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Quote1 Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. See to them, you're just a freak... like me. They need you right now... but when they don't... they'll cast you out like a leper. You see, their morals, their code... it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these, these civilized people... they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve. Quote2
The Joker src

The Joker is an enigmatic and sadistic terrorist with a Glaswegian smile who terrorized Gotham City and its protector Batman. His only motive was to prove his nihilistic philosophy about the lack of human goodness, killing several powerful people in the city and driving Harvey Dent mad to cause as much chaos as possible.

Possible Origins

Very little is known for certain about the origin of the man who would become the Joker, as he fabricated news story of how he got his smile-like scars with each retelling. In one instance, he claimed his drunken father gave it to him after murdering his mother. In another instance, the Joker claimed that he did it to himself to cheer up his wife and show solidarity after she was scarred by loan sharks by not paying off her debt to them, and her rejection of him caused him to lose his mind with heartbreak.

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A true John Doe

Whatever the case, the man became a nihilistic anarchist, finding death and destruction funny and proudly declaring that the only way to live was without rules. Wearing messy clown makeup and a green and purple suit, he rallied others to his cause of madness as the homicidal terrorist known only as "The Joker", and eventually he made his way to Gotham City, leaving a joker playing card at all his crimes.[1][2]

Hunting the Batman

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Threatening the mob

While in Gotham, the Joker came into indirect conflict with police captain Jim Gordon and the Batman, a vigilante who worked with the police and helped them keep down crime. He decided the best way to cause chaos in Gotham was to take down the Batman, leaving the criminals free reign like they did before him. The Joker then robbed a bank controlled by Gotham's mafia, and used the money to bargain with Gotham's kingpins to "hire" him to kill the Batman in exchange for half the mob's money. They agreed when their Chinese accountant, Mister Lau, was captured by Batman, and the Joker went to work by killing a Batman impersonator, warning the real Batman on television that if he didn't unmask and turn himself in to the police, more people would die every day until he did.

The next day, Batman still not having unmasked, the Joker killed public officials Commissioner Loeb and Judge Surillo, who was presiding over the mob trials. A few days later at Loeb's funeral, the Joker attempted to kill Mayor Garcia, but instead shot Jim Gordon, presumably killing him as he tried to save the mayor's life. Deciding enough was enough, the righteous and passionate district attorney Harvey Dent announced at a press conference that he was Batman, and was promptly arrested and taken into a police convoy to be transported to prison. The Joker tried to intercept the convoy and kill Harvey, but the real Batman arrived and, with the help of Gordon, who had faked his death at the Joker's hands, took him down and brought him back to the police station.

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Batman interrogates the Joker

While Gordon transported Joker to the police station, his men kidnapped Harvey and his lover, Rachel Dawes, and sent them to separate buildings on opposite sides of the city, both wired to explode at the same time. Batman interrogated the Joker, attempting to get information out of him, and finally meeting and now having fought Batman, the Joker decided he didn't want Batman dead, and that the fight was too much fun to give up. He toyed with Batman, getting him angrier and angrier as the Joker merely got more and more amused, all while trying to convince him of his philosophy that madness is the only salvation. When he finally told Batman the addresses, Batman went after Rachel, but the Joker gave him the opposite addresses and Batman only arrived in time to save Harvey. Using an explosive planted in one of his henchmen, the Joker broke out of the GCPD headquarters as both bombs exploded, killing Rachel and burning half of Harvey's face, as half of it was covered in gasoline and was sparked by the nearby explosion.[1]

Attacks on Gotham

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Destroying Harvey's mind

The Joker, now free, burned his half of the mafia's money and decided to play around with the Batman some more. When a man named Coleman Reese announced on television that he knew Batman's identity, the Joker placed a bounty on his head, threatening to destroy a hospital if Reese wasn't killed within an hour. As emergency services evacuated the city's hospitals and chaos reigned in the streets, the Joker infiltrated Gotham General Hospital where the bitter, disillusioned, and disfigured Harvey Dent had been left restrained to his hospital bed. In the ultimate gesture of his anarchistic philosophy, Joker tried goading Harvey into killing him for revenge. Harvey left it up to a coin toss, which he lost, and the Joker freed Harvey to run off while he destroyed the hospital.

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The final battle

With the panic arising in Gotham, the populous began evacuating via the river. However, the Joker rigged two of the evacuating ferries with explosives, one with civilians and one with inmates from Blackgate Penitentiary, and placed the detonators for the other boat's bomb on each ferry, ordering each ferry to destroy the other or he'd destroy both by midnight. As the time ran down, Batman located the Joker and the two had an intense brawl, and the Joker managed to subdue the vigilante, prepared for one of the boats to explode. To his disappointment, neither ferry was sacrificed before the deadline, and Batman stopped the Joker from destroying them both. He captured the Joker and prepared to leave him for the police, but Joker revealed that he had destroyed Harvey's mind and let him loose on the city, having truly won by corrupting Gotham's symbol of justice. Joker was then captured by the police, his fate afterwards unknown.[1][3]

Legacy

The Joker's reign of chaos and terror nearly tore Gotham City apart through fear and was nearly brought to ruin by Harvey's downfall and murderous rampage. However, Batman killed Harvey and took credit for his crimes, and the city honored Harvey as a hero, restoring hope to it. The Dent Act was formed, making insanity pleas harder to claim in court, and Batman was driven to retirement, disappearing for eight years, and resurfacing one last time when Bane attacked the city. In his desperate attempt to break Gotham's soul, the Joker made it stronger than ever before, not even being able to claim Harvey's downfall as a victory.[1][3]


Abilities

Other Characteristics


Weapons

  • Numerous Pocket Knives
  • Rocket Launcher
  • Handgun
  • Shotgun
  • Rifle
  • Explosives
  • Shoe Knife
  • Submachine Gun
  • Truncheon


  • According to the novelization of The Dark Knight Rises written by Greg Cox, no one in Gotham really knows what happened to the Joker: "Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible to cop an insanity plea, it had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham's sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina."
  • After defeating the Joker, Batman tells him that the villain will spend the rest of his life in a padded cell and the Joker replies that they are gonna share one in the future due to how fast the people of Gotham go insane. A further confirmation that the Joker was sent to Arkham Asylum besides the The Dark Knight Rises novelization.
  • When he did eventually decide to complete the trilogy, director Christopher Nolan decided to pay homage to Heath Ledger and his Joker, by not mentioning the character at all at the same time. Nolan decided to pay a subtle visual tribute to Ledger's generational performance as the Clown Prince of Crime by recreating the character's iconic smile during the unveiling of a Batman statue during The Dark Knight Rises' final moments.

Related

Footnotes


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Batman Villain(s)
This character, team or organization, has been primarily an enemy of the Batman, or the Batman Family as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Batman Villains."

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