All Joker Actors Ranked From Worst to Best: Get ready, Gotham enthusiasts and villain aficionados! The Joker, that enigmatic and captivating harbinger of chaos, has been portrayed by a plethora of actors over the years, each bringing their distinctive flavor to the infamous role. In this thrilling article, we’ll dive headfirst into the twisted world of the Clown Prince of Crime, ranking each Joker actor from the ones that missed the mark to the ones who nailed it with a devilish grin.
All Joker Actors Ranked From Worst to Best
Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Despite the hype around Jared Leto’s Joker in “Suicide Squad,” his eccentric design, including the infamous “damaged” forehead tattoo, and bizarre Method acting stories, his actual contribution to the film was underwhelming. With just about ten minutes of screentime, primarily to serve Harley Quinn’s origin story, Leto’s Joker left audiences wanting more. Beyond the outrageous appearance and controversial behind-the-scenes antics, there wasn’t much substance to this portrayal, making it one of the most disappointing addition to the pantheon of Joker performances.
Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins)
When Mark Hamill retired from voicing the Joker after “Arkham City,” the challenge of finding a worthy successor arose. Troy Baker stepped in to portray Batman’s iconic nemesis in the subsequent game. Rather than differentiating his portrayal, Baker opted to mimic Hamill’s voice register, resulting in a pale imitation that left fans yearning for the original. Despite this, Baker’s Joker reveal, as he sheds the Black Mask disguise, is a captivating moment. The increasing frenzy in Joker’s behavior as his adopted persona slips away showcases Baker’s talent and is undoubtedly a scene worth revisiting, even if his overall performance falls short of the legendary Hamill.
Alan Tudyk (Harley Quinn)
Alan Tudyk’s superbly underrated voice acting brings the Harley Quinn Joker to life, achieving two essential goals. Firstly, he delivers an excellent portrayal of the iconic villain. Secondly, in a series focused on Harley Quinn, this Joker highlights a new dimension by emphasizing his abhorrent nature as a boyfriend. The Joker is not only a villain but also a downright despicable partner. Tudyk’s performance draws viewers in with a captivating Joker, while a brief storyline exploring the “cured” Joker adds an intriguing layer to the character, keeping audiences engaged and invested in this fascinating take on Gotham’s infamous antagonist.
Cesar Romero (Batman ’66)
Cesar Romero’s Joker in the 1966 “Batman” TV show is undeniably entertaining, with his vibrant energy and iconic painted-on grin. He even refused to shave his mustache, making his look uniquely memorable. However, despite his charm, other villains on the show often outshone him. Penguin, Catwoman, and King Tut, for instance, were involved in more engaging stories that highlighted their gimmicks. Even a hastily rewritten episode left Joker fixated on slot machines. Interestingly, today’s Joker, known for his chilling sadism and unhinged laughter, shares more similarities with Frank Gorshin’s Riddler than Romero’s Joker. He was good but definitely not the best.
Zach Galifianakis (LEGO Batman Movie)
In “The LEGO Batman Movie,” the Joker gets a new design that uses blocky minimalism to still convey its own visual twists on the character. The film also features an unexpected exploration of the Joker’s character, going beyond his usual villainous role to delve into the motivation behind his enmity with Batman. The plot revolves around the twisted sort of love the Joker has for Batman, a theme not typically explored in other Joker appearances across movies and TV. The idea of the Joker grabbing villains from other dimensions to cause chaos in Gotham City also makes sense within the context of the LEGO universe. Overall, this unconventional take on the Joker is a pleasant surprise that works surprisingly well.
Jack Nicholson (Batman)
Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” is nothing short of fantastic. With his eerie grin, striking makeup, and unforgettable fashion choices, Nicholson steals the show. The iconic art museum scene, where he destroys paintings to a Prince soundtrack, perfectly captures his twisted, fun-loving nature. However, the film’s portrayal of Jack Napier, the Joker’s alter-ego, falls short. Lacking the transformative moment typically seen when he emerges from a vat of acid, the character feels less intriguing. While Nicholson’s performance is memorable, this missing element prevents his Joker from reaching its full potential.
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series)
“Batman: The Animated Series” perfected the portrayal of the Joker. The show brilliantly captured the essence of the Caped Crusader, but none benefited as much as the Clown Prince of Crime himself. With unforgettable episodes like “Joker’s Favor,” “Almost Got ‘Im,” and “The Laughing Fish,” this iteration of the Joker was both terrifying and hilarious. Mark Hamill’s exceptional voice acting added a captivating theatricality to the character. Moreover, this version of the Joker gave rise to the iconic Harley Quinn, who became one of DC’s most beloved figures. Despite minor animation inconsistencies in the early seasons, the “Animated Series” Joker remains the quintessential embodiment of this iconic villain.
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck in “Joker” defies easy classification among the ranks of iconic Jokers. With ample room to delve into the character’s psyche, Phoenix delivers a haunting performance that earned him an Academy Award. His unsettling laughter carries a strange sympathy, attributing the origins of the killer clown to society’s flaws. However he still isn’t the best in the bad business of haunting people. But what makes Phoenix’s performance more special is that it came after Heath Ledger’s legendary performance. And Joaquin performed brilliantly even under an array of expectations and pressure. The man never tried to mimic the legend, instead he made the character his own.
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight is undeniably groundbreaking and iconic. He has become the real face of Joker, surpassing comparisons to actors new and old. Ledger’s performance is filled with unforgettable moments, making it difficult to choose just one. Whether it’s his chillingly reinvented origins, the daring opening bank job, his snarled “Why so serious?” line, or the intense interrogation scene with Christian Bale’s Batman, Ledger captivates the audience throughout. Despite his tragic passing, and small portfolio (one movie) as the Joker, Ledger’s legacy as the greatest Joker of all time lives on till date.