After seeing the first ‘Joker’ trailer, fans had only one question: who played the character best? From Heath Ledger to Jack Nicholson to Joaquin Phoenix to even Jared Leto, fans went to war over their favorite Clown Prince of Crime.
As soon as the first trailer for Joker hit the Internet on April 3, the Internet had two predictable reactions: first, fans responded, either positively or negatively, to the sight of Joaquin Phoenix, 44, as the iconic character; secondly, they began comparing his version to those who played the DC villain before him. From Heath Ledger stans to die-hard Jack Nicholson fans to a few Jared Leto apologists, it was a full-fledge Joker fight online.
“Can we all just get on the same page and admit that Joaquin Phoenix is our greatest living actor working today?” one fan tweeted, while another shared a gif from the trailer that showed Joaquin forcing himself to smile. “This moment and this moment alone, Joaquin Phoenix has sold me on his iteration of the Joker.” “Joaquin Phoenix as Joker is one the GREATEST things yet to happen to Hollywood,” another fan added, but many disagreed.
“I feel like [Joaquin] will be ok, nothings topping Heath ledger tho. That performance was godlike,” one fan said. “Looks good but best joker was heath ledger,” another fan said in response to the trailer. “Looks okay I guess. Heath Ledger has ruined it for me, I can’t see any other Joker without comparing it to his magical spine chilling performance,” one pro-Ledger fan tweeted. “Heath Ledger will always be the best Joker,” another added, and many seemed to agree, as “Heath Ledger” was trending shortly after the Joker trailer dropped.
Watched the trailer for the #Joker movie and it looks killer. Ever since hearing that Joaquin Phoenix was on board I was pretty interested.
It's less a superhero movie and more of a grounded in reality type of flick, gave me some Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer vibes pic.twitter.com/JL0BkBSvYs
— AlphaOmegaSin (@AlphaOmegaSin) April 3, 2019
— JOHN (@mccusker86) April 3, 2019
As fans began ranking movie Jokers, many had Jack Nicholson up towards the top of the list. “bruh Joaquin Phoenix’s joker bout to be up there with Jack Nicholson’s tbh,” one said, giving high praise to Joaquin. “Heath Ledger’s performance was the most compelling & impressive. Jack Nicholson’s was the most entertaining & plain fun. Jared Leto’s was just… so very wrong & pathetic & should be consigned to the dustbin of history,” another added. Oh, yeah. Jared Leto’s version was…not a hit, especially after the Joker trailer. While most fans trashed his take on the character in Suicide Squad, some actually had a soft spot for his rendition of the DC supervillain.
“I don’t care what anybody says Jared Leto joker was the second best behind heath ledger and he deserved his own movie,” one fan tweeted. “Unpopular Opinion: Jared Leto didn’t get a fair opportunity to portray Joker in Suicide Squad. Him & Margot Robbie should’ve had a Joker x Harley Quinn movie before SS,” another one added.
While there isn’t a correct answer to “who’s the best Joker,” saying that Mark Hamil’s version, as seen on the animated Batman series of the 90s, is not wrong. Fans will have plenty of time to continue this argument, as Joker is not due to be released until October 4, 2019.