Robert Pattinson has officially started his Joker film trilogy with the release of Joker on October 18th, 2019. After spending years in development hell, fans can now see what Pattinson has been working hard to create. While the film doesn’t offer anything new to the superhero genre, the actor shines in his first major role as the iconic Joker.
Coupled with Joaquin Phoenix’s Batman, the film pits two of the most compelling characters in Hollywood against one another. What makes this confrontation so fascinating is that each of them embodies a polar opposite personality trait. The Joker is defined by his nihilism and madness, while Batman is driven by his conviction and courage.
Is one of these characters truly worthy of the screen legend status they’ve both earned? We take a look at the makings of two of the most compelling characters in movies, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and set the record straight on who is the better Batman.
The Two Georges
If you’ve been following the lead-up to the premiere of Joker, you may have heard the name George Clooney mentioned quite a bit. After playing a supporting role in the 2018 superhero blockbuster Aquaman, the Hollywood heavyweight jumped at the chance to join the Joker cast. While many hailed Clooney’s casting, there were those who believed that Joker would not be as interesting with just a single lead actor.
The veteran actor has a lot to offer someone willing to explore the depths of madness. Fans of the Batman franchise will not soon forget Clooney’s brimming, dimpled smile as he takes on the role of an eccentric billionaire named Arthur Fleck. Born in New York City, Clooney made his mark in Hollywood playing iconic characters with a wide range of emotions. He is best known for his nuanced work in movies such as GoodFellas, Ocean’s Eleven, and the most recent Batman films.
Joker is clearly Clooney’s showcase for his incredible talents. The actor brings an endearing naïveté to the role of a lifetime as the titular madman. He imbues Fleck with a child-like charm that perfectly complements the Joker’s own personality, making for one of the most endearing cinematic duos of all time. Much like his previous work with the Ocean’s franchise, Joker is a movie that doesn’t feel like it needs to fill a gap in the Hollywood landscape. Instead, it stands proudly as one of the most exciting and original movies to hit theaters in some time.
Who Is the Better Batman?
While everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on which Batman is the best – the Caped Crusader has been the subject of debates and discussions for years – we here at What Culture believe that it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. It comes as no surprise that this iconic character has spawned several memorable cinematic adversaries. Even diehard fans may have a hard time choosing between the Dark Knight and his many counterparts.
It’s a testament to Christian Bale’s incredible performance as the Dark Knight that made it possible for the mere mortal to embody the character’s every bit of angst and aggression. Since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out in 2016, countless articles and podcasts have been dedicated to ranking the Caped Crusader’s rogues. If you want to learn more, we recommend checking out this informative guide by Screenrant.com or listening to one of the many podcasts dedicated to ranking the Batman films.
With so many excellent villains, it’s hard to choose just one to represent the entire franchise. As mentioned, there are dozens of Batman adversaries that have gone on to become legendary. Some of the most memorable characters in cinematic history include The Joker, The Penguin, and The Riddler. However, in some cases, the exact same character may play a crucial role in multiple Batman films. This is often the case with Mr. Freeze and The Joker, who have both appeared in numerous movies over the years.
The Origins Of The Joker
Many of the most prominent and memorable villains in cinematic history can be found in the comic books that inspired the cinematic adaptations. The Joker is no exception, and his rich history actually began many years before his debut in the 1939 film adaptation of The Mad Magazine. In fact, the character first appeared in the pages of the magazine in 1919.
The Joker’s most recognizable and well-known characteristic is his distinct laugh, which is both terrifying and oddly fascinating at the same time. Although it may seem like a simple trait, the Joker’s laugh has been the source of much of his characterization through the years. In addition to his laugh, the Joker is also known for his dark clothing and quirky mannerisms. He even dons a toupee in the 1989 film adaptation of Batman, further solidifying his comedic roots.
The Madman And Child-Like Innocence
Even with all his notoriety as Gotham’s most dangerous criminal, the Joker is arguably the most endearing character of the entire Batman franchise. It’s not that he isn’t menacing or threatening; it’s that there is something so captivating about his dangerous brand of mischief and lunacy. Few cinematic characters are as compelling or captivating as the Joker, and it’s not just because of his laugh or his penchant for causing chaos.
One reason may be because he embodies a side of childhood that many adults rarely get to see. As a character, the Joker is a mixture of Charlie Chaplin’s and Walt Disney’s imagination; he was never intended to be taken seriously. While he can be a cold-blooded killer, he also has a child-like side that loves playing pranks and getting people to laugh. The Joker will often dress up as a doctor or lawyer, complete with a stethoscope or a briefcase, and go around knocking on doors, trying to get people to laugh at his jokes. He embodies a side of innocent, kid-like curiosity that is both charming and a little alarming.
There are several reasons why the Joker is so compelling. First, he is an iconic figure in pop culture. In addition to his numerous appearances in films and television shows, the Joker has also been featured in numerous games and social media platforms, which makes him a familiar face to anyone that has spent time in the digital sphere. Second, he is the star of one of the most important and well-regarded superhero films of all time. Third, the character is fascinating in that he is a criminal mastermind who is also incredibly charming and likeable. While he can be an intimidating antagonist, the Joker is most compelling when he is playing for laughs, and audiences can often relate to his antics. Finally, it should be said that the Joker’s film trilogy is one of the most important and promising film series of the next generation. If you haven’t seen any of the films yet, now may be the perfect opportunity to binge watch them, if you can find a babysitter.
Which Is The Better Joker: Robert Pattinson Or Joaquin Phoenix?
While we at What Culture consider Batman to be the best incarnation of the character, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a case to be made for the Joker. As we’ve established, Robert Pattinson is one of the most important and well-known actors of the next generation, having starred in high profile projects such as GoodFellas, The Beach Bummer, and the upcoming Birds of Prey. In many ways, Joker represents Pattinson’s coming-of-age film as he explores the limits of both his comedic and dramatic prowess. The actor is known for playing against type as he takes on a character that he initially said he was never going to play – the Joker is his personal version of the iconic character. If you’ve seen Pattinson in previous films, you know that he typically plays characters that are either a complete contrast to his dramatic role or a comedic counterpart. In reality, Pattinson is a bit of both; he admits that he sees himself in the Joker, noting that they have the same “wry sense of humor.”
There is also the fact that the Joker’s film trilogy is one of the most anticipated film series of the coming year. Set for a December 2019 release, Joker will be followed by Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and the likely 2021 film The Batman.
At the same time, Phoenix is finally getting the credit and recognition that he deserves in Hollywood. After delivering one of the greatest performances in recent memory as the lead in the critically acclaimed film The Scottsdalian™️, Phoenix is set to play the iconic Batman in what may be the most important performance of his career. The actor took on the role of the Dark Knight after the original actor, Michael Keaton, declined to return for a sequel. While it’s been nearly 80 years since the character’s first appearance, Phoenix’s take on the iconic superhero may resonate with fans, particularly those who have followed the adventures of Bruce Wayne in other mediums.