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The ultimate Joker showdown: Will Jared Leto be greater than Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson?

This is no laughing matter.

With the theatrical release of “Suicide Squad” fast approaching, there has been much buzz about Jared Leto’s performance as the infamous Batman foe, the Joker. There is even talk that his performance is the best interpretation of the maniacal villain yet. 

With such bold words, it’s time to look back on the most iconic cinematic live-action portrayals of the villain and decide, once and for all, who is the best Joker. 

Jared Leto — “Suicide Squad” | 2016

A glimpse of Jared Leto as the Joker in "Suicide Squad."

The latest interpretation of the Joker offers a new generation a more tattooed and modern villain. The teasing amount of clips offered hints that this portrayal will be just as psychotic and crazy as the others. However, will past depictions ultimately overshadow this one? 

Heath Ledger — “The Dark Knight” | 2008

Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight."
Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight." (Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.)

In Christopher Nolan’s dark re-imagining of the tortured villain, Heath Ledger both terrified and astounded viewers with his intense portrayal. This performance ultimately led to Ledger receiving a posthumous Oscar for supporting actor.

Watch a clip of Heath Ledger as the Joker here.

Jack Nicholson — “Batman” | 1989

Jack Nicholson as the Joker in "Batman."
Jack Nicholson as the Joker in "Batman." (United Archives / Getty Images)

Jack Nicholson’s depiction of the Joker in “Batman” remains one of the most iconic performances as the villain to date. Through Tim Burton’s film and Nicholson’s portrayal, the Joker took a darker turn on screen — and has yet to look back.

Watch a clip of Jack Nicholson as the Joker here.

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