This page is dedicated to Heath Ledger (1979-2008), who always been the Prine of Clown Crime
The Joker is the main antagonist of the 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight, the second installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman film series titled The Dark Knight Trilogy. He was a psychotic anarchist and notorious criminal mastermind who, describing himself as an agent of chaos, rose to power in the criminal underworld by thrusting Gotham City into turmoil, and drew Batman ever closer to crossing the fine line between heroism and vigilantism.
His depiction in the film is often considered by many to be the darkest and most realistic version of the original Clown Prince of Crime since his early beginnings in DC comics (prior to a softening of character), at least in regards to the live-action films. Perhaps due to the popularity of The Dark Knight, the mainstream Joker's extreme sociopathic tendencies have begun to be more emphasized.
He was portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, who also played Tony Shepard in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Why He Puts More Than a Smile on Our Face
- Back when The Dark Knight was still in development, everyone was worried about Heath Ledger being confirmed to be playing the Joker and claimed that he might not be as good as Mark Hamill or Jack Nicholson, but Ledger proved them all wrong by giving a lot effort to his role and character, and managed to be not only one of the best villains in the movie, but one of the best characters in cinema.
- Heath Ledger does a near-pitch-perfect performance as the criminal mastermind. He completely deserved that posthumous Oscar for supporting actor. It gets even more impressive when you realize he usually plays romantic roles, and not villain roles, let alone this guy.
- Along with Joaquin Phoenix, this version of the Joker is considered the most realistic version of the Joker ever put on screen. All of the fantasy elements from the previous versions had been removed, leaving us with an ordinary man with face paint and a sadistic sense of humor, which makes him even scarier, since people like this incarnation of the Joker exist in real life.
- While the Joker's designs in the comics and the '90s cartoons have a clean style to his makeup, this design of Joker is messy, but captures the gritty nature of Christopher Nolan's trilogy.
- That being said, he's a crazy-prepared strategist. From the first few minutes we see him onscreen, he's able to keep his identity a secret from everyone he had hired, he robbed a mob bank with a plan in mind, he's not afraid of anything, and we see he's a serious villain to be feared and doesn't even have honor among the other robbers. Now that's one epic character introduction!
- Despite being terrifying, he captured Joker's twisted sense of humor extremely well (i.e.: the pencil scene).
- During the hospital scene, he tottered out of Gotham General with the hospital exploding around him. The explosion stops for several seconds, causing him to fiddle with the detonator, before the explosions suddenly continue. Heath Ledger didn't break character, or even turn around to watch the explosion even when he gets on the bus, resulting in one of the most memorable and badass scenes in the film. Plus Ledger did it all in one take! Now that's acting!
- As usual, he's meant to embody themes of chaos, anarchy, and obsession; he expresses a desire to upset social order through crime and defines himself by his conflict with Batman.
- He has a lot of memorable dialogue:
- "Do I really look like a guy with a plan?"
- "Very poor choice of words."
- "I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"
- "Do you want to know where I got these scars?"
- "Why so serious?"
- "Let's put a smile on that face!"
- "It's not about money, it's about sending a message."
- I'm about to make this pencil disappear!"
- "Come on, hit me. Hit me!"
- "In their last moments, people will show who they truly are."
- He's of the most successful versions of the Joker ever. He managed to successfully kill Batman's girlfriend, scared Harvey Dent's face and turned him evil, and even when Batman took him down, he still technically won by accomplishing his goal and wanting vowing he'd come back.
- His plan is convoluted, far-fetched, and could have easily failed.
- His makeup doesn't look as good as some other incarnations of the character.
- He wasn’t mentioned or shown in a flashback in The Dark Knight Rises, probably out of respect for Heath Ledger.