Batman / Batman Joker

What Does the Joker Do in Batman 1989?

The Joker, one of the most iconic villains in the Batman universe, made his cinematic debut in the 1989 movie directed by Tim Burton. Played by the legendary actor Jack Nicholson, the Joker is a character that stands out in every scene he appears in.

But what exactly does he do in Batman 1989? Let’s take a closer look.

Origins of The Joker

Before diving into his role in the movie, it’s important to understand who the Joker is and where he came from. In the comic books, he is known as the Clown Prince of Crime and is considered to be Batman’s arch-nemesis. The character was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson and first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940.

The Joker’s Role in Batman 1989

In the movie, The Joker is initially introduced as Jack Napier, a mobster working for crime boss Carl Grissom. After being set up by Grissom to take the fall for a failed attempt on Commissioner Gordon’s life, Napier falls into a vat of chemicals during a confrontation with Batman and emerges as The Joker.

As The Joker, Nicholson delivers a performance that is both terrifying and entertaining. He revels in chaos and destruction and his main goal is to become Gotham City’s top gangster. He kills anyone who stands in his way without remorse and even goes as far as poisoning beauty products to turn people into laughing maniacs.

Jack Nicholson’s Iconic Performance

One of the most memorable aspects of Batman 1989 is Nicholson’s portrayal of The Joker. His performance incorporates elements of humor, darkness, and pure insanity that make him an unforgettable villain.

His delivery of lines like “This town needs an enema!” or “Wait till they get a load of me” are now iconic moments in movie history.

The Joker’s Impact on Batman 1989

The Joker’s presence in the movie adds a layer of complexity to the story and elevates it beyond a simple hero vs. villain plot. His methods of terrorizing the city and causing chaos force Batman to question his own methods of fighting crime. The relationship between Batman and The Joker is also explored in depth, with their final showdown being one of the most memorable moments in the film.


Overall, The Joker’s role in Batman 1989 is vital to the movie’s success. Nicholson’s performance as the character elevates him beyond just a simple villain and makes him a cultural icon. His impact on the story and characters make for an engaging and entertaining movie that still holds up over 30 years later.