With 'The Avengers' on the way, we look at the best portrayals of the subgenre
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1. Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" (2008)
So. Anti. Climactic. But Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is unquestionably one of the most iconic portrayals in recent memory, particularly impressive following in the shoes of the #4 entry on this list. I thought hard about knocking it back to #2 but just couldn't justify it. Some things are cliche for a reason, I suppose. Ledger charted new territory in the film, tap-dancing with nihilistic glee on the tiny edge of reality's grasp, a true symbol of anarchy in the titular hero's precariously constructed sense of order. The only performer on the list to win an Oscar for his work, indeed, the only comic book portrayal to ever be given the Academy's lofty approval, Ledger's joker will live on forever as a cinematic milestone. How could it be anyone else? And how will that legacy be remembered in the closing installment?