A hero is only as good as its villain, but some villains have even managed to surpass their own adversaries… in terms of popularity, that is. For instance, there was a time when Loki was one of the brightest highlights of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there's no question why most of the best DC movies have the Joker in them.
The God of Mischief and the Clown Prince of Crime have become the heroes of their respective universes’ darker sides and only continue to grow more influential, with Todd Phillips’ unfathomably bleak Joker taking home Oscars and Tom Hiddleston reprising his Marvel character in his own Disney+ spin-off series. The question is, which one of big baddies is the biggest and the baddest?
Let us take a moment to imagine Joker finds a way to sneak through the Bifrost into Asgard, crossing paths with old Loki, and inciting a quarrel of bombastic proportions in which only one can be the ultimate victor. By thorough analysis of the characteristics that give them a leg up on their usual foes and the flaws that put them at a fatal disadvantage, I theorize which one of these two devilish evildoers will have the laugh.
Inspired by the Norse figure of the same name, Loki is the adoptive son of Asgardian king, Odin, but his true parentage is that of deceased Frost Giant, Laufey. His tendency for trickery by the use of his power to alter his own appearance and project illusions of his choosing have earned him the mythological title of “God of Mischief,” which he proudly owns in his every attempt to usurp the throne of Asgard from his brother, Thor, the God of Thunder, or even take control of the whole universe, which the Avengers thankfully put a stop to in their inaugural assembly.
In addition to his shapeshifting power, Loki’s Frost Giant lineage endows him with a variety of abilities unique to the average Asgardian, such as increased superhuman strength, durability, and stamina that make him an impressive opponent in combat (even against Thor), in addition to a regenerative healing ability, slow-aging process, and immunity to all earthly infections commonly shared among the people of Asgard. With an extensive knowledge of the mystic arts, he is also one of the most skilled sorcerers of his realm, possessing a variety of abilities that have come in handy against adversaries, such as telekinesis, energy blasts and force fields, dimension hopping, and bringing inanimate objects to life. So, do not be alarmed when his prized sword, Laeveteinn, slithers its way toward you all of the sudden.
Admittedly, Loki’s impressive sorcery is not without its limitations, such as suffering weakness in magical effectiveness on realms outside of Asgard and, despite his extrasensory abilities, he cannot read nor control the minds of others. However, his most crucial and debilitating flaw is easily his own ambition, which, paired with an unquenchable thirst for power and a general lack of human understanding, has sealed his downfall on numerous occasions. He may have the confidence to brave an opponent like the Joker, but he is too ignorant to realize just who he is messing with…
Depending on which interpretation you accept as canon, the true origins of the Joker are widely unknown, even to himself, although he prefers to keep his life story “multiple choice.” However, behind that white face, green hair, and red, grinning smile, what is clear about him are his intentions to lead the world into chaos.
It would be unwise to let that clownish makeup distract you from how dangerous this man truly is for, despite his chemically induced mania, his criminal mastery is equivalent to the genius-level intellect of Batman. In fact, the Joker could be considered his arch nemesis' equal in other various ways that range from expertise in various types of gadgetry and weaponry, stealthiness, disguises, intimidation, and a tendency to dodge certain death. That latter characteristic is due to his resistance to intense pain and quick recovery from injury - another side effect of his chemical transformation that greatly comes in handy when Batman is beating him to pulp.
Of course, on the other side of that coin, you will rarely see the Joker best Batman in combat because fighting is not his strong suit, at least in an organized fashion. Otherwise, the only other known weakness of his could also be considered a strength: his obsessive personality, especially when it comes to taking down the Dark Knight. Maybe if Loki were to make himself look like Batman, that would be enough to get the clown's blood boiling.
Loki Vs. Joker
They are matched in emotional damage, dangerous mischief, and genius-level criminal mastery, but they are unmatched in fighting ability and training in the mystic arts, of which Loki has the best advantage. However, he and the Joker can punch, kick, or throw magic back and forth (the Clown Prince knows a few tricks) all they want, but it is not going to do any good because whatever physical damage they cause each will be nothing but a scratch by the next round thanks to their shared regenerative healing ability. The true test of supremacy between these two relies on mental strength.
Now, you may think that Loki has the upper hand on a psychologically disturbed maniac in that realm, but if you recall, the Joker is the same man who tricked Superman into killing his own wife, so I would not underestimate this clown's brain power. In fact, I would argue that Joker has the advantage on Loki mentally based simply on the fact that, while the God of Mischief's greatest weakness is his superiority inferiority complex, the Joker has no such flaw for he is way too damaged already to fall to the mercy of his ego. Just as many a battle against humans have ended for him, Loki would be too distracted by his own hubris to predict (or even comprehend) how a mere mortal could defeat him, but Joker always has a plan (Joker Venom mixed with steroids to increase his strength or a quick read-up at Sanctum Santorum's library) to ensure he has the laugh.
What do you think? Does Joker deserve the crown or do you think I'm just pulling another Loki-style trick. Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for more comic book movie news and hypothetical character battles here on CinemaBlend.