Jack Nicholson vs. Heath Ledger - Who is the Better Joker?

As you know, the big movie that is opening this weekend is The Dark Knight, the latest in a series of movies that focus on the Batman universe. Many people around my age were introduced to Batman for the first time through the Tim Burton movies where Batman was played by Michael Keaton. The villain in that first Batman movie was Joker, as played by the wonderfully eccentric Jack Nicholson.

Appropriately enough, the first super villain to appear in this Christian Bale era of Batman movies (I don’t think the bad guy in Batman Begins really counts) is Joker too, except this time, the criminal kook is played by the Heath Ledger. Nicholson and Ledger approached the roles in very different ways, but who did a better job at portraying the violent jester? Who is the better Joker?

This is a question posed by the people at Slashfilm, culminating in a mashup trailer for Joker vs. Joker (embedded below). I haven’t watched The Dark Knight yet, but I definitely want to watch it. It looks positively epic. Interestingly, every Batman movie after Nicholson had two villains each (one of which featured Two-Face). I guess it takes two bad guys to equal one Wacky Jack.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what Christian Bale is up to next, he’s going to play John Connor in Terminator 4. T3 wasn’t nearly as good as Terminator 2, so let’s hope T4 is an improvement.