The Joker - Best Portrayal in a LIVE Movie (Poll)

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by daca, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. daca

    daca Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Let’s see how much the recency effect has played into forum member’s opinions.

    Sorry Mark Hamill, while you are clearly the best animated Joker, this poll is for the best portrayal of the live action Joker on the silver screen.
  2. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    Ledger is still the best, though just having got out of the new Joker film, Phoenix gave a performance for the ages and is certainly up there as well. Jack was also amazing. Romero was great as a silver age type Joker. Leto was terrible. I voted Ledger.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
    daca likes this.
  3. 2trackmind

    2trackmind Forum Resident

    It will always be Cesar Romero for me.
  4. GodShifter

    GodShifter \m/®

    Dallas, TX, USA
    I haven't seen the new one so I cannot say anything about Phoenix's performance. It's perhaps an unpopular opinion, but I really thought Jared Leto's performance (as truncated as it was) in Suicide Squad was pretty good. I think he probably encapsulated the truest spirit of The Joker from the comic books. Granted, the movie was a dud, but I thought he did well in it.
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  5. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    There were some creepy moments with Leto's Joker in Suicide Squad, but he was mostly a gaudy wankster thug and I don't see how he was anything like the comics version. Margot Robbie stole that movie.

    I thought Ledger's agent of chaos in The Dark Knight was a very bold take--no credible backstory or origin, just pure anarchy which fit perfectly with Nolan's movie vision.

    The only one to closely match the comics so far is Nicholson's take, with the villain falling into the vat of chemicals that turns his hair green and bleaches his skin white.
  6. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    daca likes this.
  7. xdawg

    xdawg Dys Mymbyr

    Roswell, GA, USA
    I still like Jack Nicholson's portrayal the best. Also, I know it's not a movie, but Cameron Monaghan played the Joker's part very well in the "Gotham" TV series.
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  8. neo123

    neo123 Forum Resident

    Northern Kentucky
    Nicholson's is definitely the best if we are talking about how close the portrayal is to the comics.

    But if we talk about acting, I think it is a toss up between Ledger and Phoenix. (I think Jack was just playing Jack in his portrayal and he had prior roles of "crazy" to fall back on from Cuckoo's Nest and The Shining.) Ledger and Phoenix probably immersed themselves into the role more than Jack did, whether it was doing method acting, researching and studying other actors/films, etc. I feel like Jack didn't have to work very hard to earn his paycheck, whereas Ledger and Phoenix did.

    Cesar Romero's Joker, though, fit the campiness of the TV show. That type of portrayal wouldn't be taken too seriously in today's TV shows and movies.

    Jared Leto's Joker I didn't like. Too much of an insane gangster for my liking.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  9. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    I think Jack brought a sense of horrific realism to the role (even if it was very much just Jack). If someone like the Joker really existed, it would be horrible, and that's what Jack brought--kind of this entitled, smug, devil-may-care gangster attitude to the part where anything could have happened--while at the same time, being very colorful and fun and clown-like. Seems like that was something Leto was going for a bit, and there were flashes of it. But I've also heard a lot of Leto's Joker scenes from Suicide Squad also ended up on the cutting room floor for whatever reason.
  10. daca

    daca Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Agree. The Joker wasn’t a far stretch from Jack’s core repotrioe. Just as King didn’t care for him in The Shining (as audiences could see where it was heading) I didn’t think Jack had to do the same method acting, studying, and getting / being immersed into the character the way Ledger, and for that matter Phoenix did.

    Ledger probably took it a little too far. However, I think Ledger’s Joker will be the gold standard to which all future iterations of the Joker are compared.

    Either it was someone who doesn’t like his band, or more likely, it was even worse than what actually appeared in the movie, if that is even possible???!!!
    Bluesman Mark, neo123 and Chrome_Head like this.
  11. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Aloha, OR
    loved nicholson, but he was almost too macho imo. it's very hard to choose my favorite between him, romero and ledger as they're all distinct versions of the character.
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  12. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Looking forward to seeing the new one, but Ledger's Joker was next level.
  13. motionoftheocean

    motionoftheocean Forum Resident

    saw the new one on Thursday evening. speaking purely about the development of a character, Phoenix's portrayal is the most versatile of any on the list as he had the most work to do. as great as Ledger was, we only ever see him as The Joker - he's virtually a fully-formed entity from the moment he appears on screen. Phoenix is the only actor on the list who had to build the Joker more or less from scratch (I say more or less because the mythology of the character is well enough defined that no actor is really starting from ground zero). Phoenix starts with a middling little man who likes putting on clown make-up and was required to keep you on board with him for two hours in the hope of the arch-villain payoff. Nicholson's Jack Napier is a charismatic ladies' man who's also a criminal sociopath (and a high-level one in a syndicate). He gets dropped in a vat of acid by Batman after being betrayed by his crime-syndicate boss (whose girlfriend he's cheating with). So now he's completely nuts and has super white skin. Not exactly the biggest leap. Phoenix is just some dude living with his sick mother. everything about him is delusion and the way in which his delusion bends reality. I love Nicholson's portrayal but it's a totally different animal.

    Plus this list is a bit of apples and oranges since Phoenix doesn't even really become "The Joker" until the last 15 or so minutes of the film (and even that is arguable).
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  14. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Voted Ledger - love that movie too much to ever change that vote, honestly.

    This poll seems premature, though, as there'll be a bias against Phoenix just because his movie's so new!
    Bluesman Mark likes this.
  15. Time Is On My Side

    Time Is On My Side Forum Resident

    Your mom's house
    Jack Nicholson though I did enjoy Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal a lot.
  16. jwoverho

    jwoverho Senior Member

    Mobile, AL USA
    I haven’t seen Phoenix yet, but he’s an incredible actor.

    Ledger’s is surely the performance by which all others are measured, but growing up with Romero’s, his to me is iconic. Campy, but still a wonderful portrayal.
    Greg Gee likes this.
  17. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Well, it depends on which comics we're talking about. Romero's Joker perfectly captured the character as depicted in comics from 1942-1972 or so. The 21st-Century Joker is really a completely different character.
  18. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    I can’t say about Phoenix since I haven’t gotten to see the movie (and it’s too recent to boot).

    That said, it’s definitely Ledger, he took an already iconic character and made it his own without losing the spirit. Pure nihilism and terror, while also still having some funny moments (usually in a really sick/wrong sort of way as befitting the Joker).

    While Nicholson obviously didn’t have to stretch much like Ledger or even Phoenix did, I still found him a very enjoyable Joker, very dark sense of humor while also having the ego and even menace when necessary.

    Cesar Romero, even with his poorly covered up mustache, was still a treat for that show.

    Leto? The less said about him, the better.
    Bluesman Mark likes this.
  19. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    Hell the Joker of the 1980’s was far different than the Joker of the 40’s-70’s. He shot and paralyzed Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke (a one-off ‘graphic novel’ who’s events became canon in the ongoing comics), and then kidnapped and tortured Commissioner Gordon with pictures of the shooting.

    It’s crazy how much Phoenix’s “Arthur Fleck” resembles the pre-vat of chemicals Joker of the The Killing Joke in appearance.
    Zoot Marimba likes this.
  20. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Watched The X-Files the other night. Brad Dourif in Beyond the Sea. It's the Heath Ledger joker, down to the hair.
  21. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    Not only is the poll very premature, each Joker inhabits a seemingly very different universe that in a way we're comparing Batman movies, and one of these doesn't even have Batman. I haven't seen The Joker yet. But I'm voting for Nicholson, as I enjoy his Joker the most. Cesar Romero was great for the old TV show, but his Joker is in no way trying to terrify anyone, so comparing that against the more modern ones is odd.
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  22. porieux

    porieux plook me now you savage rascal

    SF Bay Area
    Nicholson by far though I haven’t seen the new one.

    Ledger’s Joker is so overrated; I find it ham fisted, lacking subtlety and obvious personally.
    I think people just like it so much because of his passing right after.
  23. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    agreed. every time someone mentions it I simply ask for a great line or something heath did and everything they start talking about are plot points but can't quote me a lone. jack had about a dozen memorable quotes
  24. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Say, "Wait until they get a load of me" to most people, and they'll know what you are talking about.
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  25. vinyl_puppy

    vinyl_puppy Der Weaselschnitzel

    Santa Rosa, CA
    Or, "Why so serious?"

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