Opinion: The Dark Knight Has Ruined the Joker

Dark Knight’s Joker Ruined Joker

Okay. So, I know I’m on, like, everyone’s blacklist for this one, but it’s how I feel and I’m gonna say it. I love the Dark Knight. I love Heath Ledger’s Joker. He deserves every ounce of praise he has ever gotten for his final performance.

However, I feel like the Dark Knight ruined the Joker in comics.

Dark Knight Joker was a unique take on the character, one who challenged society and had grand plans about proving everyone is just as crazy as him and everything. Now he has become the default for Joker when he never should have been.

Why I feel this way

I miss prankster Joker. I miss the guy who used to throw pies in people’s faces and zap them with a cool joy buzzer. Why should Joker care about society and have something to say about people and mental illness or whatever?

He is a crazy clown man who kills people in morbidly funny ways. Every time Joker shows up now it’s treated as the biggest deal ever and like he’s going to “change everything forever” and “will make Batman realize they’re not so different(again).”

We never get fun things like Joker wanting to patent a fish he created or anything anymore. He’s just…not funny. And the Joker should be funny, it’s his whole thing, he’s a clown, he should be funny even in a morbid sense.

Examples of what I mean

New 52


New 52’s Joker is a big example of what I mean. He’s just not very funny. When he started, he had his face cut off and had it tied to him like a mask.

Where’s the joke in that? How is that supposed to be funny? Well, I’ll tell you that there isn’t one. In fact, it’s some kind of “deep meaning” where “without his ‘mask’ he’s still the same person, unlike the BatFam.”

It feels like it’s trying too hard to be darker and more serious than Dark Knight’s Joker and is just laughable (and not in a good way). And then he falls in some healing goo that fixes him and tries to make Batman think he’s some kind of god… just because.

Okay now THAT I can kinda get behind because that is pretty funny that he went through all that effort just to mess with Batman. Unfortunately he still has that complex of “Everyone is just as crazy as me I’m just not afraid to show it” and I just do not care for it.


What riddle? He’s a crazy man. There. I solved it.

And then there’s Rebirth. Tom King’s big Joker story “The War of Jokes and Riddles” has a similar problem for me. Joker can’t laugh anymore, he’s lost his smile.

And the Riddler has challenged him for the right to kill Batman. Except it wasn’t even about that, it was all about “solving the riddle of the Joker.”

What does that even mean? What riddle? He’s a crazy man. There. I solved it.

Okay, in reality he wants to know why Joker isn’t laughing anymore. And I guess what he needed to see to get him laughing again was… Batman attempting murder and then stabbing the Joker in the hand with a machete…I don’t get the joke.

Or, riddle, I guess.

Joaquin Phoenix

Not the mouthpiece for the mentally ill and impoverished.

Alright this one is the ultimate “we live in a society” Joker.

Let me just say that the Joker, the insane killer clown of death, should not be a mouthpiece for the mentally ill and impoverished. Like no matter what, you should not have the crazy evil clown be the guy going “You should look after the little guy,” because that makes the little guy look like a bunch of crazy clown people who kill people.

Anyway, Joker shouldn’t care about the little guy and want to fight the rich and society and whatever. I know this is “a ‘new’ take on Joker” and “is basically Joker in name only,” but I’m still going to compare him to other Jokers, because the name of the movie is Joker, and the main character is Joker.

Anyway, I can’t think of a single scene in this movie where I can go “Hey that’s kinda funny even in a messed up way” or anything like I should with Joker.

Anyway, Joaquin gives a hell of a performance, I will never deny that. But I can’t say I liked his Joker that much.


Final Thoughts

Alright I’m sure I’ve pissed off enough people with this one, but it is how I feel. I know plenty of people who disagree hard with me and they have every right to, because these Jokers are all valid.

They’re all good in some way, I’m just not a big fan of them personally. And ever since Dark Knight, I just…haven’t cared about the Joker.

I prefer the classic kind of prankster Joker.

What I’m saying is DC better get along with Three Jokers already so I can get some of that classic Joker again in the comics.

I can’t wait for that book to come out in 2053!

Brian Daley

Brian Daley

Full Sail college student. Nerd extraordinaire since 2003. Lover of all things superhero, Star Wars, video game, or cartoon related. Spends WAAAAAY too much money on these books and movies.

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Full Sail college student. Nerd extraordinaire since 2003. Lover of all things superhero, Star Wars, video game, or cartoon related. Spends WAAAAAY too much money on these books and movies.

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