With 'The Avengers' on the way, we look at the best portrayals of the subgenre
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4. Jack Nicholson, "Batman" (1989)
"Iconic." That's a rather inarguable descriptor for Jack Nicholson's take on the Caped Crusader's pale-faced arch nemesis, the Joker, in Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster "Batman." The performance changed the landscape of the sub-genre in ways good and bad, but mostly it was a burst of dedicated color that Nicholson brought to the show. He was rewarded BAFTA, Chicago Film Critics Association and Golden Globe (lead, in fact) nominations, but Oscar opted out. Nevertheless, it's a certain standard that the actor set and one that's considered a measuring stick to this day.