How Does Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Compare to Heath Ledger’s?

Joaquin Phoenix delivers a very unique version of the well known villain, The Joker. We have seen the Joker for years on our screens, most notable performances would be Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and of course Heath Ledger. These three stand out as the best performances, all of them have a darkness element behind them, their characters cause chaos all throughout their stories, but aside from Jack Nicholson’s performance we never really see much about Joker’s back story until now. For me, i never really wanted to see where Joker came from, it was all apart of the mystery and intrigue and it made him a better character not knowing how he became so crazy.

Heath Ledger’s Joker was an incredible performance, a guy who just liked causing pain because he enjoyed it, he loved chaos and he climbed the ladder of chaos as Little Finger would say. We never got told why he liked doing this so much and we didn’t need to know, this is the Joker at his best, in his prime, facing off with Batman. The look that heath got was perfect, from the long crazy green hair to the comedic purple suit and makeup, he looked the part. The scene where he burns all his money was a perfect summary of what his character stands for, which is pretty much nothing, he does things because he loves it.

And then we get to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and he is completely different, he starts off as a humble, insecure person who just wants to make the world a better place. He just wants to make his mum happy and make everyone around him smile. He has a mental illness which causes him to laugh all the time and it causes him such pain. The world keeps beating him and beating him until eventually he snaps, he has enough of society and how he gets treated and he chooses to kill those three men on the train. But as the film goes on he starts becoming The Joker, the turning point for me is when he kills his mother, he finally doesn’t care about the world, he stops playing by the rules and comes to terms with who he is.

The Difference?

These two versions of the Joker are completely different, Heath Ledger is a criminal mastermind who runs a massive amount of people, he manipulates people into doing his dirty work and causes chaos for fun, while Joaquin Phoenix is just the starting point of him becoming Joker, we see he struggles with self confidence and spelling of simple words, i couldn’t see him being the criminal master mind that Heath was. They both deliver fantastic performances in very different movies, one is a Batman movie and one is more of a psychological drama about a man abused by society. I still prefer Heath Ledger as the Joker but its hard to compare them when they are in such different movies, it would of been interesting to see what Heath could’ve done if he got a whole movie to himself.

An Article By Niall Kelly

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Joker [Blu-ray] [2019] [Region Free]
The Dark Knight Trilogy [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]