There comes a time for everything; fate takes matter into its own hands. Heroes fall; heroes rise, but not much is said about the villain. After all, aren’t villains just as human as everyone else? Villains are usually created to make even the most flawed hero look good, to provide a foundation for the hero to show his true qualities.
In short, villains are usually just there to make a hero a hero. But as I said earlier, there comes a time for everything. Heath Ledger may have lost his life all those months ago, but his legacy will live long, especially after his latest portrayal as The Joker in The Dark Knight. And this time, the villain takes the shine off the hero. The Joker stole Batman’s thunder.
In what could only be described as a virtuoso performance, the Australian thespian outclassed every cast member in the latest installment of the beloved DC Comic franchise, and that in itself is testimony of the fallen actor’s talent and ability as The Dark Knight boasts the A-Z of great actors. Michael Caine is a genius; Gary Oldman is marvelously wonderful ; Morgan Freeman is an icon, and above all, Christian Bale is one of the best in the business, but Ledger, in the sorrow of his passing, rose above mortality and gave The Joker a new lease of life.
The Dark Knight is no off-the-mill superhero movie. It is more than that; it borders on psychological thriller while not forgetting its superhero routes. Many superhero franchises have tried and failed miserably in trying to feature the inner struggle of a superhero on the big screen. Spiderman tried last year with the whole forgettable Peter Parker versus the Symbion storyline. Years ago, Ang Lee totally bored us with an attempt to analyze The Incredible Hulk beyond the necessary.
But The Dark Knight is set against a backdrop of corruption and darkness. With the City of Gotham in disarray, Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne is disillusioned. Masked vigilante? Antihero? His secret identity has become a burden, and the introduction of a sick psychopath in the shape of The Joker complicates matters. Misunderstood? Crazy? The Joker takes it all in his stride.
When I first saw the Joker, I was reminded of Stephen King’s It The Clown, arguably the scariest movie character of the ’90s in my household.
I am sorry you guys had to see the scary clowns, but unlike It, I feel a genuine bit of sadness for The Joker. His scars, physical and mental, are a result of his less-than-perfect childhood which begs a question, are lunatics made and not born?
“He turned to me and said, ‘Why so serious?’ Then he put the knife in my mouth and said, ‘Let’s put a smile on that face’.”
The story unravels a very demonic side of The Joker, who dominates the screen with such authority and vigor. He may look like just another nutcase whack job, but his twisted mind and deep scars courtesy of an abusive father manages to devise a plan so sinister that left me awed and shaken. Christopher Nolan’s follow up to Batman Begins may be a tad long at nearly three hours on paper, but every minute is spent to culminate into an explosive finale.
The superhero blockbusters are very easy to make and generate profits at the Box Office, just add plenty of cool effects and you get an instant crowd-pleaser. The Dark Knight challenges the norm; its sober characterization of Bruce Wayne, The Joker, and ultimately Harvey Dent chills the spine. Jim Gordon is not spared as Gotham’s favourite lieutenant goes through the emotional roller-coaster arranged by The Joker when his family is involved in this violent cat and mouse game.
If you are looking for a fun and entertaining superhero-type movie, go for Hell Boy 2: The Golden Army, you won’t regret it, it is a film you can bring you whole family to. But The Dark Knight, in its essence, is one of the darkest superhero films I have ever come across. It sizzles in its seriousness; the panic and hysteria of an unsafe city living in fear of the mob and other dangers as well as the love-hate relationship with a misunderstood superhero.
When it is all said and done, The Dark Knight is an epic worth every last penny. Splendidly crafted by the crew and superbly acted out by a bunch of scintillating talents, this flick is memorable in its solemn darkness as the superhero movie genre will never be the same again.
And may Heath Ledger rest in peace.
The Joker to Batman: In the end, you are a freak just like me.
Aren’t we all?