While many a superhero film has had a villain problem, the Joker is one villain from the comics medium who has not only translated well, but also lent himself to a succession of compelling reinterpretations. He’s the greatest comic book villain of all time and he’s lit up the big screen with equal gusto. With Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker coming off a record-breaking box-office weekend, this is as good a time as any to rank the various iterations of the Clown Prince of Crime on film.

For an old-school fan of the J-man, it’s tempting to include Batman: The Animated Series and the 1960s live-action Batman TV series on this list. Both feature classic depictions of the Joker. Thankfully, their Jokers had such a taste for the theatrical that they also crossed over into movies. Not counting the animated movie Batman: The Killing Joke, which played in theaters for one night only before going direct-to-video, there have been seven cinematic Jokers since 1966.

If it doesn’t feel like we’re playing with a full deck here, well, since when has the Joker ever been wired that way? Regrettably, we don’t have time to mess around with the Proto-Jokers of the TV series Gotham, or any of the animated, direct-to-video Jokers of the DC Universe Movies. This is the meat-and-potatoes ranking of Jokers. I’ve developed a secret algorithm for a precise ordering that is infallibly correct. It’s called the Smylex Algorithm. “And here we … go.”

Jared Leto Joker performance

7. Jared Leto in Suicide Squad

The Joker in Suicide Squad feels more like a wisp from a montage than an actual movie character. He leaves us with a fascinating case study in how a film’s editing can eschew lucidity in favor of cacophony, to the detriment of its characters.

Philosophically, I’m not opposed to a Joker who has had his front teeth knocked out by Batman, so that he now sports a shiny grill along with his prison tattoos. I’m not even all that bothered by the goofy tat on his forehead that reads, “Damaged.” I mean, whatever. We’re all damaged, right?

The real issue with this Joker is that if you watched all the trailers and TV spots for Suicide Squad back in 2016, then you would have already seen the bulk of Leto’s performance (and maybe everything else worth seeing in the movie. That’s up for debate.)

When the Joker pops up in Suicide Squad, it’s frequently in flashback form. Fever-dream glimpses of him come to us through the mind of Harley Quinn. For an electroshocked brain such as hers, you could certainly make the case that memories should play like vignettes from an audiovisual nightmare. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of Joker, who only gets to breathe as a character in scenes like the one where he confronts Harley’s prison guard.

On the set of Suicide Squad, Leto’s method acting, or douchebaggery, or whatever you want to call it, reportedly included gifting his coworkers with live rats as well as sending them used condoms, dildos, and anal beads, among other things. Even though these stories came straight from the lips of Leto’s co-stars – seemingly reputable sources, like Will Smith and Joel Kinnaman — Leto later denied some of the rumors, as did director David Ayer (up to a certain point).

Taking a cue from Leto’s Joker look, perhaps, Suicide Squad‘s cast famously gave each other matching tattoos. In today’s day and age, I wouldn’t put it past a tight-knit cast like that to fabricate wild stories, as a gag, in the hopes that the news would go viral and garner more publicity for their movie. Who’d have thunk it, but when Angie Han interviewed Margot Robbie for /Film in 2016, Robbie said that Leto was “respectful, professional, and lovely.”

What we have here with this Joker is an instance where the look of the character and the dubious on-set stories about the actor portraying him are more interesting than what’s onscreen. Whatever the truth is about Leto, there’s a separate strand of hate that people seem to have for him, over and above the behind-the-scenes legends that surround Suicide Squad. It’s affected public perception of his Joker and I can’t really comment on it beyond what I’ve learned from night-Googling, “Why do people hate Jared Leto?”

In the final analysis, the version of Leto’s Joker that survives in the theatrical — and even the extended — cut of Suicide Squad is simply too insubstantial to warrant a higher spot on this list. We should take no pleasure in seeing any film fail to knock it out of the park with Joker. Somewhere in the world right now, some disappointed DC fan is thinking of Leto’s Joker as they rewatch Jack Nicholson’s and hear him recite the line, “If you could see inside, I’m really crying. You might join me for a weep.”

6. Zach Galifianakis in The Lego Batman Movie

Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy. Inborn comic talent isn’t a prerequisite, but a plus in the Joker-actor column. Two weeks before the new Joker movie landed in cinemas, Netflix’s Between Two Ferns: The Movie dropped (read our review here). It showed that Galifianakis still passes the laugh test when insulting celebrities and being maced in the face by cuckolds. In the 2000s, Galifianakis had a following for his comedy, but it was really ten years ago, in the summer of 2009 — when he co-starred in the smash-hit The Hangover — that he became a big bearded blip on everyone’s movie radar.

That film’s director, Todd Phillips, has since gone on to helm said Joker movie, while Galifianakis, in 2017, lent his voice to the lisping, pointy-toothed Joker in The Lego Batman Movie. What makes Lego Joker so endearing is his codependency on Batman. He just wants to be seen, recognized as an essential part of Batman’s life. Naturally, he regards himself as Batman’s greatest enemy. We’re all on the same page about that … everyone except Lego Batman.

The breakup of their one-sided bromance serves as the movie’s funny little inciting incident. Melodramatic, Zimmer-esque, saving-the-world music accompanies it. Galifianakis’ voice brings vulnerability to the Joker as their chucklesome, euphemistic dialogue riffs on his neediness and Batman’s aloofness.

Batman: “I’d say that I don’t currently have a bad guy. I am fighting a few different people. I like to fight around.”

Joker: “I’m fine with you fighting other people, if you want to do that. But what we have? This is special.”

Batman: “Whoa. Let me tell you something, jaybird. Batman doesn’t do ‘ships. As in ‘relationships.’ There is no ‘us.’ Batman and Joker are not a thing. I don’t need you. I don’t need anyone. You mean nothing to me. No one does.”

Our heart breaks with Lego Joker as he hears these words. What is it with Batman? Can’t he see what’s right in front of him, the love that’s there, if only he’ll open his crime-fighting heart to it? Who else drives him to one-up them the way Joker does?

While Bruce Wayne sits in the back of his Lego limo, watching the smarmy Superman chat on TV, Lego Joker is across town, feeling underappreciated. Soon, he devises a new plan: to surrender himself. He informs Batman, “You can’t fight me anymore. I’m off the market.” Since he serves, rightfully, as the ringleader over them, he even gift-wraps all the other Bat-villains, including some ridiculous, lesser-known ones, like Condiment King.

If Lego Joker has a flaw, it’s that his attempts at scaring people are sometimes met with awkward silence. “You should be terrified,” he tells them. They’re not, and neither are we, but Lego Joker still puts a big smile on the viewer’s face. Love that Joker.

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