Batman / Batman Joker

Who Was the Joker When Michael Keaton Was Batman?

The Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history, and his portrayal in movies has been equally impressive. One of the most memorable portrayals of the Joker was by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 movie “Batman,” which starred Michael Keaton as Batman. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at who the Joker was in this movie and how he was portrayed on screen.

Who Was The Joker?

In the 1989 movie “Batman,” the Joker was portrayed as a gangster named Jack Napier. Napier was a ruthless criminal who worked for crime boss Carl Grissom, played by Jack Palance.

When Grissom discovered that Napier was having an affair with his mistress, he sent him on a mission that would result in his death. However, things didn’t go as planned and Napier ended up falling into a vat of chemicals during a confrontation with Batman.

The Transformation

The chemicals that Napier fell into changed him both physically and mentally. His skin turned white, his hair turned green, and he went insane.

He became obsessed with Batman and wanted to get revenge on him for causing his transformation. He also became fixated on Vicki Vale, played by Kim Basinger, who was romantically involved with Bruce Wayne (Batman’s alter ego).

The Portrayal

Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker was both terrifying and humorous at the same time. He brought a level of charisma to the character that made him likable even though he was doing terrible things. His performance earned him critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.


In conclusion, Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in “Batman” is still considered one of the best portrayals of the character to date. His performance brought new life to an already iconic character and solidified the Joker’s place in pop culture history. The movie itself was also a huge success and helped to usher in a new era of superhero movies.