Heath Ledger Is Definitely The Joker

Three things about the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight: 1) it was amazing; 2) it was a bit too long; and 3) Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker. Coincidence or not, but the title of the movie The Dark Knight is reminiscent of the comic book written and drawn by comic icon, Frank Miller by the similar name of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It was the return of Batman to his true dark nature. This movie definitely has Batman/Bruce Wayne going down that same dark, disturbing path.

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Heath Ledger as the Joker. Image from http://popculturewilleatitself.com.

The first time I heard of Heath Ledger was in the Mel Gibson movie: The Patriot playing Benjamin Martin’s (Mel Gibson) son, Gabriel Martin. The second time I heard of Heath Ledger was when he played the lead William Thatcher in A Knight’s Tale. Ledger was good, but I was never too into his style. I never saw Brokeback Mountain, so I can’t say how good his performance was, but according to reports, it was the movie that made critics take him seriously.

So when I heard he had been cast as the new Joker, I didn’t know how good of a casting choice that was. But apparently a lot of people started talking. Sample videos online looked very, very promising and definitely changed my mind. When the first peek picture of the new Joker was released, I knew they made the perfect choice for the Joker.

Then we saw The Dark Knight. All the reports of an Oscar worthy performance was definitely not over-exaggerated. When you watch him, you truly believe that if a Joker really existed, this would be the very incarnation of your nightmare. Ledger was definitely the stand out star in The Dark Knight, overshadowing both Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Aaron Eckhart (Harvey “Two Face” Dent). It is a shame that Ledger won’t be back for the next Batman movie; but he gave the performance of his life.

I definitely enjoyed Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman, but I find Ledger’s Joker very refreshing. Eckhart’s performance as Two Face was also true to the character, much better than Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Knight. DC Comics has definitely been upping the ante since the highly successful release of Batman Begins and Superman Returns. My biggest gripe is that the movie was perhaps a bit too long, maybe 45 minutes too long. Andrea felt the same, the movie was too long. I definitely understand that The Dark Knight has many elements that needed to be thoroughly developed to fully experience the richness of the Batman franchise, but some parts could have been shortened. I don’t want to give any examples as to not spoil the movie.

One of the most enjoyable parts was watching Batman be the true Batman, the flawed hero whose moral and ethical compass changes to suit the needs unlike the infallible Superman. Go watch The Dark Knight. It’s definitely worth it.

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