- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of the Joker from the DC Extended Universe. The mainstream version can be found here: Joker (DC).
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|“||Oh, I'm not gonna kill you. I'm just gonna hurt you, really, really bad.||„|
|~ The Joker's most famous quote.|
|“||I am not someone who is loved. I'm an idea. A state of mind. I execute my will according to my plan. And you, Doctor... are not part of my plan.||„|
|~ Joker to Harley Quinn.|
|“||Au contraire my little fish stick. He knows exactly what it's like to lose someone he loves. You know, like a...a father, like a mother. Like an adopted son. Isn't that right, Batman?||„|
|~ Joker taunting both Mera and Batman in the Knightmare future.|
The Joker is a major antagonist in the DC Extended Universe, appearing as an unseen yet pivotal antagonist in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a major antagonist in Suicide Squad, the unseen overarching antagonist of Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn), a minor character in Zack Snyder's Justice League and a mentioned character in The Suicide Squad.
He is Batman's archenemy, the former lover of Harley Quinn and a psychotic crime lord as well as a terrorist mastermind in Gotham City. He was responsible for killing Dick Grayson, alias Robin, which led Batman to become a more violent crime fighter as the years went by.
He was portrayed by Jared Leto, who also played Angel Face in Fight Club, Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream, Junior in Panic Room, Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049 and Morbius in the upcoming movie of the same name. He was portrayed by Johnny Goth in Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn).
Much like every single incarnation of the Joker's character, nothing is actually really known about the Joker's true identity or past. In some point unknown, he had become influential and menacing figure in the crime world of Gotham City, and had shown everyone what he truly is; extremely murderous crime lord the world has never knew.
During the chemical bath scene with Harley Quinn, or as it is nicknamed, the "Chemical Wedding", many suspected that Joker's origin relates to the chemical vat Harley Quinn jumps into.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Many years prior to the events of Dawn of Justice, Joker killed Batman's protege, Jason Todd, with Harley as his accomplice. When Batman found Robin's costume graffitied with "ha, ha, ha, jokes on you, Batman!", Batman hunted Joker down and knocked out Joker's teeth in his fury.
Flashbacks in the film reveal that Joker manipulated psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel into falling in love with him during his time as a patient at Arkham Asylum. He eventually manages to convince her to free him, and after his men take over the asylum, he gives Dr. Quinzel electroshock therapy after learning that he was consumed by rage and confusion. Quinzel then volunteers to jump into the chemicals that created the Joker, bleaching her skin and completing her transformation into his lover, Harley Quinn. The Joker and Harley would then be known as the "King and Queen of Gotham". However, Quinn is ultimately apprehended by Batman, and is forced to join Amanda Waller's government task force comprised of captured supervillains.
In present day, the Joker attempts to extract Harley from the "Suicide Squad". He tortures one of Waller's security officers by the name of Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs used to control the criminals are manufactured, and threatens one of the scientists there to disable the bomb implanted in Harley's neck. Joker then gives the security officer a cell phone to give to Harley, so that he can signal her when to escape. After commandeering one of Waller's helicopters, Joker and his men rescue Harley in Midway City. However, the chopper is shot down. While Harley jumps out onto a nearby building, Joker seemingly perishes in the explosion, prompting a heartbroken Harley to rejoin the Squad. At the end of the film, the Joker, revealed to have survived the crash, breaks into Belle Reve prison to free Harley from her cell, and the two happily reunite before Joker says, "Let's go home."
Birds of Prey
Although Joker is never directly seen, he serves a pivotal role and is mentioned a number of times throughout the film. During the beginning of the film, Harley restates her origins of falling in love with and joining the Joker, claiming that she masterminded many of their crimes together yet never got any of the credit despite her attempts to prove herself. Eventually, sometime after helping her escape from Belle Reve, Joker breaks up with a heartbroken Harley and abandons her, leading to her being taken in by Doc and eventually starting her own life while recovering from their relationship. However, Harley avoids telling anybody about her break-up with Joker in order to enjoy the same immunity she had while they were together; although eventually, after overhearing some of her friends not taking the news of their break-up seriously, she decides to destroy Ace Chemicals as a symbol of her independence, driving a fuel truck into the building while tearing off her "J" necklace.
The destroyed Ace Chemicals factory and necklace are later found by the GCPD, with Detective Renee Montoya correctly deducing from Harley's necklace that she committed the crime and is no longer affiliated with Joker, believing that as such everybody in Gotham will be after her now. As Montoya predicted, everyone that Harley had wronged quickly begins gunning for her now that she is no longer being protected (including Happy, a criminal that she and Joker disfigured together), and she is eventually abducted by the henchmen of Roman Sionis, a nightclub owner and crime lord she and Joker had frequently antagonized, who offers to spare her once she offers to find the diamond Cassandra Cain had taken from his right hand, Victor Zsasz. Later, upon bringing Cassandra to her apartment above Doc's restaurant, Harley becomes genuinely surprised to learn that she has never heard of Joker, and the two of them continue to bond afterwards.
Following the destruction of her apartment because of Doc's betrayal, a devastated Harley decides to give up Cassandra to Sionis in order to receive protection and takes her to one of Joker's old hideouts in an abandoned amusement part at the Gotham Mile, though she ultimately changes her mind and teams up with Montoya, the vigilante Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, and Sionis' former chauffeur Dinah Lance to fight off Sionis and his gang instead. During her final confrontation with Sionis at the Gotham Founder's Pier, Harley compares him to the Joker in that they both rule through fear and that she is the one that they should be afraid of, before shooting at him with Montoya's gun and missing, leaving Cassandra to kill him by triggering a grenade she had taken from Harley earlier.
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Some time before the events of Knightmare, Joker at some point got his tattoos removed, grew out his hair, and got incarcerated at an unknown prison (presumably Arkham).
After the death of Lois Lane, Superman consumed by rage joins forces with the cosmic-warlord Darkseid who slaughters a vast majority of the Justice League which includes Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Some time later, Earth has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled in tyranny by both Darkseid and Superman. A massive conflict eventually began between Darkseid and Superman's Regime and the Batman and the Justice League's Insurgency. Needing all the help he could get, Batman breaks Joker out of his prison at the cost of Harley Quinn's life and reluctantly enlists him to help him retrieve the Mother Box for Cyborg to construct and power up a cosmic treadmill for The Flash to use to travel back in time and prevent this grim future from happening.
During a confrontation between Superman and the Insurgents (consisting of Batman, Joker, Flash, Cyborg, Mera, Deathstroke), Joker was presumably killed by Superman himself.
The Suicide Squad
Although he didn't appear physically in The Suicide Squad he was indirectly mentioned by Harley after she shot Silvio Luna with her explaining to the latter that although she liked him she promised herself thanks to her "horrible taste in men" that'd she'd be on the lookout for red flags more often and found several within Luna thanks to his plans involving Project Starfish with the final nail in the coffin being his willingness to kill children reminding her of The Joker prompting her to kill him.
The Joker is an exceptionally malevolent individual, being completely immoral with seemingly no regard for human life, and a ruthless sadist that takes sadistic pleasure in torturing others to achieve his goals, evidenced by when he (with help from Harley Quinn) brutally murdered Robin, and left a jocular spray-painted message for Batman on the damaged Robinsuit, as well as when the Joker playfully implanted a nano-bomb into Dr. Van Criss' neck, even after the latter had agreed to comply.
His dark and twisted personality makes Joker find humor or sport in the suffering and fear of his enemies, and he is seemingly impossible to intimidate. Joker is also remarkably manipulative, thus easily psychologically enthralling Dr. Harleen Quinzel and commanding the respect and loyalty from all of his goons (who don't hesitate to break him out of Arkham Asylum), in addition to being extremely intelligent and unpredictable, thus managing to torment his arch-nemesis Batman for years, and to catch Amanda Waller off-guard by sabotaging her ARGUS helicopter.
In addition, Joker appears to be somewhat vain about his status as the very top of Gotham City's criminal underworld, evidenced by him forcing the imprisoned Captain Griggs to kiss his hand, and proudly refusing to shake Monster T's hand upon meeting him. This Joker also uses sexuality to intimidate and unnerve his victims, sitting on Griggs' lap and stroking him, as well as calling Monster T a "handsome hunka hunka" when he offered Harley to him. Joker also has a penchant for flamboyance, lavishness and extravagance, evident in him complementing his bleached white skin with dyed green hair, lipstick, and eye-liner (giving himself the appearance of a fearsome clown); his bright and flashy Jokermobile (in stark contrast to his arch-nemesis' Batmobile), as well as the outrageous outfits that Joker sometimes has his goons wear - one of them sporting a goat's head mask, another wearing a mask of a giant eyeball, another in a full-body panda suit, and yet another dressed up in a mockery Batman outfit.
Despite his malevolence, on some level, Joker seems to reciprocate Harley Quinn's strong romantic love and infatuation in his own twisted way (possibly due to her being one of the extremely few people to rival his own psychosis, with him thus feeling a kindred spirit in her), being exceptionally distressed after losing her (drawing a black smile around his mouth), being very possessive of her (Promptly killing Monster T after the gangster made remarks that she was a "bad bitch"), is desperate to rescue her from the clutches of Amanda Waller, and is exuberant during their reunion, happily kissing and embracing his girlfriend, claiming that he would do anything for her. Despite these feelings, he has still been known to physically abuse her and leave her for dead when backed into a corner (such as when he left her underwater to drown).
However, Joker has been shown to be willing to work together with Batman when he finds it necessary. This was shown in the "Knightmare" future where Darkseid conquered the Earth. Joker was broken out of Arkham by Batman and was convinced to redeem himself, being willing to help Batman by assisting Cyborg in finding a Mother Box for Flash to travel back in time and change the future. Joker was shocked and even a bit hurt when Batman brought up Harley's death, even stating to Batman, "You almost had me", indicating he did still love Harley.
Powers and Abilities
- Peak Human Condition: Joker, as a highly skilled and experienced supervillain, is in top physical condition (from frequent villainous escapades with his girlfriend Harley Quinn), with him, despite his relatively lean frame, being ripped like a mixed-martial-arts fighter, though he is not even near to Batman's level.
- Genius-level Intellect: Joker is extremely intelligent, able to go to-to-toe with Batman for years, even when the latter was also aided by Robin. He also succeeds in catching Amanda Waller herself off-guard by unexpectedly sabotaging her helicopter (thus nearly succeeding in rescuing Harley Quinn), and later manages to break into Belle Reve supermax prison itself, finally freeing an exuberant Harley.
- Master Tactician: Much like his archnemesis Batman, Joker is a genius at planning and improvising criminal activities. However, his insanity is capable of sometimes impairing his higher thinking. While scheming, the Joker usually manages to stay one step ahead of the police, and sometimes even Batman himself, due to him being completely unpredictable. Hence, he was ultimately able to somewhat gain the upper hand against his archnemesis by finally managing to trap and murder Batman's protegé Robin (though he notably had the assistance of Harley Quinn in this). Joker was also very nearly successful in his first attempt to rescue his girlfriend Harley Quinn, successfully learning how to disable her implanted ARGUS nano-bomb (by blackmailing Dr. Van Criss, who made them, via the kidnapping and torture of the latter's wife), after which he sabotaged Amanda Waller's helicopter (catching even the highly experienced government agent off-guard) and proceeded to attack her and the rest of Task Force X, giving Harley the opening she needed to escape. Joker is also skilled at coming up with effective contingency plans, notably seen when his goons successfully break into Arkham Asylum and release him (in a contingency attack planned and told to them by Joker himself beforehand), and when he swiftly comes up with an effective second way of freeing Harley Quinn (by personally breaking into Belle Reve supermax prison) after his first attempt is thwarted at the last second.
- Master Manipulator: Joker is an expert at getting into people's heads and manipulating them. He was able to slowly turn Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a young brilliant psychiatrist, into a homicidal maniac like himself, dubbed "Harley Quinn", and to swiftly make the lustful Monster T uncomfortable (by suggesting he sleep with Harley, after whom Monster T had been lusting), making him pathetically (and unsuccessfully) plead for his life after picking up on the Joker's angry sarcasm. This is one of the Joker's most effective weapons, as it especially aides him in gaining followers in his many loyal goons (who don't hesitate to break their leader out of Arkham Asylum), but is also useful for carrying out mental torture (notably forcing Dr. Van Criss to show him how to disable a nano-bomb).
- Expert Leader: Joker, as a crime boss at the very top of Gotham City's criminal underworld (referred to as the criminal "King of Gotham City" by Amanda Waller), is a highly skilled and charismatic leader, inspiring fierce loyalty from all of his numerous goons, since even after he is imprisoned in Arkham Asylum, they organize an attack on the facility to break their leader out, and Joker tirelessly deploys them to discover the location of his girlfriend Harley Quinn, with great success.
- Master Escapologist: Joker is exceptionally skilled at escaping unscathed in extremely dangerous situations, with him notably somehow escaping from his submerged Jokermobile before Batman dives underwater, and somehow surviving the explosion of the helicopter he was on, most likely due to somehow escaping from it just in time.
- Intimidation: Joker, due to his exceptional capacity for heinous torture and murder, commands a very intimidating presence, enough to frighten low-level thugs (swiftly intimidating Monster T, forcing him to pathetically beg for his life after lusting after Harley Quinn) and make them work for him out of the sheer fear of what he would do to them if they refused. Joker effectively intimidates Captain Griggs into telling him where Harley Quinn is, and easily intimidates Dr. Van Criss into telling him how to disable an implanted nano-bomb (by showing him a video feed of the latter's kidnapped and tortured wife). This the one quality that Joker and Batman have in common to an extent.
- Pathological Indomitable Will: Joker possesses an obliviousness to danger that makes him invulnerable to fear and intimidation, which are usually Batman's greatest weapons in combat. Hence, Joker does not fear death and will even threaten his own life to achieve his goal or make a point. This makes the Joker the Dark Knight's most formidable enemy. His beloved girlfriend Harley Quinn is the only known individual to rival Joker in this regard.
- Human Vulnerabilities: Joker's greatest weakness is that he is a human with no enhanced strength, speed, durability, or metahuman powers, therefore making him quite vulnerable to the physical attacks of stronger and more powerful opponents. Joker, however, always compensates for this extremely effectively with his brilliant and extremely unpredictable intellect, incredible escapology skills, pathological indomitable will and fearlessness, as well as and the numerous goons at his disposal. Hence, Joker has been able to keep up with the stronger and more skilled combatant Batman for years, was able to somehow escape unscathed from his submerged Jokermobile without drowning, and was even able to somehow escape unscathed from the exploded helicopter that Amanda Waller's forces destroyed (although Jonny Frost, Dr. Van Criss, and all others aboard it have perished).
Joker, due to him being at the very top of Gotham City's criminal underworld (thus having a penchant for having his subordinates kiss his hand), is an exceptionally powerful and influential crime boss with vast resources, owning a lavish strip club, having a collection of numerous weapons (both blades and firearms of all sizes and calibers, all lying neatly sorted on the floor of his chambers), and commanding numerous strong, flamboyantly dressed, well-armed, and fiercely loyal goons (lead by Joker's right-hand man Jonny Frost). Joker successfully employs this vast influence and resources of his to quickly track Harley Quinn down to the remote supermax prison of Belle Reve (all the way across the United States from Gotham City). This, coupled with his completely unpredictable psychosis, makes Joker a worthy opponent even for Batman himself, thus being the Dark Knight's archnemesis.
- Jokermobile: Joker utilizes an Infiniti G35 Vaydor is his personal stylized car, which reflects his flamboyant personality, as it is in stark contrast to the dark and armored Batmobile of his archnemesis.
- Purple phone: Joker's phone, given to Captain Griggs, who is forced to secretly deliver it to Harley Quinn, allowing Joker to communicate with his girlfriend via SMS.
- Unlike many versions of the Joker, this version of Joker has no Glasgow Smile.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a vandalized Robin costume is seen on display in the Batcave, with the message "Ha ha! Joke's on you, Batman!", showing that the Joker was responsible for killing him. In Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn's introduction states that she was an accomplice to said Robin's death.
- According to the above, the Joker was originally written to appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice alongside the Riddler, but the two villains were cut and replaced by another villain.
- Also, the Joker is indirectly mentioned by Bruce Wayne to Clark Kent, when he states that Gotham City has a bad history with "freaks who dress like clowns".
- In April 2015, Jared Leto posted a photo of himself as the Joker holding up a camera, referencing the cover of the graphic novel, The Killing Joke.
- In response to criticisms regarding the Joker's minimal screen time in the film, Jared Leto revealed that many of his scenes were omitted from the final cut.
- After the film's release, Leto reprises his role as the Joker in the music video "Purple Lamborghini", by Skrillex and Rick Ross, from the film's soundtrack.
- This version of the Joker seems to be genuinely loving towards Harley Quinn, given that his primary objective in Suicide Squad is extracting her from the squad, thus making this the sole possible redeeming trait of this Joker incarnation. However, some scenes that appeared on the Extended Cut of the film and went unused in the final version show that their relationship was still mostly abusive. Harley would later state in Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) that Joker never let her have full credit in their criminal activities and never truly cared for her, yet it's unmentioned whether the Joker physically abused Harley or not.
- Zack Snyder's Justice League goes against the Joker's depiction as an abusive boyfriend, however, revealing in the Knightmare timeline that the Joker is hurt by Harley's death, noticeably reacting when Bruce brings it up and bitterly stating to him, "You almost had me." However, Snyder's cut isn't currently considered canonical within the DC Extended Universe.
- The Joker's slicked-back hair, lack of eyebrows, and pale face bear him a slight resemblance to the fascist guise of Pink from the 1982 film Pink Floyd – The Wall.
- The Joker is the unseen overarching antagonist of Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn), as he was responsible for breaking up with Harley, resulting in her becoming heartbroken and leading her to being taken in by Doc and eventually starting her own life while recovering from their relationship.
- On the release of Suicide Squad, Jared Leto received mixed critical comments for his Joker role, but yet, the audiences acclaimed the performance and commented that the current character's portrayal was "disturbing, cool, scary and chilling as hell."
- In addition to mixed critical comments or rather positive acclaim by the fans, many people worldwide had expressed their wrath upon that the Joker had appeared only for twenty-five minutes on screen.
- This is the first live action version of the character to have tattoos.
- There is a popular fan theory that this Joker is actually Jason Todd, who was driven insane by the original Joker and killed him before taking his place. This is backed up by the fact that Dick Grayson was the Robin who was killed instead of Jason, who was confirmed to exist in the DCEU. This would explain why Batman, who had resorted to killing, hasn't killed Joker yet, even though the latter is responsible for his descent into killing.