This Jared Leto performance is dead last for a good reason. A very good and professional reason. It is just funny to make fun of this thing. Everything, from the grotesque and harassment-based "method acting" to the tattoos (which scream more "trust fund kid wanting attention" rather than fun clown villain) to the hammy performance made Leto's take on the Joker feels like Cesar Romero tried to channel Al Pacino and no one's happy about it. This is peak superhero pretension and caused The Atlantic to declare this "The Death of Method Acting."
Kevin Michael Richardson is a legendary voice actor whose credits include Gravity Falls, TheFairly Oddparents and Batman: Brave and the Bold, in which he played Lex Luthor. Before Luthor, however, he played the Joker in the stylized animated series, The Batman. There was nothing wrong with his performance per se. It just doesn't stand out from the crowd so much. Still, you can't go wrong with KMR.
The key to an unforgettable Joker performance seems to be giving it your own spin, and Lost star Michael Emerson certainly did this in his performance in the adaptation of Frank Miller and Lynn Varney's, The Dark Knight Returns. He comes to the character with a touch of a maniacal Paul Lynde, perfect for a campy clown who stabs.
Every performance in the long-derided, now-beloved 1960s Batman series is a masterpiece in camp, yet Cesar Romero's joker doesn't quite stand out as the best. Frank Gorshin's unforgettable performance as the Riddler actually had a bigger effect on modern characterizations of the Joker (the manic movement, the maniacal laugh, etc.). Still, there's something to be said for being the first and being involved with such a great show, not to mention the ballsiness of Cesar Romero not shaving his mustache for the role, which is certainly right out of the character's playbook!
Brave and the Bold was a fun throwback to the '60s Batman, and Jeff Bennett's performance as the Joker is unbelievably fun. It won't change your opinion on the nature of man, but maybe a goofy clown villain can be fun and odd from time to time.
Of course, this won't be Mark Hamill's only appearance on the list. It's amazing that an actor has played this character so iconically in so many different iterations. Hamill's performance in this video game is haunting. He uses different tricks than he did in earlier iterations. Just try to keep your composure while you hear his voice cackling, crueler than ever, over the speakers as you crawl through the asylum trying to free the doctors.
Nicholson's performance as the Joker set the mold. The actor's natural energy, wickedness and creepy nature launched that character's persona into legend territory. Nicholson's manic energy played brilliantly against Michael Keaton's stoicism, and the character was the perfect mix between threat and comic energy. One of the greats.
Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is already legendary and deservedly won the actor a posthumous Oscar. His was a new movie monster who had something to say about chaos, trauma and disorder. Ledger's performance was so good it changed the face of movies in America.
What people forget about the performance was just how funny it was. Ledger understood that the Joker is a funny monster. The punchline might resemble a dead body but Ledger's Joker is as quick with a snappy one liner as he is with a glib observation. A brilliant and legendary performance.
2. Mark Hamill in 'Batman the Animated Series' and So Much More
Mark Hamill's Joker is quintessential — it's the ideal. He's a snarling, slithering snake, the concept of a leer in a humanoid form, and he's the Joker people imagine since Hamill first said his first line in the '90s. Hamill's work is sinister, bizarre, funny and he plays the maniacal villain to this day! His latest performance in the adaptation of The Killing Joke will becoming out soon.
Of course, no Joker performance could ever beat the terrifying ink-on-paper monster who's been haunting comic book readers for ages. This incredible villain is a monster who transforms from The Man Who Laughs to a man who wears his own cut off face to The Pale Man, and every Joker performance has been an attempt to get this demon that haunts off the page and into the realm of film and TV.
Any performance you disagree with? Any ones you like? Comment below! Argue with us. We love it.