In the pantheon of great comic book villains, Thanos, the Mad Titan, and Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime, hold a special place above all others. Two of the most prominent villains in their respective universes, Joker and Thanos are responsible for some of the most disastrous and unforgivable crimes to ever happen in comic books.
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Although Thanos only had one big screen portrayal, at least so far, Joker’s cinematic story dates back to 1966, when Cesar Romero first played him in Batman. Joaquin Phoenix is the latest actor to play the Joker, winning an Oscar for his performance. Both Thanos and Joker are villainous to the core, but which of the two is the most evil? The answer might not be as simple as it seems.
10 Thanos Is More Evil: He Killed His Daughter
Filicide is one of the most heinous acts someone can commit. Thanos’s murder of Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War shows the Mad Titan has no respect for any sort of commitment. The fact that he clearly cares about Gamora and is still willing to sacrifice her life in service of his greater purpose is truly telling about how merciless he truly is.
Furthermore, Thanos’s cruel treatment of Nebula shows his contempt for everyone he considers weaker or beneath him, which is pretty much everyone in the universe (more on that later).
9 Joker Is More Evil: He Killed His Mother
Joker takes things to the next level with what is quite possibly the worst crime a human can commit, matricide. Joker indeed takes the easy way out by having Arthur be adopted and making Penny directly responsible for his troubled mental state, which does take away some of the emotional impact from the murder scene.
However, and at the end of the day, Penny was still Arthur’s mother figure, even with all her mistakes and delusions. Arthur killing her, despite his obvious affection for her, is a clear sign of the darker path he’s about to take, one from which there’s no return.
8 Thanos Is More Evil: He’s Too Prideful
It’s a common conception that the worse of the seven deathly sins, by far, is pride. It both enables and destroys the victim, who often goes down by his or her own hand. Pride makes people entitled, destructive, totalitarian, and merciless, adjectives that describe Thanos to a tee.
Thanos’s pride, along with a surprising amount of determination, allows him to eventually achieve his nefarious goal of whipping half the life in the universe. It also causes his own downfall, but that’s another story. What’s important is that this fatal flaw defines Thanos, taking him further away from any sense of redemption or regret.
7 Joker Is More Evil: He’s A Misanthrope
One of the Joker’s defining traits is his sense of anarchy, as unbreakable as Batman’s sense of morality. Joker’s feelings towards society change depending on the actor portraying him and the writer behind his words. Phoenix’s version certainly becomes a misanthrope by the end of Joker.
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Joker’s hatred for the idea of society, along with his unhealthy obsession with Batman, is arguably behind all of his actions. Depending on the version, he either has an actual plan or he doesn’t, and whenever he does, altering the established order is always one of his main purposes.
6 Thanos Is More Evil: He Has A God Complex
Thanos’s pride logically led to a God Complex. The Mad Titan sees himself as a savior, a force of good whose sole purpose is to bring balance to the universe. He fails to see the selfishness and cruelty of his own actions, and while he doesn’t hide the pleasure he gets from destroying his enemies, he certainly sees himself as a messiah of sorts.
This state of mind excuses all his killings and carnage, at least in his mind. The fact he has an army of supporters and enablers that actually buy his whole schtick is the tip of the iceberg.
5 Joker Is More Evil: He Has Nothing Left
By the end of his movie, Joker has nothing left to fight for other than his own sense of justice. He murdered his mother and his relationship with Sophie turned out to be a figment of his imagination. With no friends and no ties to the outside world, Joker is now trapped within his own self, in a place where he is both warden and prisoner, judge and executioner.
People sometimes say that there’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose. And while this isn’t entirely true, Joker does make a strong case for the theory.
4 Thanos Is More Evil: His Bite Is Worse Than His Bark
Many MCU villains end up being rather underwhelming. They’re not only ultimately useless, but they fail to make much of a statement with their actions. Indeed, the most effective villains – Zemo, Vulture, Mysterio – are the ones that leave the hero with real consequences, instead of just a badly damaged suit.
Thanos lives up to his moniker, the Mad Titan. He’s not only immensely strong and imposing but also powerful and feared throughout the galaxy. He has a large army at his disposal and numerous worlds conquered. He’s someone who can wage war on the entire universe and could actually win if he wanted to.
3 Joker Is More Evil: He Has No Plan
One of the things that makes Joker so dangerous is his lack of direction. The character often draws comparisons to a mad dog or a child with no boundaries. In more ways than one, Joker is an appetite who keeps consuming without stopping because he doesn’t know how to.
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The Joker in the 2019 film is no exception. He inspires an entire revolution without really wanting it and becomes the symbol of an idea he doesn’t really share. The fact that Joker goes through life with no purpose other than provoking chaos and disorder makes him the ultimate force for uncontrolled and absolute evil.
2 Thanos Is More Evil: He Has A Purpose
The other side of the coin is someone with a clear purpose, who’ll stop at nothing until he gets it. The MCU makes it clear that Thanos spent years developing his plan, carefully putting the pieces together until he could actually put it into motion.
Thanos’s determination and commitment to his own set of rules and ideas make him more dangerous than a mad dog. He has a clear path to follow and an ardent desire to see his ambition come to life. He might not embrace chaos as a means to get his way, but Thanos’s controlled structure can be just as dangerous as Joker’s chaos, if not more.
1 Joker Is More Evil: He Has No Boundaries
To go with his trademark anarchy, Joker lacks any sense of boundaries. He’ll kill anyone that gets in his way, not out of hatred or strategy, but out of pure and unadulterated chaos. Joker doesn’t see life in terms of wrong or right and instead chooses to lead a lawless existence where nothing has a purpose and everything is up for grabs.
Joker’s evil is blind, careless, relentless, and callous. He feels no remorse and can’t be bought or reasoned with. He’s the ultimate weapon for destruction because he’s the man willing to set himself on fire if that means burning the entire world too.
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About The Author
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David is a twenty-eight-year-old Mexican writer and reader. Having studied Marketng in school, he spent three years working a nine-to-five desk job before deciding to pursue a writing career. He now works as a List Writer in ScreenRant and does some more freelancing job, talking about the entertainment business he so loves. Currently, he’s also writing his second novel while actively working to get his first one published.
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