Jul 21, 2008

Dark Chivalry

I saw the Dark Knight tonight. If you haven't seen it, go see it. Right now.

Seriously, right now.

I cannot review the movie because I could never hope to do it justice. But I can say this: this movie actually made me upset that Heath Ledger is dead. Callous as that sounds, and as tragic as his circumstances were (any death is always tragic), I personally don't believe being able to entertain a few people is cause for national mourning. Soldiers killed in combat serving our country move me much more, and where is their press coverage? That's a rhetorical question, of course, and perhaps a rant for another day.

But Heath did something magical as the Joker. At all times when he was on screen I was simultaneously fascinated, appalled, frightened and captivated. It's selfish I admit, but I'm pissed off no one will ever be able to be the Joker again... at least not one as perfect as Heath Ledger's.

See, my exposure to the character of the Joker was that of the cartoon show as a kid, and the Jack Nicholson version of the Joker. As I was explained to by a friend, those were at best a parody of the comic book's version, ironically making the Joker to be more of a clown than he was. Heath's Joker was truer to the comic book: dark, and truly twisted.

And yet, the Joker makes sense. He's the exact opposite of Batman. Where Batman is trying to protect the order within Gotham, the Joker is simply trying to plunge it into chaos. No more, no less. And though he was an agent of chaos he had a plan all along, only finally knowing what his true motives were at the end of the movie.

The depth of this Joker was almost unreal too. His insanity was apparent from get go with the bank robbery he masterminded, and his "magic trick" shortly thereafter is something that's going to stick with me for a good long while.

Balance that out with the Joker's comic nature which was shown in subtle, yet powerful ways. Watch the scene where he's blowing up a hospital in a nurses outfit and tell me that isn't anything but brilliant. There were little mannerisms here and there all throughout the movie that really made you laugh as you were anxious to see what the Joker did next.

And the different stories the Joker kept telling on how he got the scars on his face was an incredibly powerful way to get me to think about what makes the Joker tick. Throughout the movie I kept trying to figure the Joker out, and at no point - even at the end - did I ever really get much answered, which makes him now (at the time of this writing) all the more enthralling.

For me, this Joker is easily as the greatest movie villain of all time. Before seeing this movie, Hannibal Lecter held that spot without question. Hannibal is a smart, calculating, chilling villain that would make me soil myself if I met him in real life.

Heath Ledger's Joker? He's like that but to a much much grander scale. Also, he does it with a smile on his face.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Agreed. I just saw the movie last night and I can't stop thinking about it. He was amazing.