Will The Real Mista J Please Stand Up
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Will The Real Mista J Please Stand Up

The actors that faced scrutiny as the Joker.

Will The Real Mista J Please Stand Up

There are a many of us that have grown up knowing and loving the vigilante superhero, Batman. He has become a household name and has been many people, myself included, first favorite superhero. The DC Universe and the Bat have introduced us to a great group of super villains that we have grown to love, and at times, have rooted for to win. One of the most iconic super villains that have surfaced from Gotham City is the Joker. He is the man that is the Clown Prince of Crime and Insanity. There has never been much of a backstory of this iconic character, although there have been some who attempted to try to give him one that would be believable of why his character is the way he is. Alan Moore is one such person who created a backstory for the Clown Prince in "Batman: The Killing Joke." In which the Joker has flashbacks of his former life as a man who wants to be a stand-up comedian and tries to support himself and his expecting wife in this failed profession. He ends up falling into the wrong crowd and tries to help them break into a chemical plant. The crime goes wary when the police and, of course, Batman shows up. Then it is seen that the man that Joker once was falls into a vat of chemicals, discoloring his hair, and skin, as well as scarring his face. Other than that, nobody how he got the way he is; we just know we are intrigued by this violent sociopath.

Origin story aside, there have been many great actors who have donned the purple suit and white makeup to become the Joker. Each actor has created their own little version of this iconic character; making the laugh and persona come alive the best way that they can. The problem with trying to portray such a great character is that there is always going to be a lot of scrutiny. Everyone is always going to judge how you were in previous films and if that might carry over into being the Joker. To make it simpler: People are scared you will screw it up.

So here are three actors that we have all seen as the Joker that were on the receiving end of a lot of scrutiny before people went to see their debut as the Harlequin of Hate.

Jack Nicholson

In 1989, Tim Burton and Warner Bros. released the movie "Batman" with Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. This movie was a bit of a resurgence for the Batman franchise since the television show in the mid-sixties. A TV series that was more comedic and/ or campy than the serious atmosphere that we have grown to be accustomed to with any on-screen Batman entertainment. Burton’s movie was set in the city of Gotham that is usually riddled with crime. Within this movie, we are introduced to Jack Napier/the Joker played by Jack Nicholson. We see the Joker as a man within the mafia who then gets involved in a crime gone wary, causing him to make a fall into a vat of chemicals that will scar his face. Sound familiar? Yup, this is about the only live action movie where the audience gets any type of full on background story.

Nicholson has become to be one of the No. 1 Jokers in our hearts because of his betrayal of the character. He sold the act of a crazed criminal who loses his mind even more once his face is beyond repair. Nicholson not only plays on the side of the lunacy, but he adds in some “light” comedy with his character; comedy is not really shown with the Clown Prince now. But before Jack Nicholson took on this role, he was most known for movies that were light, romantic, and/or comedic. He was not seen to be a man that would perfectly embody a man of hate, crime, and violence. With his performance, he was able to change everyone’s mind, making them believe that he was born for this role. There are still some to this day that believe that no one could live up to his wonderful portrayal.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger took on the role of the Clown Prince of Crime in 2008 in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight." Unlike Burton’s "Batman," the audience never finds out how he got those scars. This Joker plays with a few stories here and there to keep you always wondering what happened to his face. Within this universe the Joker is a bit of mystery but at the same time highly well known among the city he wants to crumble.

When it was known that Ledger was going to be the Joker many people were unhappy with the decision. Who could surpass or stand up to Nicholson’s performance? How dare Nolan cast someone who is mostly known for his romantic movies? They all thought this movie was going to be a bust because Ledger didn’t seem fit for the role. But guess what…he did exactly what Nicholson did. He blew them all away with his performance. There was not a single sign that this was the man that was in "10 Things I Hate About You"and "Brokeback Mountain." He embodied this role to a “T” to the point it was hard to tell where the actor ended and where the character began. Ledger made this character his own; creating the manic persona that he read in "Batman: The Killing Joke" and bringing a new whiff of fresh air along with it. He will forever be praised as one of the best Jokers that had ever lived.

Jared Leto

Now this is where the real controversy begins. I had heard non-stop before the release of "Suicide Squad" that people were unhappy about Jared Leto being the Joker. How could he live up to the iconic performance that Heath Ledger had created? Many people thought that it was a cosmic joke and hoped that it would blow over. Surprise! This isn’t some joke that this clown made up. Unlike the two previous actors, Jared Leto isn’t mostly known for being a romantic actor. His filmography is quite diverse with him portraying how addictions can ruin a person’s life in "Requiem for a Dream" and being a transgender woman in "Dallas Buyers Club." Leto is also well known for being the lead singer in the band 30 Seconds to Mars.

So how could a diverse actor and singer do well as the Joker? Well, he could do a pretty astonishing job. Of course he is no Heath Ledger, just like Heath Ledger was no Jack Nicholson. Leto made this role his own by bringing a different card to the table. This Joker is seen more as the “gangster” type to fit into the modern world, and wants to make the city of Gotham his amusement park. It is all to fit into the times of this new Batman universe.

"Suicide Squad" is still fairly new, but there are some people out there that have changed their tune about Leto’s performance. His screen time only totals around 10 to 15 minutes, but it is still enough to make an impression. Personally, I think he did a great job; he gave me chills every time he spoke and his laugh raised the hairs on my arms. It is definitely worth the see and to make your own personal opinion. After all, we have given the others tries and turned out to highly enjoy them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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