The Joker (originally known as Jack Napier) is a fictional supervillain created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson who first appeared in the debut issue of the comic book Batman (April 25, 1940) published by DC Comics. Credit for the Joker's creation is disputed; Kane and Robinson claimed responsibility for the Joker's design, while acknowledging Finger's writing contribution. Although the Joker was planned to be killed off during his initial appearance, he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the archenemy of the superhero Batman.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Quotes
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Trivia
From the media, to the films and his relationship with the Dark Knight, the Joker's personality could be the obvious. The Joker is a homicidal, menacing, psychopathic, ruthless, sadistic, maniacal, lunatic, manipulative, intelligent and diabolical master criminal who wants nothing but chaos and anarchy wherever he goes, as well as reveling in the suffering of others. In most speaking roles, the Joker is often given a high-pitched, comical, bouncy, silly, and over-the-top voice that occasionally stoops down to a slight growl, in accordance to his clown-like appearance and maniacal personality, with the only known exceptions being his appearances in Under the Red Hood and the Tim Burton Batman film, both of which give him a comparatively deeper, though still humourous voice.
His malevolent, sadistic sense of humor and psychopathic tendency of murdering whoever he wants to depicts him as Batman's greatest foe and not even Poison Ivy or even Two-Face could possibly beat the Joker.
The Joker is a genius but uses his intelligence for evil schemes in Gotham. However, he does not have any plan to kill Batman because he is "just so much fun" because he always plays his little "games". The Joker also likes to corrupt his enemies in various media and that is perfectly shown in the Dark Knight movie, when he manipulated Harvey Dent into getting revenge on those who were involved in Rachael's death just so that he can pledge more anarchy.
In the Dark Knight Trilogy and the Batman Arkhamverse, there are two personality sides of the Joker-in the Dark Knight, his diabolically devious side is shown and in the Arkhamverse, his psychopathically ruthless side is shown but in both trilogies, the Joker is sadistic, evil, maniacal, chaotic, ruthless, murderous and rather cunning in his behavior.
He has some on and off alliances and on and off rivalries with Batman's villains, such as Two-Face, Penguin, Catwoman etc.
The Joker has a tendency of cheating death and escaping Arkham Asylum in order to create more chaos.
In the Dark Knight (and possibly for any other portrayal Of the Joker for that matter), Alfred Pennyworth is right about Joker, implying him as "one of the men who want to watch the world burn"
The Joker actually wants to corrupt Batman by causing greater tragedies in his life so that he can get Batman to kill him or make Batman like him. Even though the Dark Knight has shown to be incorruptible and sticks to his moral code of not murdering his enemies and having them receive justice instead, the Joker never gives because the more tragedies he causes, the more Batman will get more angrier at the Joker.
The Joker has a vicious, sadistic and ruthless mind of physically and mentally torturing his enemies or puppets. The perfect example is none other than Harley Quinn, who has an undying crush on the Crown Prince of Crime as he just uses her for his own diabolical schemes and he always slaps her and belittles her.
However, later on, he has shown a bit of fondness in Harley Quinn.
This personality has the enemies of Batman and Superman become the Joker's frenemies instead as he is an incredibly insane person.
The Joker also takes a lot of pride in his crimes, often freely admitting and taking credit for the crimes he commits. In fact, he has done it so many times that usually a surefire sign that the Joker is actually innocent of a crime is when the Clown Prince of Crime actually denies any involvement in it.
Jack Napier was once an slender fair skinned man with brown hair. After his accident due to his fall into a chemical vat at the Ace Chemicals factory, Jack Napier (now known as "The Joker")'s skin is now bleached to chalk-white, his hair to emerald green, and his lips to ruby red and makes a maniacal grin. He sometimes have dark circles around his eyes.
He wears a purple tailcoat, trousers and a pork-pie hat along with an orange dress shirt with a emerald green dickey tie and waistcoat and black shoes.
Jack Napier was born in Brooklyn and came to live in Gotham. In his school years, Jack proved himself to be emotionally unstable, but highly intelligent, showing aptitude in art, science, and chemistry. He also turned to a life of violent crime. When he was fifteen, Jack was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.
As a young man, he and his partner in crime mugged Bruce Wayne's parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife, Martha while they were walking home from the movies. When Thomas interceded to protect his family, Napier stepped from the shadows and shot both him and Martha in cold-blooded murder. Napier pulled the hammer back on his gun and next pointed it directly at Bruce. Before Napier could fire, his panicked partner urged him to leave. Napier spares the boy and left.
A few decades later after the murder, Napier became the right-hand man for the crime lord Carl Grissom. But when Carl found out that Napier was fooling with his girl, he called Lt. Eckhardt to kill his right-hand man, who (along with his men) was trying to erase evidence of criminal activity in the Axis Chemical Factory.
Eventually, Napier meets Batman for the first time. Before he was going to escape, he kills Eckhardt after he told him to think about the future. Napier then turned the gun on Batman and caught a ricocheted bullet through his cheeks; in a panic, Napier lost his balance and falls off a catwalk over a vat of a toxic chemical. Though Batman caught Napier's arm and attempted to pull him back up to safety, Napier's leather glove slipped through Batman's and he plummeted into the chemical vat below him.
Napier somehow survived and the reaction of the chemicals left him horribly bleached with chalk white skin, green hair and red lips. He tried to do reconstructive surgery, which severed critical facial nerves, leaving him with a wide, ridiculous and famous smile. He began to realize his insanity after looking through a mirror, much to the surprise of the surgeon. He returned to Grissom's office to kill him in revenge for his attempted murder, which he did and became the new crime lord known as the Joker. When sitting on his now deceased boss' desk, he picks up a newspaper which reads "Winged Freak Terrorizes Gotham City". Now wanting publicity and plotting to get rid of Batman, he replies with a smile "Wait til they get a load of me", and then laughs.
When he learned about Vicki Vale, the Joker fell in love with her and tried to steal her from Bruce Wayne. He made a remarkable and drastic entrance near the city hall where he killed a fellow crime lord with his quill pen. His mime henchmen then started to shoot all over the place, with Bruce Wayne being "hit", but survived. He then heads for his limo and solemnly waves goodbye to Bruce before taking off.
The Joker has his henchmen to kill all the visitors (except for Vicki Vale who used a breathing mask to save himself, from Bruce Wayne's intervention via package) in the art museum. After entering, the Joker and his henchmen vandalize paintings (except one that the Joker liked), and smashing models. He comes face-to-face with Vicki Vale before having Alicia Hunt's face to exposed as a horrifying piece of artwork to Vicki. Batman arrives and rescues Vicki from the insane villain. The Joker sends his henchmen to capture Batman, but they failed.
The next day, Joker arrives at Vicki's apartment, wanting to know what happened the night before and revealing Alicia Hunt's suicide. But Bruce Wayne intervenes, and prepares to fight with the Joker, but the Joker asks him "Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight?" before shooting him (unaware that Bruce escaped after faking his death by using body armor).
The Joker begins his "parade" at the start of the Gotham City Festival that celebrating the city's 200th anniversary, bringing very hefty sums of cash to all Gotham's citizens. Along with his parade were his precious and cartoonish balloons filled with the deadly Smylex gas made from the ingredients used to create his cosmetic Smylex products. He notices Batman's Batwing up in the sky and proceeds to go as planned with his balloons. After throwing the money to everyone in the streets, the Joker wrapped up his speech saying everyone should "go with a smile".
But after Batman stopped his maniacal festivities and saved everyone from the Joker's Smylex via his Batwing, he shot and killed his right-hand man Bob the Goon out of fury, and eventually went on to face Batman while his men ordered everyone to leave the money-littered, panic-stricken streets. The Joker used his peashooter revolver and shot the Batwing down before taking Vicki Vale hostage, who was there alongside her fellow photojournalist Knox. Batman followed them into the old Gotham City Cathedral. While Batman battled his thugs, Joker dances with Vicki before the Dark Knight finally faces him.
During their deadly confrontation, in which they identify each other and their motivations, Batman repeatedly beats up the Joker and manages to knock him off the balcony, but the Joker reached both his arms up, and managed to pull Batman and Vicki down, themselves holding on for life from a narrow ledge. The Joker's helicopter arrived to retrieve him to safety. Batman used a grappling hook to tie Joker's ankle to a large, heavy gargoyle. Batman sealed The Joker's fate when he broke it loose.
Unable to break free from the heavy burden of the gargoyle, The Joker slowly lost his grip on the helicopter's rope ladder and fell screaming to his death, hitting the cathedral's flight of steps below hard, breaking every single bone in his body, and still grinning with his eyes open (Ironically, before his fall, The Joker gloats "Sometimes I just kill myself!" before grabbing onto the rope ladder).
Commissioner Gordon came upon The Joker's body, hearing a repetitive laugh. He reached into The Joker's coat and pulled out a laugh box that had been activated by the landing.
Despite the Joker's reign of terror finally met to an end for good, Bruce Wayne would continue to have bad memories of Jack Napier slaying his parents for several years eventully leading Bruce to get help
No one knows who the Joker really was, and little could be confirmed about his early life before he turned to a life of crime. Despite his capture, no traces could be found on his fingerprints, dental records, or DNA matches against the GCPD's databases.
The Joker's own testimony, while normally quite true when it came to carrying out threats, seemed at times contradictory, and he was known to give conflicting accounts at times when describing past events in his life, more specifically how he got the scars of his characteristic Glasgow smile.
One of his anecdotes told of his supposed extremely abusive, uncaring, alcoholic, opprobrious, and intoxicating father, stating that after attacking his mother with a knife, the blade was next turned on the young man, creating his mutilated smile. The fact that the Joker later referenced his father and his hatred of him to a party guest while crashing Harvey Dent's party implies that at the very least, he did have an extremely poor relationship with his father.
Another story he told was when his gambling wife told him not to worry so much and that he should smile more than his almost-healed Glasgow smile. This advice went overhead when she allowed her face to be carved by enforcers of loan sharks, and the couple discovered that they didn't have enough money to pay for surgery. In a desperate effort to assure his wife that he did not care about the damage to her appearance, he took a razor to his cheeks to make his Glasgow smile match hers, but the disturbing image instead caused his wife to leave him, damaging his psyche.
It is not revealed to what degree these stories hold truth, if any. It is possible that the Joker himself is unaware of his true origins. Some psychological profiles of the Joker indicate that he is insane to such an extent that he literally reinvents both his own psyche and history on a daily basis. It is therefore possible that, if neither story is true, he genuinely believed both as he told them.
In a report filed by the GCPD, there were three theories presented for Joker's identity and origin. The first was that Joker was an escaped patient from Arkham Asylum. However, that theory was debunked on the basis that his identity had no place within any records. The second theory was that Joker was a former employee of the Harley Brothers Circus, which was documented to have connections with the mob. It was reasonable to theorize that Joker was a disgruntled former employee that had bad business with the mob. The third theory presented was that Joker was a former soldier who suffered from acute PTSD, which explained his unusually cool demeanor and familiarity with weapons, as well as his devastating effectiveness in various forms of combat.
Shortly after the death of Ra's al Ghul, Batman discussed with Lt. James Gordon the effect that he had made on Gotham City since his appearance. Gordon then revealed that a criminal with a "taste of theatrics" had recently committed a double homicide and an armed robbery, and left behind a Joker playing card as a "calling card". Gordon also warned that just as escalation occured in terms of a Police Force against crime, so might the scale and style of criminality change in reaction to Batman's appearance. Some time later, Joker orchestrated the theft of a large shipment of ammonium nitrate from the Gotham Docks. The explosive chemical was saved for storage in the Gotham General Hospital and on two passenger ferries some time later. In addition, Joker also frequently attended the various heists and crimes that his gang committed while disguised as one of the accomplices, which was believed to be at least partially where he got his name from.
Several months later, a group of bank robbers under the direction of the Joker, robbed the Gotham National Bank which was used as a money-laundering front for Gotham's gangs. The clown mask wearing robbers whittled down their own numbers within minutes in a series of calculated betrayals. Finally only "Bozo" remained, who revealed himself as the Joker to the Gotham Bank Manager, who had earlier confronted the robbers with a shotgun. In addition, largely because he couldn't resist appearing on-camera, Joker also deliberately unmasked himself in front of a surveillance camera and posed. The Joker then escaped with the bank's cash in a yellow school bus, concealed his identity by driving within a convoy of other school buses, and also left the bank manager at the mercy of a gas grenade that was stuck in his mouth.
Shortly following the bank robbery, Salvatore Maroni mentioned the Joker's recent theft of mob-owned cash to his fellow crime leaders at a business meeting, who dismissed him as a threat and said that he was a "nobody" who wore "a cheap purple suit and make-up." The Joker overheard that comment and the plan presented to the Mob by corrput Chinese accountant Lau and arrived unannounced at the meeting while he faked a laugh, as he saw their "so-called plan" as a bad joke. The mobsters were at first unwilling to hear him out, and Gambol, one of the crime lords who seemed to take the most dislike for the Joker, sent one of his men to take him out by force.
The Joker stated that he wouldn't kill Batman because he was simply too much “fun” and Batman wouldn't kill him because of his “moral obligation.” In the film, instead of trying to kill Batman, the Joker attempted to show Gotham and subsequently Batman that anyone could be as bad as him under the right circumstances.
The Joker unexpectedly performed a magic trick by making a pencil "disappear," embedded the pencil in the table, and shoved one of Gambol's men head-first into the pencil where it indeed disappeared inside the man's head, instantly killing him. The Joker also mentioned that his suit wasn't cheap and that they ought to know that since they bought it, which meant that he had used the money that he had stolen at the start of the film to buy his suit. Joker proposed that it was Batman's interference that had resulted in idealistic leaders like Harvey Dent rising in popularity, and offered his services to kill him for half of all the money that Lau, an illegitimate Chinese accountant, took away from Gotham for safe keeping. Joker also warned the Mob that Lau would betray them if he was arrested, and claimed to know a squealer when he saw one. While the Bratva mobster, the Chechen and Maroni were interested, Gambol, angered by the Joker's lack of respect, attempted to attack him, which forced the Joker to reveal his insurance policy: several grenades hidden under his coat rigged to blow, which allowed him to make a quick escape. Frustrated, Gambol proceeded to put a bounty on the Joker: $500,000 dead or $1 million alive so he could "teach him some manners."
The Joker later took revenge that night by having his men come to Gambol, and claimed that they had killed the Joker. In a bit of unintended tragic irony that regarded the fate of his actor, the Joker's 'dead' body was brought inside in a garbage bag before he attacked Gambol and proceeded to tell him the origin of his mouth scars as a way of psychological torture and intimidation. Then, when Gambol was the most terrified and shaken, the Joker proceeded to kill him with one of his knives. Then with the remains of Gambol's men overpowered and at his mercy, Joker took a pool cue, broke it in half, made it spear-like, said that there was only one spot open at the moment to join his "team", threw the piece of sharp stick at the middle of Gambol's scared men, and had his gang, which was made up mostly of mentally-ill and unstable vicious crooks that had escaped from Arkham Asylum who seemed to have taken the Joker as their leader, made Gambol's men fight to the death with the stick until only one was left, and advised them to "make it fast".
Joker eventually, realized that Batman had retrieved Lau from Hong Kong and that the police had struck a deal with him to testify against them. Sal Maroni and the Chechen relented, and finally hired the Joker to kill Batman. The Joker first kidnapped a Batman impersonator, filmed his murder and hung the body, complete with white make-up and Joker scars, outside the Mayor's Office. In the murder tape that he sent to the media, the Joker viciously mocked Brian Douglas (a Batman impersonator who was arrested along with Scarecrow by the real Batman at the beginning of the film), as well as terrorizing him to the point of leaving him absolutely frozen and weeping and taunting his beliefs and his actions. Then when he has finished humiliating and terrifying him, the Joker proceeded to give Gotham an ultimatum: Batman must take off his mask and turn himself over to the authorities and every day that Batman refused to do so, he would murder innocent people day after day.
As a result of Batman not turning himself in, the first major victims were Janet Surrillo, the judge that presided over Dent's indictments, and then former GCPD Commissioner Loeb, the former via a car-bomb and the latter by inserting acid into the Commissioner's scotch, respectively.
Later, the Joker and his gang stormed a fundraiser at Bruce Wanye's Penthouse to kill Harvey Dent. When Joker was unable to get the guests to inform him of Dent's location, he decided to settle for killing off the guests. Joker then attempted to threaten an unintimidated guest (whom he noted bore a resemblance to his own hated father), before he eventually attempted to kill Rachel Dawes. Dawes attempted to drive Joker away, with a knee to the crotch, but he laughed it off and became more interested in killing her for her having "some fight in her." Joker was then confronted by Batman. The Joker only managed to escape by throwing Rachel Dawes out a window, who Batman then leapt after and saved. That encounter also led him to initially suspect that Batman's true identity was Harvey Dent.
The killings then continued with two innocents and an attempt on the Mayor's life at a memorial for the murdered Loeb. The Joker appeared in public without makeup, impersonated one of the guards, and had most of his gang impersonate the rest of the Honor Guards. In order to further ensure that the GCPD was kept on its toes, Joker also placed a sniper rifle on the windowsill of the apartment room, as well as a timer to release the blinds for the GCPD sharpshooters to shoot at anyone hapless enough to be caught in the trap. Afterward, Joker, still disguised as an Honor Guard, shot his rifle at the Mayor, and Gordon was struck in the back after he willfully leapt in front of Garcia, in order to fake his death to avoid any future attempt by the Joker of attacking him with his family at home. As a result of that, Batman told Dent to call a press conference so he could reveal his identity and stop the killings. In a surprise move, Dent instead claimed to be the Batman himself and was subsequently arrested.
While Dent being transported to the GCPD, the Joker and his gang attacked the caravan of police vehicles to kill Dent with his weapons. Batman soon arrived to stop the assault, but stayed his hand at killing the Joker. The Joker prepared to unmask Batman, but Lt. Gordon, newly resurrected from his hoaxed death, stepped behind him, aimed his shotgun at his back, and said: "We got you, you son of a bitch." The Joker was successfully jailed at MCU, and as a direct result, Lt. James Gordon was promoted to Commissioner by the Mayor. Joker also did a sarcastic clap for the newly-promoted Commissioner.
With the Joker in custody, Gordon and Batman believed his madness was over, but became alarmed when informed that Harvey Dent had gone missing. Desperate, Gordon let Batman interrogate the Joker for information, but the Joker seemed unshaken by the pain. Instead, he gleefully told Batman his view of people as selfish and violent, only needing a little pressure before descending into madness. He also admitted he could never kill Batman, considering him his only equal. Dent's kidnapping was part of a test, to see if Batman would save him or Rachel, whom the Joker could tell Batman cared for. The Joker willingly told him where both were located, and Batman headed over to Rachel's while Gordon and his men headed over to Dent's, unaware that they were heading over to save the opposite person.
After most of the police were gone, the Joker took his guard hostage and escaped by detonating a phone-activated bomb he surgically planted in the stomach of one of his men who was arrested with him, with Lau in tow. After failing to save Rachel and learning about the Joker's escape and Dent's near survival from getting the left side of his face burned away (with Batman's help), Gordon came to the realization that it was a setup and that that Joker planned to be caught to obtain Lau.
In the hospital, Dent was driven to madness over the loss of Rachel, and blamed Batman, Gordon, and the Joker. That act caused Sal Maroni to tell Gordon the Joker's location, now finding him and his craziness "too much" for business. The Joker later met the Chechen in a container ship with Lau and was given his reward: half of the Mob's smuggled money, which he casually burned along with Lau. Joker then betrayed the Chechen and took control of his men. He declared that Gotham deserved a new breed of criminal - one unmotivated by money or power, but who committed crime purely for fun. That corresponded with something that Alfred said to Bruce Wayne earlier in the film:"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
The Joker then made a call to a news program where Coleman Reese was threatening to go public on the news with information about Batman's identity. He was interrupted by the Joker who stated that he had changed his mind, and believed that Gotham would be too boring without Batman. To "give others the fun," joker threatened that if someone didn't kill Reese in sixty minutes, he would blow up a hospital. Gordon then abandoned his ambush on the Joker to focus on evacuating all of the city's hospitals.
During the mass evacuation, the Joker disguised himself as a nurse (still wearing his trademark face paint) and entered the hospital room of Harvey Dent. He first apologized to Dent, and maintained that he was not responsible for Rachel’s death as he lacked any idea for the repercussions of his actions, while the restrained Dent attempted in vain to kill him. The Joker introduced the former D.A. to his view of the world that his time in Gotham had introduced him to, that people, or the "schemers" as he called them, were the truest form of evil in the world, as it was them who laid out the plans of society, including when human lives were expendable.
To prove his argument, Joker pointed out that if his threats were aimed at 'gangbangers' or "soldiers", then people wouldn't really care as society trained them to see the death of such people as acceptable. Thus, Joker turned the disillusioned Dent against society and against the "schemers" who put his and Rachel’s lives in danger, namely the corrupt cops who kidnapped them, as well as the "schemers" who viewed Rachel's life to be expendable, namely Batman and Gordon. After he gave Dent a gun, the Joker advised him to break away from the law that failed him and turn to chaos, which he described as the only truly fair system, as the fate of everyone would be only decided by chance, without the interference of the flawed laws of Man. Dent responded by flipping a coin to decide the Joker's fate, which gave him the same chance that Rachel had. Soon after Dent left, Joker detonated the hospital, and skipped merrily away (pausing and hitting his detonator when most of the bombs temporarily failed to blow). He and his men then stole one of the nearby evacuation buses and kidnapped the TV reporter and his crew inside.
The Joker declared that he would rule the streets and that anyone left in Gotham would be subjected to his rule. Joker told people that they could leave, but that he would have a surprise for them in the tunnel and on the bridge, which people then avoided, used two ferries instead: one ship full of ordinary civilians and one of criminals, as Gordon feared the Joker would want to recruit them. However, the Joker had loaded each of the ferries with explosives, in the hopes of showing everyone how evil and corrupt they could be. Joker gave the passengers of each ship the detonator to the bombs to the other and offered both survival if they detonated the other ferry. If they didn't choose by midnight, the Joker would then blow up both ships.
Batman discovered not only the Joker's location at an unfinished skyscraper, but that the majority of his "gang" were actually hostages who were wearing clown-masks with unloaded guns that were taped to their hands and that the people dressed as the hostages were the actual criminals. Batman was forced to fight not only the Joker's men, but the SWAT teams as well in order to save the hostages.
Batman finally confronted the Joker, which led to an intense fight between the two vigilantes (with the Joker using a metal bar and a knife). But, despite Batman's advanced technology and actual martial arts skill, Joker managed to get the upper-hand with sheer unpredictability, and pinned Batman under a piece of scaffolding. He gleefully waited as the ferry's deadline neared, and was visibly disappointed when both groups of passengers refused to kill the other to save themselves. The civilians voted to blow up the other ferry, but could not bring themselves to actually do so, while one of the convicts on the other ferry stepped forward, took the detonator, threw it out a window, and said that the cops should have done that from the start. As the deadline passed, Batman asked the Joker if he was trying to prove that everyone was as ugly as him deep down, and bluntly informed him that he was alone in both his corruption and insanity. Before Joker could detonate both ferries, Batman hit him with his shooting wrist-blades and threw him over the edge. The Joker started to laugh as he fell down to die, but Batman, refused to kill him, caught him with his Grapple Gun, and left him hanging for the police to capture, much to the Joker's anger.
With that act, the Joker acknowledged that Batman really was incorruptible, but that Dent was no longer the "White Knight". He unleashed the scarred man on the city. Joker stated that Dent was his "ace in the hole" in his plan to show the people of Gotham that everyone was corruptible, thus undoing Dent's work before his transformation into Two-Face. Batman then angrily left a laughing Joker to dangle while he pursued Dent. A SWAT team pointed their guns at the Joker and was promptly arrested.
In this film adaptation, the titular character is called Arthur Fleck and he is the protagonist villain portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. Due to his mother, Penny Fleck's mental illness, Arthur worked as an advertising clown for a talent agency, in order to use the future salary to recover his mother from her illnesses and to help himself. However, Arthur had a condition which caused him to laugh at inappropriate times and goes to see a therapist who would help him with medication for his disorder.
Whilst on duty holding a sign in front of the goers of Gotham, a gang of teenagers steal the sign from him, prompting Arthur to chase to the alley where they ambush him by smashing the sign in his face and brutally kick him whilst he is on the ground, increasing his sanity problems. After a visit to Arkham regarding on his medication, Arthur returns to his flat with his mother where they watch a late-night show hosted by Murray Franklin. Arthur fantasized himself to be on the show with Murray Franklin who would warmly call out to him and wishes he has a son like him.
His co-worker, Randall, heard of the incident in the alley, gives Arthur a gun for self-defense. Arthur soon meets his neighbor Sophie Dumond who is a single mother of her little girl and invites her to his stand-up show where they began dating. One day, when Arthur is entertaining at the children's hospital, his gun falls out of his pocket, leading to his dismissal from his job. On the way home via subway, his witness a young woman being harassed by three drunk young Wayne Enterprises stock holders. Due to his uncontrolled laughter, he attracts the young men's attention, thus allowing her to flee and resulting the young stock holder to beat him up violently. During the skirmish, Arthur whipped out his gun and shoots down two of the men and severely wounds the other one. Arthur follows the wounded stockholder out of the subway and kills him on the staircase. After leaving terrified of what he has done, but concludes that he loved killing them.
The incident was reported on the news that resulted the beginning of a social anarchistic movement known as The Clowns, which cause massively destructive riots against the rich and the powerful population, doing riots even in Thomas Wayne's speech of becoming a mayor for Gotham - it turns out that he is planning to rid the poor and decimate their homes. To make things worse for Arthur, the funding cuts off the social service program, leaving him without medication.
Arthur's health soon degrades as he began writing jokes in his notebook and appears at the night club. However, his comedy act goes poorly making him laugh uncontrollably and unable to deliver his jokes properly. One day, Arthur intercepts a letter from Penny to Thomas Wayne, and confronts her for hiding the truth from him. Unfortunately, his mother suffers a stroke and is hospitalized. Whilst at the hospital, Arthur soon watches clips of Arthur's comedy act on Murray Franklin's show as to humiliate him, driving Arthur increasingly mad.
To find out of his parentage, Arthur arrives at the gates of Wayne Manor and entertains his estranged brother, Bruce Wayne, who is Thomas Wayne's son, before Arthur is rudely dismissed by the butler, Alfred Pennyworth. In order to personally speak with Thomas Wayne himself, Arthur disguises himself as a lobby worker to sneaking into a private screening of Modern Times. Seeing the man going to the bathroom, Arthur follows him there and Thomas rudely denies that he is his father, stating Arthur's mother Penny is insane and obsessed with him which leads Arthur into a mental breakdown while triggering his pathogical laughter. Thomas punches him in the nose in response, warning him to not touch his son again.
Feeling confused and upset, Arthur finds the service file of his mother and steals it where he learns the truth that Penny adopted Arthur as a baby and allowed her abusive boyfriend to harm them both. Penny alleged that Thomas used his influence to fabricate the adoption and commit her to the asylum to hide their affair. Now feeling distraught and hurt, Arthur smothers his mother with a pillow, satisfied that his has killed his mother. After arriving at Sophie's apartment unannounced, Sophie becomes frightened at Arthur's delusions from their previous encounters and telling him to leave, signifying their break-up.
Soon, Arthur receives a phone call that he is invited to come onto Franklin's talk show as the result of his popularity of his bombed comedy act. Whilst applying his clown make-up, he is visited by Randall and Gary where they discuss recent events. Arthur then murders Randall with a pair of scissors and smashing him against the wall, but spares Gary for treating him well in the past. After his applies his make-up and dying his hair green, he deems himself as Joker.
Unfortunately, two GCPD detectives (who Arthur encountered earlier at the hospital) began chasing him and Arthur loses the tail when one of the detectives shoot one of the clown protester in a train where it is filled with clown protesters. Prior to the show being live, Arthur request to Franklin that he should be referred as Joker, referencing Franklin's mockery of Arthur. When he is called on-stage of the show, Arthur receives warm reception from the audience, but tells morbid jokes that disgusts the other two contestants who were on-stage. Arthur eventually admits the murder of the three stock-holders to Franklin and makes a rant about how society abandons the disenfranchised, horrifying the audience. Arthur then calls out Murray for mocking him of his comedy act and shoots him, killing him, spreading more horror to the audience. When he leaves the studio, Arthur is arrested.
Due to the incident live on TV, riots broke out in the streets of Gotham where he begins to laugh uncontrollably (and one rioter murders Thomas and Martha Wayne, but spares Bruce). An ambulance crashes into the police car, and Arthur is rescued by the clown protesters. Despite suffer injuries, Arthur smiles evilly as the rioters praise him, making him the popular leader of the Clowns.
After being detained in Arkham, Arthur laughs to himself and tells his psychiatrist that should would not understand his joke. Soon, he walks in the corridors, leaving a trail of bloodied footprints that implies he killed her and is then pursed by the Arkham orderlies.
Archenemy, Attempted Killer and Attempted Victim.
- (Threating a young Bruce Wayne after murdering his parents) "Tell me, kid. You ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?"
- "If you gotta go...GO WITH A SMILE!" (The Joker persuading everyone to try his Smylex products, which will ironically lead to their deaths, after laughing.)
- (Laughing hysterically; to an inanimate gargoyle statue) "What are you laughing at?!"
- (Last words, before he ironically falls to his death from the rope ladder, weighed down by a gargoyle attached to his leg with Batman's grappling hook) "Sometimes, I just kill myself!"
- He is the only main villain of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher series that does not share the role of main villain with another. The villains of Batman Returns are The Penguin, Max Shreck, and Catwoman, the villains of Batman Forever are Two-Face and The Riddler, and the villains of Batman & Robin are Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane.
- He looks similar to Cesar Romero's Joker from the Adam West Batman TV series, except his hair is more green than yellow and his suit is more purple.