For over a decade, the relationship between DC Comics and Warner Bros. has been nothing short of amazing. From the ground-breaking success of the Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings films to the latest instalments of the iconic superhero franchises, Warner Bros. and their partner in crime, DC Comics have always delivered cinematic gold.

But the synergy between these two iconic studios could not have been more perfectly tailored to bring us this year’s epic clash – between the brilliant comedian and bad guy, The Joker and the Dark Knight himself, Batman.

Let’s take a trip back in time to see how it all began.

The Dark Knight Begins

The year is 2008, and we’re introduced to a character that would go on to become one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. Based on the popular comic book series, The Dark Knight is an origins story that follows the rise of a Batman who sets out to capture the imagination of the world. Led by director Christopher Nolan, the creative minds behind the incredible Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and one of the most iconic supervillains of all time, The Joker, join forces to bring you one of the most memorable superhero rivalries of all time.

The Joker vs. The Penguin

The biggest surprise of The Dark Knight isn’t its villain – it’s the inclusion of two of the most iconic comedic supervillains of all time. Based on the popular character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, The Joker’s relationship with Batman is a well-established one: the Joker is an eccentric and quirky genius who sees Batman as his ultimate mark. He’s obsessed with creating chaos and anarchy, and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, even crossing over into mainstream society to recruit a gang of ruthless killers called the Jokerz. As one of the most prominent members of the Jokerz, Harley Quinn – who shares a psychotic obsession with the Joker – sees Batman as her ultimate mark too, and the pair’s rivalry is guaranteed to be a wild and entertaining ride.

The Riddler Vs. The Joker

Not content with recruiting the Joker and Harley Quinn, the riddling madman, Alfred Pennyworth, also roped in the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, to take on the role of the district attorney in the film. With the help of a beautiful yet deadly woman named Rachel Palmer (Katinka Maia), the eccentric genius poses a threat that cannot be contained as he leads an army of crazies – The Jokerz – in a campaign of violence and extortion against the city of Gotham.

Alfred’s Dinner Party

The scene that had audiences in stitches was a dinner party thrown by the legendary Alfred Pennyworth. It’s a party where everyone is invited – except one person: the Joker. After a series of misunderstandings that end with Alfred throwing a very strange dinner party, the Joker decides to attend anyway. When he arrives, he sees all of the guests lined up outside, ready to party. With an uncharacteristically serious tone, the Joker warns Alfred that they’re not really party guests because they’re not having fun. Suddenly, everyone at the party is trying to have fun – but they all have to pretend to be having fun because the Joker won’t let them be real. It’s an incredible scene that perfectly encapsulates the twisted mind of this dangerous and unpredictable adversary.

Suicide Squad

The Dark Knight’s Suicide Squad was only ever meant to be a stop-gap measure until the release of Man of Steel. But the team of oddball supervillains recruited by Batman to help him take down the fascist Superman, they end up having a much longer lifespan than expected. Tasked with stopping metahuman threats, the Suicide Squad battles everything from the biggest creatures to the biggest buildings. But their biggest challenge may just lie in their own leader: Deadshot.

Based on the comic book character designed by Frank Miller and Michael Turner, Deadshot is a master at close-quarters combat who relies on his quick draw to take down targets. But this elite marksman’s skill doesn’t come without a steep cost. His closest friends and family members were all killed during the making of the film. And although he didn’t share the screen with any of them, he’s been haunted by the tragedy ever since, driven to kill himself in the line of duty as many times as possible.

What’s fascinating about the rise of these iconic bad boys is how each villain’s story influenced future plotlines and character development. Before we knew it, the rivalry between these two brimming with life and energy would become one of the most enduring sagas in superhero movie history. We take a look at how their story continues to unfold in the Marvel Cinematic Universe today:

A Look Back

The remarkable thing about the DC Comics cinematic universe is how integrated it all is. Whether you’ve been a fan of the comics for years or you’re discovering the amazing world of DC for the first time, everything connects seamlessly from character to character, movie to movie. As much as we want to look forward to the standalone films which will bridge the gaps in the story arc, it’s hard not to appreciate how special it is that so much effort has been put into creating this incredible universe.

The fact that these two iconic franchises can work together to create a cohesive and well-oiled cinematic machine is something to be celebrated. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t cherish the great solo pieces as well, because let’s face it, when it comes to comics, there’s always more than one way to tell a story.