and watch this classic… we all know Nicholas Cage films can be a little unpredictable, but this film is definitely a hit, especially as he is joined by other legends of the screen, including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack and Ving Rhames.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Well if it’s at our fingertips, why not watch this film for the 56th time… this year.

So, there you have it, these are some of our highlights and must-miss titles from Disney Plus Star. Are there any that we missed? If so, comment below and let us know what category they belong in.

Check out the top 10 hidden gems in the other Disney Plus feeds HERE.

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