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When Is Too Many Joker Movies Too Many?

Let’s count how many movies that will feature the Joker are currently in development over at DC:

  1. A Joker solo movie starring Jared Leto.
  2. A Harley Quinn and Joker movie starring Leto and Margot Robbie.
  3. A 1980s-set Joker origin movie starring Joaquin Phoenix.
  4. A sequel to Suicide Squad apparently featuring the Joker.
  5. A Harley Quinn solo movie that would obviously have Joker in it somewhere… probably.

That’s a lot of movies for the Joker, even if two of them might only be cameo roles. The Joker is far from DC Comics’ most interesting villain; hell, I would argue that the Joker is not even Batman’s most interesting villain or even his most dangerous one. If Warner Bros. and DC insist on focusing on Batman and his area of DC Comics, there are tons more compelling and amazing evil villains they could choose from Batman’s rogues’ gallery. I have written before that I think that Joker is DC’s most overrated villain (see #2), and I stand by that statement.

Now, let’s just forget for a few minutes that Jared Leto‘s Joker was so god-awful and how in the hell anyone thought it was a good idea to give him two (possible three) movies to screw up!? Let’s also forget that the Joker’s origin story has been so convoluted to the point where even Deadpool has a more cohesive origin than the Clown Prince of Crime.

Those two above points aside, the collective brain power of Warner Bros. and DC are trying to establish the Joker as his own main character. The Joker is not a good choice for a main character. He is not often likable and almost never sympathetic. At least when the MCU used Thanos as a primary character in Avengers: Infinity War, one could see where Thanos was coming from, even if his execution was downright sadistic. The Joker has no reason for doing anything–he doesn’t hold true to any beliefs (like Lex Luthor or Ra’s Al Ghul do), he doesn’t waver on being evil (like many more humanized villains do), and he only does what he does just because. Being a villain for the hell of it does not make a compelling protagonist, even if it can make a compelling antagonist when done best.

Okay, remember my two points from either about the Joker that I told you to forget from a couple paragraphs above: remember them. I would also like to remind everyone that none of the other super-villains like working with the Joker; in fact, other baddies go out of their way to avoid the Joker. When there is a villain team-up, no one ever wants to invite the Joker unless they really have to for one reason or another. What does it say about your status as a villain if the other villains do not even want your help in taking down heroes?

There are just way too many Joker movies in the works over at Warner Bros. and DC. For me, even one Joker-centric movie is too many Joker movies, but for the casual viewer, this is over-saturation plain and simple. The Joker is, at best, good for two things: being an thorn in the side of Batman while Batman is trying to deal with another more dire situation (like in The Dark Knight), and being a part (but not a central part) of Harley Quinn’s more compelling story.

How many Joker movies is too many for you? Are you looking forward to any of them? What other villains deserve some time in the spotlight? Let us know your thought in the comment or on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Dara Berkey

Superhero nerd. History nerd. Favorite personal hero--Shazam/The Original Captain Marvel. Favorite female hero--Any of the Batgirls. Favorite male hero, other than Shazam--Any of the Robins.