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Joker - (Under the Red Hood)

Yet another PE Joker. Here we go again...

Following my last proposal about an incarnation of the Joker, I guess I've now decided to take it upon myself to clean up the rest of the non-approved PE Jokers. This time, we'll take a look at the version from the Under the Red Hood animated film. 

What's the Work?

Batman: Under the Red Hood is a 2010 animated film based upon the comic storyline of the same name (and, as a quick side note, is one of my personal favorite animated DC films <3). The story follows Batman as he deals with the arrival of a violent new vigilante by the name of Red Hood who begins to take control of Gotham's various crime lords while killing anybody who gets in his way (much to the ire of one Black Mask...), while being forced to confront the seeming flaws in his own non-lethal code. Now, add Joker to the mix and you have a recipe for one heck of a showdown in Gotham City....

Who is He?

Robin vs The Joker-0

Robin vs The Joker-0

Maybe it's just my resistance to seeing torture in media, but I'm not the only one who finds this part a little hard to watch, right?

Similarly to his depiction in The Killing Joke, Joker was once a normal man who attempted to rob the Ace Chemicals factory while dressed as a villain called "The Red Hood", although, when confronted by Batman, he claims that he was set up and ended up tripping into a vat of magic supervillain chemicals that...yeah, you know the story. Anyway, some time after his transformation and becoming Batman's archenemy, Joker was hired by Ra's al Ghul to distract the Dynamic Duo while he unleashed his plan to destroy the European economy—although Ra's quickly regrets his decision after learning that Joker lured his enemies to Sarajevo, Bosnia and captured Jason Todd, whom he sadistically beats to near-death with a crowbar. Joker then makes his leave while taunting the barely conscious Robin, who, despite his attempt to escape, ends up dying as the warehouse explodes; with Batman arriving too late to save him. 

Years later, while investigating the new Red Hood's criminal activity, Batman and Nightwing interrogate Joker at Arkham Asylum, where he begins to push Batman's buttons by joking about Jason's death. However, disappointed with Batman not killing him, he merely points out that he has no connection to the new Red Hood ("You really think I would stir up so much trouble and not make sure you knew it was me?") and laughs manically while they leave. Following Red Hood's attempt to assassinate him, Black Mask arranges for a meeting with Joker in Arkham and tries to hire him to kill Red Hood, which Joker agrees to do—after first slashing one of Black Mask's henchman's throats to steal his gun, and shooting down the rest of the henchmen—asking for an outfit, a truck, and some guys ("Not these guys, because they're, well, kind of dead.") Joker then kidnaps all of Red Hood's henchmen, Black Mask and his secretary and threatens to burn them alive in order to get Red Hood's attention, which he succeeds at doing, causing Red Hood to reveal to him that it was his plan to force Black Mask into getting him out of Arkham all along.

Joker sets the gangsters alight only for Batman to save them with foam and catch him using the Batwing, although Red Hood captures him instead and takes him to a rundown motel where he begins beating him with a crowbar in revenge. After a long fight between Batman and Red Hood, the latter reveals that he isn't mad at his former mentor for not saving him, but rather for him letting Joker live despite all that he's done, though Batman states that he has always wanted to kill his archenemy only he knows that he won't stop killing after doing so. Jason tries to force Batman into either killing Joker or him, which fails, and so he activates a bomb to kill all of them—Joker trying to stop Batman from deactivating it to ensure that they all die. However, Batman manages to save Jason from the explosion and then returns Joker to Arkham Asylum (because apparently Joker is immune to bomb explosions), where he is presumably locked up for good.

What Has he Done?

*EMOTIONAL* Batman Under The Red Hood Ending Scene!!

*EMOTIONAL* Batman Under The Red Hood Ending Scene!!

I think Jason lays out Joker's crimes pretty clearly.

Like every version of the Joker, this one is a sadistic, nihilistic madman who is only concerned with bringing suffering and torment to those around him—particularly Batman. I mean, when the movie starts up with him literally beating a teenager to near death with a blunt instrument and then leaving him to die in a fiery explosion just before he can be saved, you could probably figure that out for yourself. Sure, this depiction of Jason's death probably isn't as bad as what his comic counterpart went through (in the original story, Joker lured Jason in by leading him into finding his mother before leaving them both to die—and in the New 52 retelling, Joker manufactured all the tragedy in Jason's life in a deliberate ploy to create a new sidekick for Batman just to kill him and cause his archenemy grief), but for the standards of the film itself it's pretty damn brutal.

Of course, as you would expect, things don't get any prettier from there. While Red Hood probably has the larger on-screen bodycount of the two of them, Joker utilizes far more brutal methods—gassing several innocent hospital staff in Bosnia, slashing a guy's throat with broken glass, trying to burn all of Red Hood's henchmen alive in order to get his attention—while being way more sadistic along the way, which makes him stick out as far worse. Not to mention the fact it's implied that his actual bodycount is implied to be in the triple digits at least, given that Red Hood makes note of the "graveyards he's filled" and "the thousands who have suffered" while making his point that he should not have been allowed to live as long as he did. Oh yeah, and on top of everything else, it's hinted that he crippled Batgirl like he did in the comics, too. Just in case you thought he hadn't done enough already.

Heinous Standard?

Joker! Fire and Foam!

Joker! Fire and Foam!

Joker seems to lay out pretty clearly that he's worse than both Black Mask and Red Hood here. Also...anyone else wondering why the police don't just shoot him?

Joker and Red Hood are the main antagonists of the movie, so obviously they set it. Though, as previously said, Joker is obviously the worse of the two due to his sadism and lack of anything regarding human empathy. Red Hood, despite being a murderer and violent crime lord, at least shows some care for his former mentor as well as some signs of morality (he threatens to kill his minions if they sell drugs to children, for example). Joker, meanwhile, does everything he does without a hint of morality or a shred of guilt.

The only other villains of the movie are Ra's al Ghul and Black Mask, but they fail to make much of an impact compared to them. Ra's is a global terrorist who tried to destroy the economy and has killed countless people (off-screen), but he genuinely regretted his role in Jason's death/subsequent revival, and even stopped his war with Batman over it. Black Mask is worse (and actually is PE in the comics), but doesn't actively do much compared to Joker or Red Hood. The most he does in the story is beat the snot out of his minions when angry and later has his men kill an innocent security guard while making his way to Arkham. That's about it.

Mitigating Factors?

I think we've been over how much of a monster Joker is by now, so there's no need for much detail on this. The one thing Joker has to possibly prevent him from qualifying is his seemingly tragic backstory as the Red Hood, but we never get many details about that and it isn't played or sympathy. Plus, Joker is shown to clearly remember who he used to be and this has no effect upon his current behavior, which negates the whole created by tragedy thing anyway.


Chalk up this version of the Joker onto the PE template with the others, because he definitely hits the mark.

With a crowbar, no less.

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