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Author Topic: Top 5 Joker Portrayals  (Read 361 times)

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Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« on: September 10, 2014, 06:44:44 AM »
Top 5 Joker Portrayals

I have to say that I agree 100% with this guy's opinion piece.  Read the article for further details.

Ledger's Joker lacked any real whimsy, which is crucial to the character in my opinion.

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Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 09:13:01 AM »
Hamill's Joker is the best, but I think the Arkhamverse Joker is probably better than the DCAU one. That's just personal opinion. I think the T-rated PG-13ness of those games really allowed him to mix that whimsy with the lethal psychopathy.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 10:03:15 AM »
I have to say that Ledger's Joker doesn't even rate on my top five.  I think Hamill might be a case of apples and oranges, though, because a good portion of what made Nicholson and Romero 'The Joker' was their body language.  Hamill kind of gets a pass on that, because the animators are doing all the action.  That said, Mark Hamill does an excellent animated villain.  (He was also the Trickster in the Flash, both live action and animated.)

Offline Beorning

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 11:54:02 AM »
I admit that I liked Ledger's Joker. But I must say that I'm not that big fan of Joker overall, so I'm no expert...

Offline Shjade

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2014, 01:52:43 AM »
What I've said about Ledger's performance in TDK since the first time I saw it to anyone who's ever asked:

"I think Ledger was great. He carried that movie. His villainous performance was top notch. But whoever he was playing, it wasn't the Joker."

And I'll stick with that. Like the guy in the OP's article noted in the comments, if you take Ledger's character and put him in some other movie, I wouldn't see him and think, "That's the Joker." 'Cause he's just not. He's a dark psychopath that suits Nolan's version of Gotham pretty much perfectly, but he's not the Joker.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2014, 09:44:46 AM »
I felt that Ledger was going from the darker stories. Like the one where Batman has to go into Arkham to rescue hostages or the one Barbara Gordon is shot, neither of which I recall the title of right now.

Offline ambrosial

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2014, 10:19:43 AM »
I felt that Ledger was going from the darker stories. Like the one where Batman has to go into Arkham to rescue hostages or the one Barbara Gordon is shot, neither of which I recall the title of right now.

Morrison's Arkham Asylum and Moore's The Killing Joke, respectively, might be what you're thinking of?

Personally, I prefer Ledger's/Nolan's Joker because it deviates so dramatically from the previous versions, which to me seem almost too comical (it is a comic character, but still), and seems to draw off darker-themed publications like the two I listed above. Morrison's graphic novel is my favorite Batman publication in print, hands down, because it's so surreal and more of a psychological thriller/horror than a traditional superhero comic.

That, however, is just my opinion, and the fantastic thing about having so many different adaptations of the same characters is that there's always something for everyone :-)

Offline ShadowSlider

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2014, 10:30:14 AM »
I felt that Ledger was going from the darker stories. Like the one where Batman has to go into Arkham to rescue hostages or the one Barbara Gordon is shot, neither of which I recall the title of right now.

The Killing Joke is the one where Barbara gets shot, and honestly, I think you nailed it about where Ledger was coming from with the character. He took the darkest aspects of the character, the parts that hadn't yet been shown to most audiences, and went from there.

My personal list would be 1) Hamill, 2) Ledger, 3) Troy Baker*, 4) Nicholson, 5) Romero

I actually didn't really like the Burton movie, and Nicholson's Joker was the only reason I managed to finish it, but that said, he still doesn't quite stack up for my taste. He's not cartoony enough to compete with Hamill, and he's not dark enough to compete with Ledger. Instead, he comes off as this weird mix of both that worked great for the movie, but just doesn't work for me. Honestly, probably my overall favorite Joker is the one from the Arkham games. There, he's the perfect blend of funny and murderously psychopathic.

*Troy Baker voiced The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins, and is thus far the only voice actor after Mark Hamill that's actually managed to fill the shoes Hamill left behind. And here's a clip of him reading something out of The Killing Joke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29q_F-qGkqc&list=FLgdNglBkCe7hixMKVulP7iQ&index=5

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2014, 11:39:13 AM »
And that is what clicked with me. When I first heard Ledger was doing Batman, I was thinking..they are going to try and do Nickelson all over again. Then I saw it and it clicked for me. Every, to me, good batman brings his own take to the story. Hammil brought his in the animated series and Arkham. Romero did his take of the joker as he lived in the comics at that time. Jack did a similar, but more violent, take of the same. Ledger did it like it's said in the Killing Joke, the only thing that separates me from everyone is one really soul crushingly BAD day.

I am sad to not to get the chance to see what might have come from him if he hadn't died. A follow up could have been interesting.

I don't try to RATE who did the Joker best. Everyone who has did their own facet of the Joker legend. His perception of the joker.

Offline Vorian

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 03:57:53 PM »
What I've said about Ledger's performance in TDK since the first time I saw it to anyone who's ever asked:

"I think Ledger was great. He carried that movie. His villainous performance was top notch. But whoever he was playing, it wasn't the Joker."

And I'll stick with that. Like the guy in the OP's article noted in the comments, if you take Ledger's character and put him in some other movie, I wouldn't see him and think, "That's the Joker." 'Cause he's just not. He's a dark psychopath that suits Nolan's version of Gotham pretty much perfectly, but he's not the Joker.

+1

Though I felt similarly about the trilogy as a whole, to be honest.

The Killing Joke is actually my favorite Joker story so far. I like what I've seen of the Arkham games' Joker so far, but haven't really gotten into the games yet.

Offline Shjade

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 11:25:48 PM »
You guys say you like that Ledger took the "darkest parts" of the Joker and cite The Killing Joke for an example.

...the Killing Joke being a comic in which Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon to take him to a circus, complete with freakshow assistants, and puts him on the rides (while singing to him), culminating in a fight with Batman in the funhouse's hall of mirrors.

Ledger had the dark aspects down, no question. He had way too little of the "joke" in "Joker." The bit early on with the pencil trick? That seemed Jokerish to me. The rest? Just some mad bomber. Could've been anyone.

The Joker's a crazy mass-murderer, sure, but he's not the kind of guy to let that take the humor out of a situation!

edit: That Troy Baker reading's mighty fine. He's clearly trying to go with Hamill's kind of delivery, but hey, that's no bad thing in my book, and he does it really well. Full marks.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 11:42:11 PM by Shjade »

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Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2014, 10:01:30 AM »
Ledger's Joker works (as some have pointed out) in the Nolan-verse, where the more audacious aspects of the Joker's humor would be out of place. There are plenty of forms of very dark humor in Ledger's performance. They're just kind of subdued, which worked perfectly for a more subdued Batman. The inverse is of course, Romero's Joker which worked great for the glorious camp that was Adam West Batman.

Offline ShadowSlider

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 01:29:44 PM »
You guys say you like that Ledger took the "darkest parts" of the Joker and cite The Killing Joke for an example.

...the Killing Joke being a comic in which Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon to take him to a circus, complete with freakshow assistants, and puts him on the rides (while singing to him), culminating in a fight with Batman in the funhouse's hall of mirrors.

Ledger had the dark aspects down, no question. He had way too little of the "joke" in "Joker." The bit early on with the pencil trick? That seemed Jokerish to me. The rest? Just some mad bomber. Could've been anyone.

The Joker's a crazy mass-murderer, sure, but he's not the kind of guy to let that take the humor out of a situation!

edit: That Troy Baker reading's mighty fine. He's clearly trying to go with Hamill's kind of delivery, but hey, that's no bad thing in my book, and he does it really well. Full marks.

A lot of the Joker's jokes in TDK after the pencil trick (which was my second favorite scene in the film) are much more subtle, like the red "S" he painted on the side of the 18 wheeler so that the text read "You can't spell slaughter without laughter" or something like that. And there's also the trick with switching the doctors and henchmen during the climax, so that the SWAT teams would have killed all the hostages instead. To me, that just screams Joker. Oh, and I almost forgot the bank heist in the very beginning, where he forces people to hold on to live grenades instead of tying them up. That also struck me as a very Joker thing to do. Also that trick where he gags the bank manager with the grenade tied to the string of his shirt which pulls the pin as he drives away, revealing it to be a harmless smoke grenade. Then there's the "I'm only burning my half" scene.

And now I think about it, his whole plot with Harvey Dent is very reminiscent of what he did to Gordon in The Killing Joke, only not as over-the-top, and he actually succeeded in TDK.

So yeah, it is absolutely true that Ledger plays a much more subtle Joker and I totally get why that turns people off, but to say that he didn't have any Jokerish moments? Not true at all.

Offline Shjade

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2014, 01:47:27 PM »
Here's the thing: I could just as easily picture Two-Face doing pretty much any and all of that just as easily as I could picture the Joker doing it (except maybe the petty S vandalism, which seems beneath either: Two-Face would've made it a message, Joker would've made it something over the top, probably). They've both used deception in a number of past schemes, they've both done complicated heists and been chaotic and destructive.

The difference?

Joker has a fun time doing it. Harvey's usually just pissed off (and goes with a 2-related theme most of the time - maybe the bank manager would've been given two grenades, one a smoke bomb the other a frag, for instance).

I can see your point. I simply disagree. I'm not "turned off" by Ledger's performance in TDK. It's a great performance of not-the-Joker, that's all. *shrug*

Offline Beorning

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2014, 02:19:16 PM »
Personally, I must admit that I kind of get the "not-the-Joker" complaint. As much as liked Ledger's portrayal, I walked out of the movie with the thought that Nolan sort of turned Joker into... something else. Something entertaining, but still...

Offline mia h

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2014, 10:52:28 AM »
If you at Nolan's trilogy he essential made cinematic versions of:
The Long Halloween
The Killing Joke
Knightfall\No Man's Land

So it's hardly surprising that Ledger's version of the Joker is straight out of The Killing Joke.

Offline Shjade

Re: Top 5 Joker Portrayals
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2014, 02:12:00 PM »
Except it isn't. See above re: circus, funhouse, freakshow, having fun. Pretty much the only thing TDK has in common with TKJ is the "anybody can go crazy, they just need to be pushed" bit, but targeting Dent instead of Gordon.