DC's Joker movie has brought Batman's iconic nemesis back into the pop-culture limelight, and the acclaimed performance by Joaquin Phoenix has once again sparked discussion of how each Joker performance should be ranked. Obviously the most common comparison is between Phoenix and Heath Ledger's 2008 Joker performance in The Dark Knight, which was the definitive Joker performance until Phoenix came along. Well, Joker has also inspired quite a few new memes - and one of the more popular ones pits Ledger's Joker against Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, by mashing up two iconic moments from Dark Knight and Joker, respectively.
Check out how Heath Ledger's Joker deal with all the popularity that Joaquin Phoenix's Joker is getting:
As stated, Joker has sparked a few meme trends, with the most popular arguably being the kind seen above. Fans have been finding ways to combine different pictures into hilarious and/or absurd new versions of the scene where Phoenix's Joker gets hit by a passing taxi, while running from the cops. So in this case, just when Arthur Fleck finds his Joker swagger, Ledger's Joker shows up knock the kid down a peg - and then run him over, too.
Right now, we're admittedly still too close to Joker as a major pop-culture fixation (Recency Bias) to really give fair ranking of Phoenix's performance. Of course, that fact isn't stopping fans from jumping headfirst into "Which Joker is Best?" debates already, and Phoenix seems to be ranking pretty high, even if he hasn't yet officially dethroned Ledger. So maybe this meme is more accurate a metaphor than intended?
To be fair, there isn't competition between Phoenix and Ledger at least where the former is concerned. The pair of actors were respectful of one another - arguably even friends. In fact, Phoenix and Joker director Todd Phillips go so far as to include a touching ode to Heath Ledger's Joker in the film, during a scene where Phoenix's Joker has his own iconic view of Gotham from the back of a cop car.
Joker is now in theaters. Upcoming DC Movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2020.