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
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
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.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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